#AFRICANLIVESMATTERTOO (by Babatunde Fagbayibo)

Posted: September 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

Image result for protesters killed in gabon

This September alone, unarmed protesters have been killed by security forces in Gabon and DR Congo. Their major crime: exercising the rights to reject the manipulation of the constitution to elongate presidential term limit (in DR Congo) and the outright rejection of electoral chicanery (in Gabon).

We would never know the actual death toll as authorities in Africa are adept revisionists of the real number of citizens that have been mowed down by bullets of the state.

Beyond the typical cries about the interference of western power brokers in African affairs, those who present themselves as our leaders have proved to be the greatest threat to our survival.

Many of these clowns not only lack the basic skill to sell sweets on street corners, they also lack the emotional intelligence to handle crisis. The first response to any protest (even when conducted peacefully) is usually the unleashing of security forces on defenseless masses. It is as if the blood of innocent Africans is necessary for appeasing the “sit-tight” patron gods.

I have in the past few days taken burdened myself with the task of educating some African Americans about the dangers of mythologising and/or romanticising certain African dictators.

I sat with great unease as some of them waxed sweet lyrics about Mugabe, Ghaddafi and other despicable African leaders. One of them even said that Mugabe remains the greatest pan-Africanist. That was all the trigger I needed to launch into some real lessons about the African condition.

My main counter argument to such nonsensical rationalisation was that if you do not have the first-hand experience of Mugabe’s absolute, ruinous exercise of powers in Zimbabwe, you cannot open your mouth to place him next to the African Gods without first educating yourself about the situation on the ground.

It is so easy to theorise and romanticise Mugabe from the comfort of your cushy spots in New York, Philadelphia, Sandton (because a number of South Africans also engage in this mythologising project) etc. when you are not facing the brutish realities of no job, no pay, no education, no food, no positive outlook on how to basically survive. Mugabe’s (and his cronies) mouthing of half-digested pan-Africanist slogan is not sufficient basis for absolving him from dastardly actions.

Even our African Union becomes conveniently mute when these leaders commit unpardonable crimes against humanity. It is as if the only condition for retaining your seat at the AU table is the number of innocent souls you are able to hack down. And we must also remember that the AU, through its Article 46 Abis, has essentially provided full immunity to these leaders from prosecution for any crimes committed while in office. I do not see how this provision cannot be regarded as carte blanche for serious impunity.

Ours is a very sad situation. We are made to feel at every point that African lives matter very little, as long as the deciders of our fates to (literally) live are sitting presidents.

This great crime against Africans is a cardinal violation of pan-Africanism. Just because Mugabe, Museveni, Kabila, Nguema pontificate about pan-Africanism is not enough to look the other way. Serious questions must be asked about their commitment to the ethos of pan-Africanism.

We should ask if the rigging of elections, assassination of opponents, high level thievery of resources, denying the citizens the right to exercise their electoral choices all qualify as basic (not even high level) pan-Africanism.

Until we all agree that the sacrosanct principle of pan-Africanism is the respect of the lives of the African masses, our journey to the “promised land” will remain deferred.

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