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Image result for african union summit

 

 

(First published in Daily Maverick)

 

For millions of Africans whose existence depends on the seriousness of policymakers to zealously implement good policies, the question of whether Africa’s 2017 will be different from 2016 is one that exists beyond mere rhetoric.

The thousands who get swallowed by the Mediterranean Sea every year in an attempt to get into Europe – mowed down by state security agents during protests for democratic rights, forced to watch helplessly as politicians splurge and misuse scarce resources, and young Africans who roam the streets for decent jobs – all bear the direct scars of indecisions and the wilful acts of political elites to substitute the good of the masses for narrow, unenlightened self-interest.

The shopping list of what needs to be achieved in order to move Africa from mouth-deep affirmations to concrete actions continue to expand. Impactful governance, quality education, sustainable peace and security, job yielding growth, a better health system, durable infrastructure, deepened regional integration, just to mention a few, are some of the issues that continue to top the list. The inability to achieve many of these goals has heightened levels of frustrations and cynicism, and in some cases led to violent conflicts.

In order to address these problems, there has to be a concerted shift from the tepid, chaotic approach to transnational policy development. The consensus on the need to act boldly and decisively in ensuring that transnational policies are translated into action is one that still remains trapped in the posh venues where those documents are adopted. For 2017 to be different from previous years, the three interrelated logics discussed below have to underline the transnational policy development space.

The logic of urgency

Kwame Nkrumah’s aphorism, “we must unite now or perish”, is yet to escape the rhetorical cage. In practice, little has been done to give full effect to ensuring that integration efforts are approached from an urgent, “do-or-die” perspective. One way of escaping the sluggish approach to implementing regional strategies on democracy, trade, security, immigration and governance is to adopt “double-track” implementation strategies. This essentially means that member states that are willing and able to proceed with integration at a much greater speed should be separated from those that wish to maintain the status quo. The African Union (AU) could then provide guidelines on the mechanisms for engaging in this kind of “speedy” arrangement. It could be a coalition of willing states within or across regions or even a coalition of sub-regional organs, as long as such arrangements correspond with the broader goal of continental integration and, most important, serve as the nucleus unit of the long-term vision of the AU. For example, with interventions in Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire and Gambia, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has shown the potential of a cluster to move speedily in enforcing regional security and restoration of democratic rule.

The logic of agency

At the heart of the logic of agency is the extent to which the regional integration process is owned and driven by Africans. There has to be a concerted effort to ensure that issues of financing African integration, promotion of African heritage, human security, and democratic governance are shaped and driven by wider civil society. African businesses, community based organisations, youth movements, academia, and trade unions have to be re-centred and placed in the middle of implementation activities. For example, the financing of integration initiatives should include various strategies such as a pan-African crowd-funding programme that is managed by civil society, fund-raising projects driven by business, public-private partnerships on infrastructure development projects, and the involvement of tech hubs in designing applications for revenue collection and management. Agency also requires that more attention is devoted to the way in which traditional African values or indigenous knowledge systems play a role in enhancing regional integration matters. This will require a bottom-up approach that presents integration measures such as Agenda 2063 to communities across the continent, in a language that they understand, and then genuinely build on suggestions offered.

The logic of clarity

Clarity speaks to a clear identification of issues such as who does what, who shares what, and who monitors whom in the policy implementation space. The AU policy implementation space is currently defined by its haphazard, unco-ordinated nature. It is vague about how powers should be shared between the AU and sub-regional units, between and among AU organs, between the AU and civil society, and between the AU and its member states. The principle of clarity is central to the two logics noted above. For example, the process of pursuing the implementation of the AU passport under the “double-track” strategy will have to fully spell out the roles actors (member states and/or sub-regional organs and/or continental organs) are expected to play in the quick attainment of stated goals. Under agency, the specific roles of business, community based organisations, tech hubs and youth organisations in shaping policy articulation and implementation will also have to be unambiguous.

While all of Africa’s problems will not be suddenly solved in 2017, policy-makers have the choice of making it the beginning of a change of approach to transnational policy planning. This can be best done through prioritising the immediacy of action (urgency), the centredness of African thoughts and actions in the initiation and implementation of policies (agency), and the clarity of the roles actors are expected to play in achieving deepened integration in Africa.

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THE PAST, PLEASE DON’T FLEE

Posted: December 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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(Photo credit: Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Dear past,

please abide with

Us, We, Me.

