When I look at Africa, many questions come to mind. Many times I ask my self, “What would happen if Mwalimu where to Rise up and see what’s happening? Many times I would ask my self what would happen if Kwame Nkrumah, Lumumba, Mandela were to rise up and see what’s happening. Because what they would be confronted with is an Africa, where the Democratic Republic of Congo is Unsettled, there is a War going on there but is not on the front pages of our News Papers because we don’t even control over our newspapers and the media. As we speak to you, the Central African Republic is at War but we talk of it only mutedly, as I speak to you now, Kenya is at war based on religion and terrorism, young men and women are victims.
In South Sudan the youngest nation in Africa, the Nuwera have risen against the Dinkas, as I speak to you now, Eritrea is unsettled, as I speak to you now…there is unease in Egypt as there is unease in Libya, in Niger its no better, in Senegal in the Kasamanzi is no better, Africa is at War with her self, this is what they would be confronted with.
They would be confronted with an Africa which statisticians and romantic economics say is growing but which in truth is stagnated, that is the Africa they would be confronted with. They would be confronted with an Africa which as Prof. Mulama intimated in a presentation, “an Africa which is suffering from no self-awareness”, it does not know her self. They would be confronted with an Africa whose young men and women have no interest and no love for her continent. They would be confronted by an Africa where young men and women are constantly humiliated at the embassies of European Countries and the USA as they seek the mighty Green Card. They would be confronted with an Africa where young men and women from Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Mauritania drown in the Mediterranean as they seek to be enslaved in Europe; this time round Africans are not wailing and kicking as they are taken away to be enslaved, they are seen wailing and kicking as they are seeking to be enslaved, this is the tragedy of Africa.
They will be confronted with an Africa where people have lost their self Pride. An Africa where Africans are not proud of their things, an Africa where hotels of Nairobi and Kampala even foods have foreign names When we fry potatoes and we call them French fries even when they are fried in Kampala, that is Africa that they would be confronted with.
They would be confronted with another Africa, an Africa which does not tell her story, an Africa whose story is told by Europe and America, The CNN, Radio Dishevel, Radio France, that is the Africa they would be confronted with. They would be confronted with young men and women who have no pride in Africa, when they want to enjoy themselves..they sing praises of football teams of Europe and America, it is Manchester United, it is Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona, not Yanga, not Mufulira Wanderers, not Cranes, not FC Leopards Noooo! That’s Africa that they will be confronted with. They will be confronted with an Africa which does not enjoy the steers and drama, that Africa celebrates Leonardo DiCaprio, it celebrates Angelina Jolie, an Africa that does not celebrate Genevieve Nangi or Ritah Dominic, Olu Jacobs of Nigeria or Bongowood, Nollywood, Riverwood, Ugawood… It celebrates Hollywood, that is the Africa with which they would be confronted. They would be confronted with African women whose greatest source of joy is cheap Greg bee Mexican soap opera, Lapatrona, Latomenta, “the rich also cry” and so on. Why must we be reminded of these realities because all through the ages the battle has always been the Battle of the mind and if your mind is conquered then your going nowhere and that is why in the ages of enlightenment in Europe the great Leonardo.K says, “I think! Therefore I am” And therefore if Africans are to begin to make a contribution in their affairs, Africans must begin to think, but the question is, “Are we thinking?”
We have universities in their numbers, Tanzania has universities including Kenyatta, Nairobi has universities as indeed Makerere-Kampala, as indeed South Africa Johannesburg; we have all these universities. We have engineers but our roads are not being made by Tanzanian civil Engineers, it is the Chinese who are present in these assemblies who are making our roads. So we have engineers who can not even make roads. We have doctors whom we have trained, but when we are sick, particularly when we are of the political class depending on who colonized you, if you are colonized by the United Kingdom, you rush to London, if your colonized by the French you rush to Paris, Portuguese you rush to Lisbon, If your colonized by the Spaniards you rush to Madrid Spain and recently because the Asians are beginning to get their act together we run to Indian and very lately because the Arabs have also begun to get their act together we run to Dubai not withstanding that we have the Kenyatta Hospitals of now, the Muhimbilis of Tanzania, the Chris Han Paragwanafs of South Africa and the Mama Yemos of Kinshasa of Zaire or the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mulago, Nsambya and Kololo International Hospital of Uganda but we have no faith in our doctors.
In the area of education, we also don’t have faith; our political class introduced something that they call free education that is free indeed, free of knowledge because they are so suspicious of those institutions that the typical African politicians will not dare take their children to those schools. Their children will be educated in the British or American Systems, so that when they graduate they go to the United Kingdom, to the United States; not that there is something wrong with those institutions but the agenda is wrong because our leaders long lost the script and ought to be described for who they are, our Misleaders.
But we are co-authors of our own misfortune, whenever we are given an opportunity to elect our leaders we are given a blank check and if you permit me a little latitude, if you give me a blank check and you also let me analogize and you say that am given the blank check to buy a Mercedes Benz, what we do when we are called upon having been so empowered we buy what one calls a TukTuk (BodaBoda) from India and expect it to behave like a Mercedes Benz. How does that happen? Its because what we do is to elect thieves. We elect hyenas to take care of goats and when the Goats are consumed we wonder why?
Arise, Africa!! Awake my fellow young men and women…. Let’s build and fight for Africa’s prosperity.