One day, a German friend of mine, who is so passionate about Africa asked me: “Do you think Africa is perpetually cursed or does it mean that Africans are not capable of producing good leaders who can be accountable for their actions?” Personally, I think Africa is abundantly blessed; not cursed. Moreover, I don’t share the watery perception that the Westerners are indeed more “intelligent” than Africans – given their level of opportunities and resources. Yes, Africans can produce decent leaders, but to be a good leader, there must be checks and balances. A good leader is the one who listens to the advice. Good leaders lead by learning from mistakes. One of the biggest problems facing Africa is lack of control over the leaders, who are supposed to be held responsible for their actions. Holding leaders accountable is a collective action, which involves all members of the society – irrespective of differences in ideology, class, gender, religion, level of education, economic power. This is hardly a reality in many African countries.
Although, we must give Africa the benefit of the doubts that democracy took hundreds of years to grow a deep root in the Western world. Africa is still into a snail walk, democratically; but the question is, how fast is that African walk? Hardly fast enough and impressive. Who is to be blamed here – the greedy leaders who are not mindful of their subjects or the subjects who have failed to unite and fight their common enemy?
Often when one sees African leaders stealing greedily in billions without considering the agonies and hell an average poor person goes through as their struggle to eat a meal a day, one wonders whether those fastidious leaders have ever considered that, despite their explosive riches, there is a strong natural bond which they share with the poorest masses. Death. Death is the inescapable reality and the ultimate end that links both rich and poor. Has it occurred to those plundering billions and stocking them in the foreign accounts while millions of their fellow citizens are dying of hunger and starvation, that one day, their end will come – just like the end of their miserably poor neighbours? Interesting, our African millionaires and crooks will not go to their graves with their ill-gotten millions. The death will be the end of their money, oppression, pride, arrogance, indifference.
Yet, here in Africa, arrant selfishness has blocked our sense and sensibility, making one insensitive of the pain and hopelessness of the poor masses. Is it not logical that the more people are empowered – economically, socially, politically and otherwise – the less social pressure and ills?
Perhaps, others might see this differently. Please share your views.