Please don’t flee.
Please don’t leave Us,
We, Me with
this quixotic newness,
for this glossy new is
caricatured.

Please come back
to Me, We, Us… for Me,
We, Us need surrealistic
rejuvenation.

Forgive our
feigned gall to leave
everything behind whilst
the old is begging to
be refixed.

If or when Me, We, Us
hear the old speak through
the new, may We, Us, Me
have the humility to
absorb the swift
movement of the echoes.

Even when Me,
Us, We have asked that our
new white cloth remain pure,
let your wavy arms throw at it
some primary colours.

Dear past,
if you must flee,
take with you the sand prints
of our wiggly march to the
unknown, and make with
it something anew.

Amen.

 

 

The African Union (AU) has in recent months involved itself in the assessment of the forthcoming U.S. presidential elections, especially its implication for global peace and economic activities.

The AU is an institution that is built on the fundamentals of liberal democratic values and good governance. The institution has for a number of years been involved in many activities aimed at bringing peace and security, and good governance to troubled nation states.

 

The AU is, therefore, disturbed by the statements of the Republican Party candidate, Mr Donald J Trump on the possibility of electoral fraud during the elections on November 8 2016.

 

As demonstrated by the AU’s intervention efforts in many troubled spots across Africa, electoral fraud is an issue that the AU frowns upon.

 

In this respect, the AU has decided to intervene in this matter, so as to ensure that there is peace and order during and after the forthcoming elections.

 

Our intervention is predicated on a number of factors. One is the fact that the current U.S. president is our son, and his successes and failures are ours as well. Secondly, the African-American population is our Diaspora component, and as such, we are solely responsible for their safety and well-being. Thirdly, as part of the global community, it is our responsibility to ensure that there is global peace and stability.

 

In light of the above, the AU has taken the following decisions:

 

a) A committee of Heads of States and Government has been set up to assess Mr Trump’s claims. The Committee is headed by our father, HE Mr Robert Mugabe. He will be assisted by other eminent presidents such as Mr Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Mr P Nkurunziza (Burundi), Mr P Kagame (Rwanda), Mr I Deby (Chad) and Mr P Biya (Cameroon).

b) One major task of this Committee is to immediately set up an AU election monitoring group, to be deployed to the U.S. with immediate effect.

c) In the situation where the U.S. government refuses to allow the observer group to enter the country, the AU will not hesitate to trigger the following measures:

 

i) Refuse to accept any aid from the U.S., including the contribution to the AU budget. (We would also enjoin our member states to stop receiving financial contributions from the U.S.);
ii) Refuse to recognize the “winner” of the November 8 elections, and will enjoin our member states to recall their diplomatic staff stationed in the U.S.;
iii) Issue a serious travel warning directive to African citizens intending to visit the U.S.;
iv) Enjoin our African-American brothers and sisters to come back home and take up African citizenship;
v) Place visa restriction on any American citizen involved in the so called electoral fraud episode;
vi) Activate article 4(h) of the AU Constitutive Act to intervene to protect the civilian population (especially our Diaspora community)

 

In the interim, the AU has directed all African embassies to open their doors to anyone or groups displaced by activities emanating from electoral disputes. The Committee will in the next few days announce measures for raising funds and materials for this initiative.

 

In conclusion, the AU implore the U.S. government to allow the AU fulfill its task as a member of the global community.

 

We, therefore, await the positive feedback of the U.S. government in this regard.

 

AU Spokesperson,
Thabo Ajanlekoko Keita

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.

As we advance the cause of effective regional integration and development in Africa, one salient point that we cannot continue to ignore is the symbolism of the location of regional headquarters. Such symbolism speaks to a number of issues, most importantly, the vision and purpose of the agenda. Beyond the glitzy venues and well-choreographed atmosphere, it is also necessary to establish how such location reinforces the standards and aspirations of the organisation. The inability to draw a positive nexus is not only worrying but essentially defeats and weakens the foundation of the agenda.

It is against this background that one is often critical of the Ethiopian government. Such criticism is not based on any hatred for the country but mainly because the regime negates all the ideas of freedom and justice the African Union supposedly uphold. Beyond the chorus of “Ethiopia is rising, Africa is rising”, it is essential that we begin to understand how repressive the Ethiopian government is. Both real and imagined opposition are brutally suppressed by a government that continues to force the theory of “development is better than democracy” down our throats.

