There’s so much to learn from some of the recent elections in Africa. But I have a feeling we are like that pampered children of formerly rich parents who have not come to terms with the fact that their parents are no longer rich and can thus not afford the needless luxuries they used to spoil them with. We insist on behaving like a rich country despite the fact that we have messed up our economy and stolen the rest of the riches or dashed them to our families and friends who are not interested in giving a pesewa back to us.
1. In Ivory Coast we are supposed to learn that leadership changes nations. Five years ago they were going through a nasty post-election war. Five years on they have taken our title as the fastest growing economy with all indicators looking great. They have consolidated their economy and do not have the massive dumsor challenge like we do. In that period we have had absolute peace and spent the time praising and worshiping ourselves.
2. In Tanzania, the new President scrapped off or better still trimmed down the cost of his inauguration. He ordered the rest of the monies to be used to buy hospital beds and mattresses. He’s stopped the Independence Day celebrations that adds cost whiles they celebrate nothing worthwhile.
“It is so shameful that we are spending huge amounts of money to celebrate 54 years of independence when our people are dying of cholera,” Magufuli said in a statement read on state television on Monday. We have worse issues but watch, we will spend some thousands to commission a power barge whose fuel costs we can’t afford just yet.
3. In Nigeria, old man Uncle Buhari is making even petty thieves popo in their dross. He is going after multinationals who flout regulations. He is chasing former ministers for stolen money snd they are begging for payment conditions. He is making the hitherto flourishing corruption industry so less attractive that people are careful in accepting government positions because they will now be required to truly serve and not steal. He is fixing the economy brick by brick. All the talk about his age now sounds like ancient story and he’s delivering. Over here, people the Supreme Court and other lower courts have found guilty have had the temerity to tell us when they will pay back monies they illegally received. Even that, they are not paying and we sit back and watch unconcerned whiles pontificating that “we are fighting corruption”. Corruption is not fought with the mouth.
Mind you, in all these areas the basic work of government goes on. Yes, the schools we are building and the roads we are constructing and all that are basic things everyone does. It is no big deal. But here, they are the things we praise our leaders for as if they are doing us a favour.
Nothing shameful about copying. Nothing wise about re-inventing the wheel. Let’s learn from Ivory Coast and Tanzania and Nigeria and Rwanda and all the bright spots around us.
Let’s wake up. We are no longer the Black Star of Africa. We are no longer the gateway to Africa.
We should have no pride in being the first at this and that. Each day things change around us. Wallowing in history and ignoring the present and the future is just foolish.
My power went off just after 7am. I am expecting back on at 7am tomorrow. And you say what…?