As an African, look around you. Reflect on your past. Ask yourself two simple but straightforward questions. Are you satisfied with your life? Did your government fulfill even just two of your ten expectations in the year 2017? Regardless of what your answers to those questions are, all Africans must aspire towards one thing: good governance. Good governance does not come on a platter of gold. You must fight for it. Africans must demand nothing less than good governance from their leaders and they must hold their leaders fully accountable if they fail to deliver. The year 2018 must be the year African leaders must account for their actions. This is only possible if you African insist on that and demand nothing less.
Have you been confronted with a situation, where the innocent ones are irresponsibly and shamelessly blamed for every single thing that has gone wrong? I mean where no one takes responsibility for obvious shortcomings. If you probably have not experienced such inglorious acts, I sure have. These are everyday realities in Africa. Yes, Africa is a continent, where no leader wants to take any responsibility for bad governance or inadequacies. Take a look at the recent migration mess. Millions of Africans are literary forced into slavery and traded like animals in Libya. A bunch of lawless bandits is making millions from the illicit slave trade and human trafficking. Not only young potential men but women and even kids are victims of the slavery in Libya. These migrants have one thing in common: virtually most of them are running away from the economic hardship in their various countries. Unfortunately, African leaders are discussing how best to bring back their citizens from the concentration camps in Libya. But none of these African leaders have had the courage to address the main cause of the massive migration. Yes, none of the African leaders have talked about bad governance. They never mentioned lack of (job) opportunities in their various countries. No, the leaders would rather blame porous borders, corrupt security agents. Help me count their watery excuses if you care. But never did any African leader mention about the incompetent leadership. A simple question for Africans and their leaders: How many of the stranded migrants in Libya are from Botswana or Namibia? Probably none. Go to Botswana and see what leadership or accountability is all about. Why would a right-thinking healthy African consider mortgaging the lives and future of the family, sell all the family possessions and embark on the dangerous journey to Europe, if African leaders took good care of the lives of the migrants? Why would the migrants rather choose the journey, full of danger and uncertainties? Your guess is as good as mine.
For months, Nigerians virtually spent most part of their days at the filling stations. Not that these Nigerians wanted to change their professions to tank attendants. Not really. Most of Nigerians spent their Christmas queuing for the patrol at the various patrol stations. I mean Nigeria, one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world. But that is not all. The government has woefully failed to address the fuel scarcity nightmare. Nor did the Nigerian leadership hold the culprits of the inexcusable shameful act responsible for their crime. As usual, the powerless individuals are being blamed for the fuel shortage scandal. Those responsible for the adequate management and constant supply of the Nigerian fuel are indeed not touched or sanctioned for the economic sabotage. A national scandal, some would call it. Tell me how a nation can survive economically without the constant supply of power? What of businesses that fully rely on the supply of power to operate? Have you asked yourself why such businesses would not consider locating to favourable business and economic friendly countries? Do you still ask yourself why one out of three migrants in the Libya camps are Nigerians despite the huge potentials Nigeria, as a country has? Do not cry for Nigeria alone. Nigeria is not the only African country suffering from governance bankruptcy.
What about Sierra Leone? What happens to the fate of the floods and mudslide victims? What of the exit package promised to them? Where are the millions of dollars international aid received from various countries, organisations and humanitarian individuals aimed towards re-habitation of the victims? Obviously, some greedy, heartless bastards are busy sharing the millions, feeding on the suffering and pains of the poor. And you, Africans see all these injustices and naked oppression and keep quiet? Liberia, the neighbouring country of Sierra Leone has just made history and elected George Weah as their President. Will the election erase the 74- year legacy of instability, caused by lack of good governance? Will Mr. Weah deliver as he promised? Will he transcend his football prowess to political achievement? We pray that George lives by his words and set his country on a good footing. Otherwise, history will judge George terribly. Follow me to the democratic republic of Congo? Is Kabila home? The DRC, a land blessed with enormous mineral resources more than any other country in this world. Today, security forces attached to President Joseph Kabila are using the live bullet on innocent demonstrators, who only demand the share of their rights and that their President should honour the agreement he signed and leave the political stage. Are these peaceful demonstrators really demanding the impossible?
The situation in DRC reminds one of the sad and hopeless situations Africa is in. At the same time, it makes one wonder why Africa cannot make good use of their economic superiority to their advantage. Yes, economic superiority and advantage. Africa is not poor as one might think. No. the problem in Africa is not poverty. It is mismanagement…… and lack of accountability. Have you ever thought of our present lives without a mobile phone? Think well. Yes, we could live in the 70s without a mobile phone. Perhaps you and I are now so pampered or over spoiled, that we hardly cannot do without a phone. The world has gone technologically global. Do you know that virtually most of the components used for the manufacturing of the mobile phone come from Africa? Think of tantalum and niobium, extracted from Coltan ores, which is mainly produced in the DRC, the world’s largest producer of Coltan. Zambia follows DRC as the second largest producer of Coltan in the world. Of course, Uganda and Rwanda are other major players in the exportation of Coltan to the world. What about Palladium and platinum, other minerals used in the electrical circuits of phones, which are mainly exported by South Africa and Zimbabwe to the world? South Africa is equally an indispensable producer of arsenic and gallium, magnets used for the production of the microphone and speaker of the mobile phone. One can go on and on. The question is: Have common Africans benefitted from their natural mineral resources? Only in Botswana is the situation different. Who are African leaders blaming for their inability to use their market and economic monopoly and superiority to their advantage, aimed at betting the lives of their citizens?
It is time for Africans to raise up and demand their rights through peaceful and democratic means. Start by electing those you believe can deliver. Choose those who share your visions. Go for those leaders who care for you and feel your pain. Strongly resist those corrupt re-cycled leaders who are there for their selfish interests. It is not too late to make a start. But it will be regrettable and unforgivable to keep quiet in the midst of blatant corruption, impunity, and abuse of power.
No one is born poor. No, circumstances make you and I poor. You could change your life. But you must work hard to make it a reality. As a human being, you have two deaths – a living death, caused by accepting your depressing living conditions without trying to change them. You are in a Zombie-state. At this stage of your life, you are dead economically, socially and psychologically – although you might be breathing. Your life is an epitome of hopelessness. But this stage of life is still reversible. Yes, only if you set out your goals and take actions to achieve them. Otherwise, your Zombie-state leads to the final death, a stage which is irreversible.
Definitely, the year 2018 is your life. It is the year to change your life and end your precarious state. Stand up gallantly and start the fight for your rights. And your life indeed.