Since many of the African leaders that attend the jamboree summit of the AU are equally guilty of suppressing, and in some cases shamelessly slaughter their citizens, there is no wonder as to why there has been little or no criticism of the regime in Addis Ababa. I have often described these summits and meetings as organised hypocrisy, a platform for fine-tuning sound and fury.

The regime in Ethiopia is fully aware that only a handful of African countries can really confront it and register displeasure by protesting and/or boycotting AU summits and meetings in Addis. The regime understands the psychology of African brotherhood, which has always informed the “see no evil, hear no evil” approach to atrocities committed by fellow African states. The regime has mastered the knowledge that the AU, like its predecessor, the OAU, is a trade union of autocrats, where the interests of tyrants trump that of citizens.

The regime further knows that the weak articulation and implementation of democratic values allows it to flaunt the signs of “development” in Addis as the symbol of the warped theory of “democracy hinders real economic progress”. In addition, the regime flourishes in the bubble of praises and gyrations by intellectuals that fall over each other to rationalise its bad behaviour (The same unfortunate rationalisation is often extended to Paul Kagame).

While our leaders gather in the Chinese built and donated AU secretariat to talk, talk and talk about democratic norms, their host continues to refine and perfect state machinery of suppression. The reality, albeit a sad one, is that Addis Ababa remain the political and administrative headquarters of the continent, and the symbol of what it intends to achieve through unity. This reality is the primary reason why we must not relent on calling out and exposing the misdemeanours of the regime. How do we expect to achieve true freedom and justice when the seat of “power” remains the bastion of suppression? We need to send the right message to the masses of our people. It should be the message that highlights the compatibility of freedom and development. Without diminishing the contextual nature of development, which should rightly inform the rejection of a “one size fits all” discourse, the imperative of freedom must also not be ignored. Our post-colonial history is littered with the nonsensical obsession with the erasure of freedom on the alter of phantom development, yet we fail to learn lessons.

As for The Gambia, which unfortunately hosts the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights, it is a story for another day.

 

It was Pascal Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon) who said that “we leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place. We stay there, even though we go away”. What then do we leave behind? This is not an easy answer.

My guess is that we consciously and subconsciously find that which connects us to the soul of a city (or place) we visit or dwell in. From the romantic to the hard-core realities, from the sounds to the monuments (historic and modern), from the warmness (or nastiness) of its dwellers to the (un)seen energy that drives the city, from the efficiency of its infrastructures to the pressure and weight that makes things lethargic and/or brutish in the city…we all choose to either stay close to or run as fast as possible from the area. It is also very possible for one to be entirely indifferent about the effect or affect of the city.

The question then is should that which we have left of ourselves in that place be concrete or simply sentimental? Should one be able to come to a point where if faced with the choice, between living in or merely visiting the city, the decision will be firmly placed on the former? Again this will depend on multiple variables, but one is of the view that such choice should not even matter. It is very possible that the decision to make the “magical city” a permanent abode may end up opening up faults and imperfections, quickly turning love into rabid hate, the treasured into the forbidden. It is also possible that the opposite becomes the case.

In the final analysis, one should neither be apologetic or unnecessarily defensive about the choice of “leav(ing) something of ourselves behind”. The city will speak to or affect people differently. How it affects you may not be easily explainable or even rational. You may even struggle to articulate (in thoughts, written or spoken words) the effect of such city on your soul. It is also possible that the same city never presents you the much needed cathartic moment. It is not impossible that there will be moments when the city will not always accord with your real and imagined wishes.

Irrespective of these, the heart and larger self will also be (sub) conscious of that “which was left behind”, as even the intangible sights and sounds trigger the affection for the city. Even when one is oblivious of the working language of such city, there is always that reassurance that what is left behind is always present to guide and refresh the imagination, bring forth warmness and strengthen the resolve to further explore.

Mercier’s point that “we stay there, even when we go away” appears to be the easy answer to the question of what is actually left behind. So when you are away from the city, you also carry with you its many strands. The inspirational effect of the seen and felt on your works, the option to always bring the sentiments of the city into your reflective engagements, the comparative (or even the yardstick measure) advantage of the city in your ongoing subjective assessments…all point to you still staying there.

So where is the place or city where you have left something of yourself behind? Remember that it is very possible that no such place exists but again, nothing forecloses the ability to imagine.

