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Africa must take control of political path

Journeying through African independence has not been an easy undertaking for the ordinary citizen. Citizens must show their patriotism to their countries not tribes. We have been carved along tribal and racial lines, exploited, and abused by our own kind. Conforming to bad policies has been our major downfall. Now more than ever, courageous people are what Africa needs; every successful nation we see is no accident, it is because someone made a courageous decision. Confronting and defeating hypocrisy within the continent will be the first step towards the political revival the African continent needs; the second step would be not looking at the West or the East for who to blame and who to solve problems for us.

The one principle that should guide African foreign policy must be that the continent is safer when Africans take the lead in all decisions about Africa’s needs. In line with that our allies must be chosen and adversaries challenged. I believe days of neutrality and non-alignment are gone, we must choose right from wrong; as bad men assemble globally, we must associate with the good as defined by us.

Africa must stop the self-defeating over-reliance on other societies for solutions. For Africans to think Russia is the solution to our internally engineered problems is a delusion. We cannot address our challenges by always finding someone to blame; yes, colonialism of Africa by the West impacted the continent negatively. We accept that the Western colonial structures contribute to many of our problems today, but Russia is certainly not the solution, only Africa is.

Progress feeds on credibility, honesty, and consistency. Honesty is the essential weapon at Africa’s disposal to prevent mistakes turning into failure. We must face challenges with hope, not fear, it is true colonialism was a vile, dehumanising institution and it is equally true the West will forever be tainted by it, but the Messiah-like status accorded to Russia in many Africans is nothing but a delusional construct.

Whatever support the USSR provided to various liberation movements across the continent was primarily for its political interests before Africa’s. Without necessarily excusing Western gluttonous behaviour and brutality in Africa, let us also put to rest the misconception that before the irrational colonisation of the African continent the place was peaceful. The reality is far from that, there were ongoing raids, battles – some more brutal than others – between different tribes for territorial dominance.  

Deconstructing the present political foundation is essential so we can build a case based on fact and genuine desire to correct issues. We risk being accused of double standards, opportunists, and lacking principle when by day we ask and take food aid among a plethora of Western-funded socioeconomic support projects and then perform a disingenuous rejection of the same West by night. We must take a position that suits our needs, not our greed.

There is an air of hypocrisy in our dealings with global political players; we must not be that hypocritic politician who cuts down a precious tree in the forest, then mount the stump to give a profound speech on the conservation of forests; we cannot justify our rejection of the West on its history of colonialism and related hostility towards black people but declare our love for Russia for exactly the same behaviour in Ukraine.

We cannot be against local dictators but go on to declare our undying love for despots like Putin. Apart from skin colour, what makes Putin different from African leaders such as Mnangagwa, Paul Biya, etc. who we want to be rid of?

If one rejects colonialism only because they were victims of it and if one rejects a dictatorship only because they were direct victims, then they do not reject the systems at all. When you genuinely reject colonialism and dictatorship-based regimes you reject them in principle for what they stand for not just your resentment of their consequences on your person, in particular the fact they do not extend favours to you.

Decisions about Africa’s political future need to be taken in Africa by genuine African public representatives not the political elite. We must stop pointing fingers and waiting for someone to help; let us accept our responsibility in the slow death of the continent and our responsibility in the rebuilding exercise. Choices of convenience have compromised the political and socioeconomic integrity of the continent. We are all for the protection of human rights; the freedom of choice and association is a right all citizens of the world are entitled to. All I hold against Africans is that so many Africans are hypocrites in their claim to be against the Western world, dictators of this world, dictatorships, and colonialism when all they hate is not being beneficiaries of those institutions.



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