Socrates, the Greek philosopher who was sentenced to death by the authorities for being bad at prayer and corrupting the youth in 400 BC, said: ‘A life unexamined is a life not worth living.’ Unlike other civilisations, Afrikans suffer an indelible inability to examine themselves in order to move forward with lessons from past experiences. The African-American journalist, Keith Richburg opined that in Afrika things stay the same until they fall part. Afrikan countries were not the only parts of the planet that were colonized and/or foreign ruled. Others, such as Japan, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and even parts of Greater Europe, were colonies. Yet they managed to crawl out of their conditions of subjugation and reconstructed themselves into cohesive socio-economic and political societies that serve the interests of the greater commonwealths in those lands. Former Asian colonies that became countries are also composed of multiple ethnic and linguistic groups in their diversities that make for their overall strengths. Many countries in the world also have artificial borders and continuing border disputes, so much so that some of East Asian countries like Korea, Vietnam, were racked by destructive civil wars in the 1950s and 1960s. They managed to prosper while Afrikans remain mired in unending poverty. Ghana’s attainment of political independence from Britain in 1957 unleashed a tidal wave of independence and Uhuru celebrations across Afrika. Malaysia and Singapore attained their independence from the same Great Britain much later than Ghana, and literature say that Malaysia’s level of development was lower than Ghana’s in 1957, to the extent that Ghana reportedly gave Malaysia foreign development aid. Today, there is no comparison. Malaysia did something right and Ghana did not. Ghana, like any Afrikan country under African rule, remains in relatively the same conditions as before independence, sometimes worse than before independence. Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah‘s terminal cry was that Afrikans must first seek political kingdom, and the rest will be added unto it. Yes, political kingdom came, but very little was added unto it, except pain, helplessness and hopelessness. Nkrumah went as far as calling that Afrikans be allowed to manage and mismanage their own affairs. He was right on mismanagement, as we never fail to mismanage, and do so with pomp and ceremony. Political or flag independence in Afrika continued to be the most important achievement for Afrikan leaders who continue to dangle the flag above the people’s heads to stifle meaningful participation and frustrate change. Great speeches about the bright future that never came. Afrikan leaders continue to talk of independence nonstop. Afrikan Heads of States are constantly on presidential pageantries claiming unrecorded victories while they remain dispensable heroes, forgetting that they brought us nowhere very slowly. Forgetting that: *The 1960 was called Afrika’s Year *The 1980s were described as Afrika’s Decade. *The post-1990s was heralded as Afrika’s Century—yet Africans continue to suffer, this time at the hands of their very own liberators. *Revolutionaries came, liberated their countries and proceeded to run Afrika into the ground *Soldiers came, promised redemption, and hastened to run Afrika into the ground *Civilians came and keep coming, better equipped at running Afrika into the ground. WHERE IS THE AFRIKAN PROBLEM? In 1958, the acclaimed Afrikan novelist, Chinua Achebe warned poignantly: “The trouble with our new nation… was that none of us have been indoors long enough…we had all been in the rain together until yesterday. Then a handful of us, the smart and the lucky and hardly ever the best…had scrambled for the one shelter our former rulers had left, and had taken it over and barricaded themselves…. And from within they sought to persuade the rest through numerous loudspeakers that the first phase of the struggle had been won and that the next phase—the extension of our house—was even more important—it required that all argument should cease and the whole people speak with one voice and that any more dissent and argument outside the door of the shelter would subvert and bring down the whole house…” The celebrated Kenyan Ngugi waThiong’o, in his Petals of Blood, wrote: This world…this Kenya…this Africa knows only one law. You eat somebody or you are eaten. You sit on somebody or somebody sits on you, Like you, I have wandered, I don’t know in search of what…’ One of Africa’s most remembered statesmen, Tanzania’s first President Julius Nyerere alerted; ’While others reach their life goals as success, for us in Africa survival is success’. We must say that Namibia has escaped a good deal of this Afrikan malaise. For 25 year of self-rule, Namibia acquitted herself in avoiding the Typical Afrikan Trajectory of mismanagement, maladministration, heartlessness and mindlessness and sheer unchecked corruption and abuse of political power. Huge credit must go to the 72 men and women in the 1989 Constituent Assembly who steered the very difficult period of transition from war to peace. It could not have been easy. Having come this far and with so much to be grateful for, it is important that we relook and re-examine the way we have used political power since independence. We also need to bring our post-independence thinking into harmony with the nation’s development objectives as articulated in our National Development Plans. In this regard, it is important to unravel the incompatibilities between the pursuits of development on the one hand and the quest for political survival and the reproduction of the existing forms of domination on the other. At the moment, unfortunately, the political space is taken up by those who are not leaders, but political entrepreneurs who use influence to gain power and/or wealth at the expense of the citizens. Their interests are primarily their survival in the politics with no regard to the wellbeing of the general population. We have to realise that the politics of colonialism on the one hand and the politics of liberation have both ill prepared us to be one nation with a single loyalty to the Namibian state. We cannot afford to duplicate the Afrikan story that we are all too aware of and we stand a very good chance to build a more pleasant and more positive story in Afrika. We stand a better chance to do this while we are still so small a population, and a people who have no desire for war. We need an internalisation of the values of our Republic, not political parties, and support the country, not individuals, with a different mind-set from the ones we harboured yesterday and yesteryear. This calls for Business Unusual. Our development strategies can no longer be influenced by what we get out of the country and its resources, but by what we bring to the table to make this country work better for the benefit of all who live and shall live in it. This paradigm shift is necessary because we have come where we are with assumptions that might not be good to propel us forward. One of such assumptions is that we are against one another whereas we are all pursuing the same goal of creating a Namibia that is good for us all, with no enemies but brothers and sisters who are one another’s keepers. It matters not what political party colours we wear for inside us all is one people. It is possible to create a positive story out of Afrika with our Zebra Style! With history, where we shall be at peace with itself, at peace with its neighbours and at peace with the rest of the human family.
2017-10-06 10:30:45 11 months ago