As one reflected on the life and works of the great Malian photographer, Malick Sidibé, who joined the ancestors on the 14th of April 2016, the need to find a soundtrack(s) for such reflection became paramount.

Malian blues became the natural choice, a factor necessitated by the fact that the great man came from Mali, and therefore, must have in some way been influenced by the intense passion, rhythm and depth of this genre.

Ali Farka Touré’s “Ai Du” immediately became the choice soundtrack for it methodically aided the pace, digestion and rationalisation of the incredible photographs of the legendary Sidibé. The simplicity of his photography is very clear but it also carries with it a peculiar weight that demands absolute concentration and measured understanding. The genius of Malick Sidibé lies within this paradox.

Sidibé, like his Nigerian contemporary, Solomon Osagie Alonge, was not moved by fame, fortune or any of the “isms”, all he wanted was to just capture the mood of his time. Through the transition from colonialism to independence, the betrayal of the promises of freedom, and years of mutilating economic policies, Sidibe’s camera remained true to showing the steel resilience, joy and hope of his people. His images neither imposed nor attempt to force a way of thinking on beholders, all it did was to open our minds to a more robust and holistic way of perception.

Ali Farka Touré’s “Ai Du” allowed my mind to wonder and wander through these images. It transported one into the heart of spirit behind the finger that clicked away without any manipulative, ulterior motive.

One even wondered if Sidibé was at any point of his illustrious career inspired by the melodious tunes of Ali Farka Touré, and if at all they met and exchanged ideas on the spirit behind their works. The mind wondered and wandered through Sidibe’s photography studio in Bamako, and imagined the serenading music of Keita, Touré, Diabaté, Sangare et al, playing in the background while he allowed his mind to reflect on the picture perfect postures for his clients, and thereafter deciding on the images to process.

Good night, Malick Sidibé. Your pictures told many stories, fired up our imaginations, inspired us to look back in order to understand how to navigate the way forward.

Monsieur Sidibé, when you get to the other side, assemble the independence elites (Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Sekou Toure, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Seretse Khama, Nelson Mandela), and take one final photograph.

cameron Queen

 

The video showing the UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, explaining to the Queen that Nigeria is a “fantastically corrupt country”, and the ensuing outrage, especially from social media active Nigerians, is one that speaks to a much more fundamental issue. Before even going into any detailed analysis, it is very important that we remind ourselves of another video, which emanated from the Nuclear Summit in Washington D.C. in April 2016, which also went viral. In that video, President Obama introduced the Nigerian president to the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Tredeau, and uttered the following words, “he is doing a good job”, in which the latter responded, “he is indeed”. This video generated a lot excitement and hope among social media active Nigerians, with many pointing to this as the irrefutable proof that Nigeria is on the right path.

Juxtaposed, the contrasting reactions to these two videos reveal the question of definition in Africa’s postcolonial political development. The issue of definition, especially as it plays out in the sphere of political leadership, is one that often seeks validation on who or which politico-economic system is best for Africa. In specific terms, there seems to be an obsession with how external forces define who is a “good African leader” or which system is best suited for delivering Africa from its economic morass. The Euro-American sphere of influence was (and is still) then seen as not only the yardstick for development but also the determining force on what is good or bad for the continent.

From the 1960s, successive leaders from France, United Kingdom, U.S. have in some way perceived themselves as the responsible moral authority on explaining to Africans that no matter what they feel or experience, a particular kind of leader or system is either good or bad for them. Murderous and kleptocratic leaders such as Mobutu Sese Seko, Jean Bedel Bokassa, Kamuzu Banda, Blaise Compaore et al all had unfettered access to Élysée Palace, 10 Downing Street and the White House, deodorised and treated as the leaders we Africans really deserve.

During his tour of Africa in 1998, Bill Clinton famously anointed certain leaders as “the new generation of African leaders”. These include Paul Kagame, Meles Zenawi, Yoweri Museveni and Isias Afewerki. Needless to note that these leaders have for decades stifled the cause of democracy and freedom in their respective countries (although Zenawi is dead, his political machinery is still as brutal as ever).

The Euro-America cathedral of validation is still a formidable force. Its psychological wing is well integrated into all the structures of our conceptual and practical processes of discoursing the kind of leadership we deserve. The reactions to the two videos mentioned above are archetypal examples. When Obama and Tredeau in April of this year said that Buhari was doing a good job, the hallelujah chorus was almost deafening.

