The biggest news in North America in recent days has been about the Trump administration’s push to get congressional approval for funds to build a boundary wall along the borders between that country and neighbouring Mexico.
In the UK – a conglomeration of four nations - the biggest new emerging from there has been about Theresa May’s push, and failure, to get full support to pull the UK out of the European Union.
In both the US and UK, these series of events are policy matters that are subjected to robust debates, democratic scrutiny and where people differed respectfully.
No one got shot, maimed or jailed for possessing a different view on these issues. Those in the seats of power also did not shut down internet for fear of views contrary to theirs being spread wide.
Flip the coin and turn to Africa. This is the week in which several people, amongst them law enforcement officers, got killed in Zimbabwe after riots broke out over unprecedented fuel price hikes.
Citizens in any democratic dispensation have a right to express discontent, even through civil disobedience, and this must not lead to loss of life on either side of the confrontation. Africans must learn to differ respectfully without having to resort to killing and injuring each other because of a clash in perspectives.
On Tuesday, at least 21 people were killed when Somali militants stormed a luxury hotel compound in Nairobi.
According to Reuters news agency, al-Shabab issued a statement in which it confirmed being behind the attack, saying it was “a response” to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
This means Africans were murdered – by fellow Africans for that matter - over a decision taken thousands of miles away in Washington and which has nothing to do with Africa and her inhabitants.
To think that blowing up fellow Africans would shake Trump and change his attitude in pursuit of his country’s national interest is a figment of these terrorists’ feeble imagination.
Last week in Gabon, a group of soldiers announced that they had seized control of the government. The attempt to take power was short-lived as forces loyal to the president swiftly overpowered the renegade soldiers, finding one of the coup leaders hiding under a bed.
That is the everyday African story. Overstaying in power, looting, coups, crushing of dissent and creating dynasties that control every pulse of the republican life. It’s a tragedy!
In DRC, elections have come and gone, with no substantive winner announced since December 30. Provisional winner Felix Tshisekedi is hanging onto his supposed victory by fingernails, with the result being contested in court.
Challenging elections in courts has become a typical African routine – most of the time an opportunistic throw of the dice.
The events chronicled above sadly tell a story of an Africa that has a long way to go before reaching standards of genuine integrity, harmony and respect for pluralism.
Greed for power, influence and wealth for which one has not sweated for are what keeps Africa a ‘caveman’ continent.
Despite some snail-paced progress in some areas of democracy and good governance, it looks like we have a very long way to go before we can reach the heights predicted, back in the 1950s already, by men like Ghana’s Nkwame Nkrumah.
New Era Reporter
2019-01-18 09:22:51 5 months ago