African unity and radical change is key to African renaissance

2015-05-25 16:56

In commemorate of the African Liberation Day, a merriment of African unity, a celebration of Pan Africanism, as it is traditional on this month of May, and the purpose of this celebration is to mark the hard-fought freedom from European colonial powers, and progress and to symbolize the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.

Africans across the continent, stretching from Cape to Cairo, Morocco to Madagascar, and Dakar to Dar es Salaam hands join hands in commemoration of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), presently recognised as the African Union (AU).

As lovers of Africa, It is therefore imperative to remind ourselves that there are millions who paid with their lives in injustice, slavery, sweat, blood and death for an African Dream. Thus we should reflect on the state of our continent and consider what should be done to further ameliorate the African condition. It is therefore key to recommit ourselves for an African unity, radical transformation, and renew our pledge to work together for the rebirth and renewal of the African continent and the advancement.

As motif force, Unity, radical transformation, strong decisive leadership and African renaissance is critical for the further advancement of the African continent, therefor we should carry with us into the world the vision of a new Africa, an Africa reborn, an Africa rejuvenated, an Africa recreated, and a young Africa that Kwame Nkrumah envisioned.

Pan-Africanism and African renaissance should be guiding paradigms as we debate radical economic transformation and African solutions to our African problems. The point of departure should be to admit that colonial masters in Africa skilfully surrendered political power while maintaining economic control. Africa therefore became politically independent while still economically in bondage. Thus this attained political independence, has made more African leaders to fail to economical transform and develop Africa and African leaders failed to develop institutions that would translate independence into popular democracy and liberty. They failed to accommodate dissent and tap the energies of the people for economic and social development.

It is quite clear therefore that Africa cannot afford to continue its journey with ill-prepared and unassisted leaders. Those on whom the burden of leadership will fall in future must fully comprehend the nature of their responsibilities, duties, and obligations. In other words, they must be given all the necessary exposure and carefully planned preparation to be able to meet the challenges that they will inevitably face. Decade after decade, politicians have failed to reduce poverty. Nor have they been able to help Africa generate growth or build basic infrastructure.

Poor governance, absence of quality education, health, youth employment are creating an uncompetitive continent, the youth bear the brunt. Good governance remains central to the challenges Africa faces. Minimal attention is paid to the future, except the future of leaderships that invest state resources in sustaining their regimes. Many African leaders do not see the future of their countries beyond the confines of their own interests. Efforts at creating linkages that can develop the continent are lost in petty quests for individual prosperity, “value” leaders promote, and which the populace imitates.

Too many African governments are clueless about the importance of investments in sectors that would create jobs to absorb the millions of youth whose present concerns must be tackled to guarantee their relevance in future. Africa suffers capacity deficit in many areas. Outside leadership, infrastructure remains a limiting factor in the utilisation of the continent’s resources. Perhaps, the biggest threat is the imitative corruption our leaders have imbibed. Billions of dollars stolen from the continent, annually, end up in foreign banks. Not only do corrupt practices minimise resources available for development, they create a culture of impunity and a leadership lineage doused in corruption and decidedly immersed in maintaining it’s vice grip on Africa. Escalating poverty, high unemployment among, especially, young people, increasing inequality between rich and poor, rejection of outdated political and economic systems, dubious business practices, high food and fuel prices and other wide-ranging socio-economic pressures are at play across the continent.

In the meantime, the violent social unrest in Africa, abduction of young girls by Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab bomb attacks, shipwreck death toll for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe and Afrophobia attacks in South Africa, highlighted the seriousness of socio-economic challenges faced by African people. Millions of African people are killed and displaced due to civil strife, Women bear the brunt of civil strife and are subjected to gender-based violence, especially through the use of rape as a weapon of war in most of the crisis-torn African regions. African leaders tend to display an attitude of contempt and disregard for the people, even as they claim to govern in the name of the masses. The political elites in Africa do not communicate sufficiently with the masses and even when they try, the gap between them in material terms is such that communication is difficult and even rendered meaningless, especially as the elites are often too remote from the aspirations of the people.

The debate about Africa’s development continues unabated. Africa suffers from weak and lack of institutions. The continent is constrained by weak and poor leadership and that policies are the binding constraint to Africa’s development. There is a clear case of policy failures and policy paralysis, hence the development impasse the continent is experiencing. A critical aspect of the renewal of the African continent is African unity, which appears to continue eluding Africa. We are celebrating the 52nd Africa Day amid chaos and pandemonium in many parts of the continent.

Now, I think that radical economic transformation in Africa must mean radical transformation on a number of levels. It must mean radical transformation of the productive structures of our economy. It must mean radical transformation of production relations, less conflictual, characterised by more equitable benefit-sharing and by less inequality. It's time for radical change or perish, that’s what Africa needs.

The African leaders must possess enhanced ability to be able to take appropriate radical steps in addressing variety of problems surrounding Africa. At the higher levels of leadership, Africa must take a leaf out of the books of other nations. It must equip itself with the intellectual and scientific capacity and the knowledge base to formulate long-term radical strategies. It must upgrade considerably its ability to analyse economic and social issues correctly and to implement such policies with the necessary strong and radical political vision.

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