Very few provided an objective critique of such assessment by these two leaders. The question should have been whether the Nigerians who are living the reality of Buhari’s administration feel that “he is doing a good job”. Obama’s (and Tredeau’s) assessment is based on the extent to which Buhari’s policies are in line with Euro-America’s politico-economic interest. Whether or not such policies cause more harm than good to Nigerians is of no serious relevance to them.

Cameron’s careless statement is one that should also be treated with very little attention. The more energy devoted to analysing or rationalising this statement only reinforces the objective of the Euro-American validation cathedral. Cameron will say whatever serves the interest of the UK. In any other forum where for example UK business people are trying to invest in Nigeria, with the Nigerian delegation in attendance, Cameron will definitely speak about the good works that the Buhari government is doing in terms of fighting corruption. Cameron’s positive statement in this instance would no doubt be circulated widely to show Nigerians, and other African countries, that the Nigerian government is indeed doing a good job.

The lesson from this unnecessary distraction is that we must learn to take our own validation process more seriously. The shifty assessments of Euro-American leaders on whether a regime is good or not is of little relevance to our developmental process. This is not to say that external criticisms or praises should always be rubbished, it only means that we must be able to sense that which is not in our interest and then treat such with the deserved “talk to the hand” treatment.

 

You can follow the writer on twitter @babsfagbayibo

Underlining the variety of political and economic issues in postcolonial Africa in the past 5 decades is the search for meaning and relevance. The key terms and concepts that have shaped relational dynamics, be it external or internal, all carry the complex task of reframing and restructuring how Africa sees itself and wants to be seen by the rest. Terms such as decolonisation, Pan-Africanism, regional integration, democratic governance etc., have all contributed to this important discourse. Many have thus argued that context is very essential in unpacking and discoursing these variables. In this sense, it has been rightly argued that if Africa is to become relevant and move from the periphery of global political economy, it has to devise its own path.

Agreed. But now the question is how should the continent carve a path amidst the numerous self-inflicted problems it continues to grapple with? For example, some continue to argue that democracy is contextual and does not have to follow the neoliberal, western approach but how then should we conceptualise the idea of freedom of citizens? Even if we were to make our democratic agenda conform to our socio-cultural contexts, could we not find a way in which the voices of our people are not forcefully muted, and their lives endangered by state apparatuses?

The debate in the early 1990s by African scholars was on how to draw the link between democracy and development, with some arguing that if democracy doesn’t bring development then it is irrelevant to Africa. I still pitch my tent with the likes of Thandika Mkandawire, who argued that the instrumentalist conception of democracy is problematic, as it has a way of condoning the activities of tyrants who push the “development before democracy” agenda. Mkandawire argued that democracy need not be seen as instrumental but as an ideal on its own, an ideal that advances liberty and freedom.

Similarly, the idea of advancing regional integration and cooperation on the continent remains entrapped by numerous obstacles. The sad point is that there has always been some form of consensus among African leaders on the centrality of regional cooperation to development yet they show no serious sign to activate the fundamentals necessary for this. Even where there are ideological differences on how to proceed, the logical, but often ignored, expectation is that those with similar ideological approach should coalesce and show the rest the workability of their appoach. The routine disregard of organisational objectives has unfortunately become the moniker of regional integration in Africa. The successes are sadly the exception rather than the rule.

Africa’s engagement with the outside world is another aspect of its search for meaning. China’s role in Africa has now become one of the definitive features of this engagement. However, the question is whether or not Africa has a coherent and decisive plan of engagement. Beyond the high level meetings with Chinese officials, the rhetoric of “we are now looking east”, and sweet deals that only benefit the politically connected, to what extent have our political elites crafted a national/regional development plan that ensures a sustainable, win-win partnership with China? Civil society is often left out of the loop, with the average African having little or no idea about how China-Africa relations impact his or her condition. Yet we are often told that this partnership is our ticket out of the province of irrelevance.

Through its Agenda 2063, the African Union has once again come up with a plan to move Africa into relevance. This 50 year plan says nothing new as it restates many of the ideas that have been included in previous plans. It is vague and shows no concrete plan of implementation. One suspects that like other plans before it, Agenda 2063 will slowly fade into oblivion, to be replaced by another buzzword.

