Before I even begin, does Africa have enemies?
Yes, she has enemies. I mean who or what doesn’t have enemies! Both of us, you and me (many) have enemies. The trees have enemies — loggers, illegal or not — and even the rivers of this world have those who aid in the pollution of their waters as enemies.
So the African continent is not going to be an exception. Has lots of them, and some are the very reason she’s stagnated, painfully trudging behind the other continents. With all her enormous wealth in terms of Natural Resources — gold, diamond, bauxite, gas and oil just to name a few — one will expect her to be among the most developed.
You brag of possessing almost half of the world’s most precious minerals and your people are dying of hunger? Decades after gaining independence from the White Colonizers — who allegedly came to “enlighten” us — we still have most of us living like savages. Begging from rich nations to feed our population?
Now who are these enemies of Africa that I’m talking of?
Is it the proud Americans or Europeans, always trying to force stuff down our throats so long as it’s in their interests? Or the industrious Chinese who are turning not just our continent, but the rest of the world into their dumping site? Every African country you step into they’re there, doing even manual jobs and our graduates are unemployed.
Is it the Middle East? The few spoiled ones among the Muslim community that have twisted the minds of some Africans with backward ideologies making them terrorize their own people. Talk of Boko Haram and Al Shabaab.
No. I don’t think so. I think Africans we’re our own enemies. As much as the continent has external enemies, I believe we ourselves are our number one enemy. And I will tell you why I think so.
1. African Political Leaders
These are the first culprits. Save for the few good ones like the late Nelson Mandela, Africa has had nothing but bad leaders. Greedy leaders whose only motive is to loot from the public coffers, go and stash it overseas while people are suffering, struggling to see the next day.
They take huge loans for development but instead use it for their own selfish interests. Marrying many wives, buying fuel guzzlers, houses and investing in real estate all over the world. It’s us the poor citizens who pay dearly for this loans.
Some have been known to practice divisive politics —my own country, Kenya will be a perfect example — that at the end of the day brings nothing but bloodshed. We’ve witnessed civil wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Congo and currently neighboring South Sudan and it’s all caused by bad leadership. Thank God Charles Taylor — former Liberian president charged by the ICC for war crimes and convicted for 50 years — is paying for some of these!
Some leaders just don’t want to leave power no matter how much their leadership is hurting the people, and affecting the continent to the larger extent.
Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe at 93 still wanted to rule and had to be ousted by the military, with the full support of the people (tired and wanted change, don’t matter what the change will bring).
Not just him though, look at:
- Jose Edwardo dos Santos — Angola
- Teodoro Obiang’ Nguema —Equatorial Guinea
- Paul Biye — Cameroon
- Dennis Sassou Nguesso — Congo Brazzaville
- Yoweri Museveni — Uganda
All this guys, though some now retired, ruled for over 30 years. Museveni recently had the parliament vote in his favor to amend the Constitution so as to enable him continue ruling. And not that he’s doing a great job anyway. Go to the North–Western parts of the country — mama’s birthplace, (but nothing personal) — and you will wonder why that guy is still insisting on ruling.
The West Nile region is so poor with bad (actually no) infrastructure. Nothing you can call a road and no electricity. Most guys, especially those who can afford depend on generators and solar panels. But maybe the people over there will be remembered now that oil has been discovered there. or it will just add them more sufferings, like the bloody diamonds did.
2. Countries not supporting intra–trade
This trade is very important in enhancing regional integration, creating employment and exchange of skilled manpower. Unfortunately this has been hampered by bad infrastructure, hostility among some countries and tariffs.
To go to Tunisia in North Africa, for instance, one must first fly to Turkey in Europe. For Kenya’s flowers to reach Nigeria, they must first head to the United Kingdom and then to Nigeria. What sort of madness is this?! ~Joy Doreen Biira, KTN.
This has discouraged traders, entrepreneurs and investors hence having a negative toll on the African economy as a block. The Reason for all this underdevelopment.
3. Tribalism and Racism
I just had to mention this. Personally I come from a country where people still uphold tribalism. Where people still judge one another by the last name on their IDs. Jobs are allocated on tribal basis. Politics is tribal-based.
And not just in Kenya, this is the norm in most African countries. Take for instance, our big brother South Africa’s 2015 xenophobic attacks on fellow Africans for allegedly taking their jobs.
Racism too, especially with our Arabic speaking brothers from the North of Africa. Last year we witnessed modern-day slavery taking place in Libya, a country from which Muammar Gaddafi, the mastermind behind USA — United States of Africa — came from.
In such an age you are still enslaving your fellow brother just because his skin is dark and desperate for greener pastures, and you expect the world to respect us!
4. Non–profit Organizations and Companies.
This companies are part of the problem we can never win this war on terrorism. Most of them show us the philanthropic face and since most of us are hungry, sick, unemployed and desperate we don’t question whatever they’re operating in the other side in disguise.
They fund terrorists whose only motive is to cause mayhem. Our people get killed and maimed on daily basis by the Al shabaab and Boko Haram by the help of these unscrupulous NGOs and Companies.
Last but not least, is this monster called corruption. I know it’s not a big problem only on this continent, but it’s deeper here. It has it’s cold and ugly hands on almost every sector you can think of. From government parastatal to institutions.
Last year my friend, Eric, Strathmore University, lost both his phone and laptop with all his school project that he was supposed to present in two weeks time. Didn’t have any back up and you can just imagine how devastated he was.
But thank God the laptop had a tracker. So after some months he received a text on his phone indicating the phone has been used. Alarmed, he went and reported the matter at the police station but you won’t imagine the ridiculous amount he was asked before he could be helped. As I’m writing this he’s yet to get back his stolen items.
And now you can see for yourself why I think we’re our own enemies. All the reasons I’ve given above have played a big role in degrading our beautiful continent and making it what it is today. And it won’t be changing any time soon unless we start thinking beyond our stomachs, tribes, races and countries.
You can tell me what you think, if I’m right or wrong. Your feedback, especially positive will be appreciated .