Monday, November 29, 2010

Africa,by Africans..for Africans...Really??

Ok, so this is probably the 3rd or 4th post on Africa since i started this blog. Conscious that there are readers from outside the continent, i sincerely apologize for the biased and one-sided reporting...oh sorry, blogging! On second thought, i take back my apology.

I live here, so i shouldn't be and i am not apologizing. In any case, its difficult to avoid writing something on Africa, if you happen to spend a month living with passport holders and bona fide citizens of Nigeria, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and every two or three days, having visitors from Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana. Surely, doesn't a continent that attracts significant Chinese attention merit adequate blog-time and space? Besides, i consider myself a Pan Africanist. Enough reasons to continue with this post. If you are still not convinced, then you'd better stop reading now.

The AU flag

Difficult to avoid, as well, have been discussions on Africa's problems, from democracy (or lack of it) to poverty (and its abundance); and possible solutions.
African countries should colonize themselves. Sounds like a rather harsh and retrogressive statement to make. Well, 50 years after independence, more than a dozen African countries have little to show for it. A number of African 'scholars' will in fact be willing to demonstrate, just how deeply Africa is still reeling under new forms of colonization, or in academic parlance, 'neo-colonialism'. To these scholars, fora such as the ongoing 3rd Africa-EU summit on 'Investment, Economic Growth and Job Creation', is just another talk shop, meant to subtly expand the neo-colonial grip.

Why would the European powers care, they might ask, when they have to deal with serious economic issues that Ireland, Greece and Portugal are facing? If African countries took the initiative to colonize those countries on the continent that seem to have no clue how to get their house in order-like Somalia, Zimbabwe and a few others-then it would ensure that Africa's resources are not plundered. And if they are, at least they would remain within the continent. Instead of going to study in Europe or the United States, African students would go to universities in other African countries. It is already happening, but this could be ramped up. Brain drain would be consigned within the continent's borders and countries with food surplus would be made to share with their famine-stricken relatives. Think of it working more or less akin to the way traditional African societies functioned. If a man neglected his family, then the village elders would summon the fellow and question him, after which they would issue ultimatums and sanctions, getting the culprit back in line. It would not be an entirely new invention. When Kenya was in trouble, end of 2007/beginning of 2008, the African Union appointed former UN-Secretary General, Koffi Annan as chief mediator (chief village elder).
L - R:Kofi Annan, President Kibaki and PM Odinga.( Annan seems to be saying,"Button up your jackets boys!"

In turn, he crafted a panel of' 'Eminent African personalities' (other village elders) and showed up in Nairobi. In two to three weeks of 'negotiations', President Kibaki was shaking hands with Raila Odinga (now Prime Minister). The welcome message on the African Union web page states: 'An Effective and Efficient African Union for a New Africa'. Many pundits would argue that the AU is far from being effective and  efficient, and therefore a New Africa remains a pipe-dream. In deed, the AU is considered to be an exclusive club of old-geezers who have no clue how to run bakeries, let alone countries. They would never criticize or admonish each other, even in the face of obvious 'human rights' abuses. That may explain why Omar el Bashir confidently waltzed into and out of Nairobi one cold August morning, with an International Criminal Court arrest warrant over his head. But i have a different take. Methinks these 'old-geezers' are very clever fellows. Otherwise how do you explain the fact that many of them have managed to stay in power for so long? I refuse to believe that it is because their citizens are stupid. No! These guys are geniuses. They are not just using their wiliness to produce the much needed effect. My hypothesis: If South Africa could team up with Malawi, Namibia and Zambia to hammer sense into the regime in Zimbabwe...if Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti could agree to keep the Somalis in check....if the North Africans conspired to use their oil wealth to drive economic growth in Burundi...then we would have an Africa, by Africans...for Africans...or would we?...Really??

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