October 24, 2021

The hypocrisy of our African leaders

5 min read

By Alpha Bedoh Kamara

AU Sumit

The 26th AU Summit held in Addis Aaba, Ethiopia, has again proved to be one of the hottest oratory platforms by our heads of states who made heartbreaking narratives spiced with ‘warrior like’ philosophies pointed at the UN and the West to prove a point that Africa needs a renaissance.

The erstwhile chairman of the AU, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, left no stone untorn in unleashing tantrums to the UN, former colonists, imperialists, Westerners and US President Barack Obama, whites and pink noses, and the whole AU arena gave him a standing ovation.

“We have asked and asked and asked for Security Council reform,” he said, adding that Africans were tired of making “hollow speeches” at the UN with no results.

“If the UN is to survive, we [Africa] must be equal members of it,” he said to loud applause.

“According to the “Ezulwini Consensus,” which was adopted by the AU Foreign Ministers as Africa’s common position on UN reform, “Africa’s goal is to be fully represented in all the decision-making organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council, which is the principal decision-making organ of the UN in matters relating to international peace and security.”

The UNSC is now more important than ever to Africa, particularly concerning matters of intervention in the conflicts occurring within the region. These decisions will become more legitimate and easier to implement if they are made through democratic processes…” Source https://www.globalpolicy.org.

On a rational point of view, considering Africa’s population and diversity, its position in the UN should be reconsidered and made to be a better stakeholder rather than a lame duck. However, Africa’s inability to achieve this objective and the grinding poverty that continue to eat the fabrics of the continent must be blame on African leaders.

Poor governance, tribal and regional sentiments and unequal distribution of national resources have often been the cause of resentment, poverty, suspicion and political instability.

Africa has everything it takes to turn the continent around for the better but unfortunately for the millions of people suffering in silence and dying in the dark, the leaders are busy enriching themselves and machinating ways to continue to hold onto power to better secure the looted wealth and to ensure continuity for the safety of their cronies.

Every year an estimated $148 billion is siphoned off annually from African states and stashed in developed economies, according to Transparency International, a global non-profit group that tracks corruption.

The former president of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, while speaking about poverty and development in Africa was succinct in his words: “A large proportion of citizens in developing countries particularly those in Africa and the least developed countries live in poverty. Further, it is the rural environment that is typically host to the worst problems of poverty, disease, illiteracy, ignorance and deprivation. Against this background, it is imperative that governments, particularly those in Africa and the least developed countries, adopt conscious and transparent human centred development policies and strategies that will effectively achieve social development, accelerate economic growth and make all citizens both creators as well as beneficiaries of the national wealth.” Address by H.E. Flt Lt Rawlings, President of the Republic of Ghana at the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen, Denmark, March 11 1995.

Few African countries are upping their economic growth and have improved the standard of living for their people and therefore important for the whole of Africa to look at the formulas being used by these succeeding nations and turn the whole of Africa around.

Africa’s economic growth has become an enigma and making young people to loath their land of birth and risking the dangerous routes leading to the West in search of opportunities.

And while Mr. Mugabe was unleashing his anger at others for Africa’s folly, it would have been prudent he challenged all the leaders to declare their assets, set up a basket fund in the AU in which the leaders will contribute yearly and monies spent in the provision of healthcare for homeless Africans.

He should have challenged his colleagues that holding onto power promote political tension, tribalism, bad governance and violation of human rights and political instability. He should have told them that money from the West (grants or loans) should be denied and that they ‘must’ live simple lives until Africa is capable of feeding her people and ensuring every child does not die of curable diseases.

He should have told them that ‘corruption’ is the crux of Africa’s backwardness and that ‘bribes’ before a ‘contract’ is approved, are wrong and stifles progress. Ironically, these challenges and many others are being perpetrated by Africans in places of position against their brothers and sisters.

But then, our erstwhile AU chairman is pointing at the West whose tax payers’ money is being used to feed, clothe and protect millions of African children and women left to perish by their own governments who failed to provide the basic necessities for better livelihood.

With the exception of few, the only thing most African countries can capitalized on is improvement in the capital cities and few urban areas while the rest is left to the mercy of nature without pipeborne water supply, electricity, better education facilities and standard medicare.

The hypocrisy of our African leaders stands tall and wide and I still wonder how Africa plans to address, as a continent, the prevailing security and health challenges without the support of the West.

Interestingly, Africa’s position in the UN is like a man wanting to marry a wife without having a room. Where will the wife sleep?

Our leaders have made us proud at the AU Summit, but how would they make their demands meaningful to Africa?

African leaders must strive to address local challenges 

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