The long walk to and search for meaning is not and cannot be a smooth linear trajectory. History shows that such move can be messy and fraught with a number of missteps. But one lesson from history is the importance of determination and seriousness. Africa will have to find its own path but one suffused in clearly thought out plan and programmes, with concomitant level of willingness.

Beyond the quantitative conception, it is important to ensure the qualitative point of such move. In terms of quantity, some would argue that the raft of normative instruments at the regional level, “Africa is rising” story, infrastructure development by China… all point to things we can count as markers of advancement and meaning.

But the question remains: what of the quality of such move towards meaning? This is where we need to look at the mirror, to understand the enormity of our problems. It begins with understanding that our afflictions are more psychological than physical. The self-inflicted problems of not committing to regional and national development agendas, butchering and silencing real and imagined opposition, engendering xenophobic policies, calling France before ratifying or implementing regional programmes , endorsing the actions of tyrants (“without him the country will collapse”), endorsing electoral irregularities (and failing to learn lessons of how this easily snowballs into armed conflict)… are some of the actions that ensure that our march towards the promised land of meaning is a sluggish 2 steps backward, 1 step forward motion.

You can follow the writer on twitter @babsfagbayibo, and facebook: https://www.facebook.com/babs.fagbayibo

 

 

Dear Sir/Madame,

Warm greetings from rising Africa, the land of growing GDPs. I hope this letter met you well, if so, glory be to the African deities.

The primary motive of this letter is to awaken your publication to the glaring exclusion of some of the extraordinary, record breaking feats that have been achieved by good African politicians in the past few years.

Sir/Madame, it is well known that some African leaders are considered as the poster child for maladministration and bad behaviour. Your publication should, however, be less concerned with issues of morality and/or good governance, as such issues are within the operational realm of noisy NGOs, and nosey international organisations. In this respect, ethical issues should then not prevent your publication from acknowledging objectively sound achievements.

Sir/Madame, in light of the above, I, a true son of Africa, have taken it upon myself (expecting neither financial benefits nor fame) to bring to your attention African issues that should be featured in your future publication(s). These are:

  1. Amazing Grace, Grace of Africa, Jewel of Limpopo, Grace of Zimbabwe, Gucci Grace, Mother of the Revolution. I have prefaced this point with such glowing and effusive praise because her achievements are not one to be treated lightly. Doing otherwise could attract the wrath of our gods. Madame Dr Grace Mugabe, the first lady of Zimbabwe, did something incredible last year: she obtained a doctoral degree in 2 months! It took this genius, from registration to completion, only 60 days to write a thesis. The thesis is yet to be made public but the University of Zimbabwe did acknowledge this feat. End of story. If you ask me, I am in support of not releasing this thesis as it may contain important codes and algorithms for moving Africa forward, and as such, should not be exposed to imperialists and western hegemonic influences. In addition, it is our pride on this continent, and should be safely kept in the Chinese built and donated African Union Secretariat in Addis Ababa.
  2. Recently, our man in Kigali, President Paul Kagame, like many of his contemporaries, through proxies, put forward the idea of constitutionally elongating his term of office. In line with the constitutional prescription, the idea was put before the people for their acceptance or rejection. 3.7 million Rwandans overwhelmingly said yes to this extraordinary, divine individual. And here is the world record: only 10 people in the entire country said no. If you ask me, these 10 folks are the real enemies of not only Rwanda but Africa as a whole. How dare they oppose a man who has literally given us Africans a peek of heaven on earth?
  3. Our main man in The Gambia, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa (Conqueror of Rivers) is one that deserves a special page in your publication. He is no ordinary president. Unlike other presidents in the world (even the ones with medical degrees), President Jammeh is blessed with miraculous powers to cure Aids and infertility (in women). There are sceptics who have made it a mission to deny this worthy son of Africa the possibility of bagging a Nobel Prize for Chemistry. These are enemies of progress. Afro-pessimists! If they require any evidence, they should catch the next flight to Banjul and hear the stories of people in The Gambia who can attest to his power of healing. End of story.

I have only outlined these 3 examples to show the need for more in-depth research on African achievements. There are still many undiscovered, under-reported feats, especially amongst our tireless political elites, which I implore your publication to give serious attention.

I look forward to the positive acknowledgement of my communication.

Kind regards,
Babatunde wa Afrika,
Province of Azania
United States of Afrika.