It is an indisputable fact that Africa remains the most backward continent. This situation is largely our fault. Africa has the world’s largest deposits of natural resources, most of which are absolutely essential for the comforts of modern life. But those countries that have them in plenty give them away for next to nothing. As a result their people live in untold poverty in some indefinable age – certainly not modern. In a country not far from here, where reportedly precious minerals can be picked from every village path and cranny in the ground, citizens still hunt birds, monkeys, other hairy crawling insects and slithering reptiles for sustenance.
The continent is divided along multiple small, inconsequential things. We are also largely to blame for this. We get divided over such stupid things as which European languages we use or preference for tomato ketchup or mayonnaise. Sometimes these silly things determine how serious matters concerning our continent are determined.
Not surprisingly, Africa is weak as individual countries and collectively. We do not have a single voice and our disparate voices are so discordant they do not command attention, or so frail they can’t be heard.
One needs only to look at what happened in Libya and Ivory Coast last year to appreciate this point. The African Union was essentially absent in Libya, and when it woke up to the reality in country, it was ignored like it did not exist. NATO went on to bomb Libya and drive Gaddafi into a drainage pipe where he was eventually ferreted out and killed in the gruesome manner not even he deserved.
In Ivory Coast, as the AU talked and dithered, French troops walked into President Laurent Gbagbo’s bedroom and marched him out in the most undignified fashion. Most people can remember the pathetic bewildered look on Gbagbo’s face as he was led out of his bedroom.
Today, in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo the loudest noises are being made by foreigners – the media, UN, NGOs and foreign governments. The voice of the Congolese, particularly that of those directly affected by the conflict have been drowned by external noise. The rest of the Congolese, including the government and the military, are actually happy to surrender responsibility for their nation’s wellbeing to strangers.
That’s how pathetic things can be – when nationals gleefully participate in the emasculation of their countries. It is actually criminal.
It is not in the DRC that this is happening. Even here in Rwanda there are people willing to subject their country to shame and pain.
In the past several weeks different groups of Rwandans have been jumping for joy because donors have cut aid to Rwanda. They have been celebrating the supposed difficulty their country is bound to face.
Now, it is only traitors or the insane who wish pestilence visited on their country or revel in the destruction of their home. But the so-called opposition political groups are doing just that. In the process, they have shown themselves to have no programme except greed and a readiness to surrender the right to decide the national interest to foreigners.
Yet in the countries where they live and from where they commit such treason, sometimes with the active backing of elements from those countries, such things never happen. Whenever the countries are attacked or threatened, all differences are set aside; they close ranks and defend the common interest.
Our neighbours in DRC are also happy that Rwanda is getting the stick, especially from the UN and some Western countries. They can’t stop applauding the countries that have supposedly cut aid to Rwanda. Yet an economically strong Rwanda is in the best interests of Congo – except, of course, if they are driven by spite and want to drag everyone to their level of incompetence and dysfunction.
Congolese experts in sounding the alarm (that seems their only expertise) have convinced SADC to join the bandwagon of those brandishing the stick against Rwanda.
Even some African academics and scholars and all manner of activists have taken up bashing of African countries supposedly in the name of higher ideals in a vain attempt to gain acceptability in the West. In effect what they achieve is support to burn their own house.
It does not require super intelligence to notice that such attitudes cannot serve Congo’s or Africa’s interests. Instead they play into the hands of foreigners who have a different agenda.
Of course, such divisions and lack of common purpose are not new in African history. The continent was colonised because of that. African response to colonialism was divided between resisters who sought to defend their independence and national interests, collaborators driven by greed and guarantees of personal positions, and those who had no clue about what to do.
This is happening again. We have people prepared to collaborate with forces bent on arresting our progress. That should not be allowed to happen.