Victor Oshiomah, Nigeria
Gosh! When would they retire? Do they think that ruling their countries are their ancestral inheritance and legitimate right? Why won’t they step down and allow fresh blood to flow in with contemporary ideas? Can’t they see that their ideas are now obsolete? Anyone who has been following the recent political revolutions in Africa should easily feel the same heaviness of the heart as I do. From the Ivorian civil war to the Arab spring-up, the Senegalese unrest, and of recent the coup d’etat in Mali, one would wonder why these leaders would wait till the situation gets out of hand before they step down, or withhold power till so many lives are wasted; including theirs.
Now, I’m not disputing the fact that power intoxicates, my question is why would they be so drunk with power to the extent of killing the sane people whose rights they swore to uphold?
I’m beginning to get goose bumps; why can’t they emulate Thabo Mbeki? Their countries are not even as developed as his; neither was their salary and entitlement as enticing as his. Yet he happily handed over to his successor. Didn’t they see John Kuffour of Ghana? It is obvious that these leaders are unpatriotic, and as such are ready to do anything to cling onto power.
At the beginning when these leaders are seeking elections, they cook up well garnished manifesto(s) with chronological solutions to problems, and we easily fall for their pranks. When they get into power what do we see; nepotism, bribery, corruption at its peak, killing of opposition leaders and their followers, and absolute neglect of areas that are not in support of their government. Every facet of the economy of their nations suffers from malnourished ideas. This is because the right people who should have been at the helm of affairs are not there since they are either not related to the president or not a member of his political party.
When rallies are orchestrated by the citizens to make the government members aware of their incompetence, what do they get in return; teargases, gun wounds and death. So many human rights activist have been murdered in cold blood, and up till now the perpetrators have not been brought to book. Unemployment is on the increase in Africa, so also is the rate of migration. Everyday lives are ended prematurely as they wander through the desert trying to cross over to Europe or America in search for “greener pastures.”
The financial situation has remained the same; the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Terrorism is seemingly increasing in Africa as well as the illegal shipping of war ammunitions around the Gulf of Guinea.
Now I think it is ironical for these same leaders to seat at round tables with other patriotic citizens, map out strategic mediums through which the youths of their nations can become more productive, and at the end still be the ones mentoring and sponsoring these youths in the art of terrorism, ’thuggery’ ,militancy etc. Unarguably, I can state that politics; especially in sub-Saharan Africa has since become a do or die affair. Politicians have become lions ready to devour whosoever has the guts to stand against their draconian policies.
Get it! I’m not casting the whole dark shadows on the leaders alone, in fact we (the citizens) are their (our leaders) accomplices; especially the youth. Crimes ranging from terrorism to theft to assassination to molestation are carried out by the youth. The daunting fact is that these crimes would continue to thrive as long as there is poverty. Young orphans; especially males are picked up by terrorist groups and are trained to be cruel and heartless.
They are made to believe that the government is self-centered, and as such would kill anybody who wants to share the country’s fortune with them. At a very young age they are trained on the use of sophisticated ammunitions to unleash terror on innocent citizens, thinking they are pricking the government.
This is the perception that is inherent in the hearts of the westerners as they are used to stories of our ex-leaders being indicted by the I.C.C (International Criminal Court) for crimes against humanity or been hunted by local courts for corruption .They are used to seeing pictures of refugee camps here and there and hearing of financial donations from their countries. They used to seeing videos of how helpless masses flee their countries as a result of incessant fighting between the government in power and the opposition. They are used to hearing the news of how neighboring countries evacuate their citizens from sister countries that have been torn apart by political rivalries.
Our leaders have refused to take a clue from South Africa and Ghana, and learn how politics should be done in fellow African countries. Each president seems to get in, and follow suit as was done by his predecessor. Then the misery just continues to accumulate, till it becomes unbearable, and thus results in a civil unrest.
Conclusively, I would like to share the faults evenly. As I have established from the paragraphs above, the largest portion of the blame goes to our leaders, as they dictate the pace at which things go, and as it is been said when the head is sick, the whole body is as well. As for the citizenry; most especially the youth, our faults lies in the fact that despite been referred to as the leaders of today, we still stoop so low as to become thugs, terrorists and assassins. I do take the cognizance of the fact that poverty is a major cause.
My proposed solution lies in the hands of the youths; let more groups, coalitions and non-governmental organizations go to the creeks, hamlets and isolated settlements and get these orphans and also children whose parents could not afford to send them to school as a result of poverty; before they are fished out by terrorists. Those fit for school should be assisted financially and otherwise, while those who aren’t, should be equipped with vocational skills.
In times of elections, we (the youth) constitute a larger mass of the voting populace. I therefore enjoin us to vote for youth with excellent track records, regardless of their political parties, ethnicity, and other affiliations. Steadily, though it may seem like a goose-chase, we would vote out all these power drunken monsters and their draconian policies.