You may have heard about the official opening last Monday, May 10, of the Kazungula Bridge but again you may not have. It did not make global headlines. Nonetheless, for those who have our continent at heart, it offers loads of lessons. For one, the almost one-kilometre-long road and rail bridge is a marvel to look at just by the way it’s curved. And yet, interestingly, it’s curved for all the wrong reasons. It’s curved away from Zimbabwe because late President Robert Mugabe was against its touching ‘his’ land, since Botswana and Zambia do not share a land border. And yet it’s for exactly that reason that colonialists who ruled Zimbabwe earlier as Rhodesia declared the route illegal. This, too, is interesting considering the deep loathing that Mugabe bore for those colonialists and the eloquence with which he harangued them. And for good reasons, after the humiliating tortures they’d made him undergo and the blatant lies they’d made him swallow. Yet to turn around and act exactly like them, that’s the paradox of some politically bankrupt leaders of our unfortunate continent. Turncoats do not come any worse than that! I don’t have it on authority but methinks Mugabe wanted the monopoly of giving a link to countries in the region to Zimbabwe’s north so that they could only depend on the Beitbridge that connects South Africa with Zimbabwe. The bridge is infamous for creating bottlenecks that result in snarl-ups of commercial traffic and cargo to last days and even months. Still, he reportedly stuck on it for the miserly monthly revenue of $45m. The bigger picture of faster transport and facilitated regional trade for more revenue generation could not ‘pierce’ through his myopically opaque mind! For another, despite all that, Botswana and Zambia raised the necessary funds to build touristic Kazungula Bridge that spans the expansive Zambezi River. Imaginatively, it has “a one-stop border facility near the quadripoint that links Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe”. Thus has been created an alternative north-south corridor which, with the contribution of other equally farsighted leaderships, can in the end slickly connect Cape Town at the southern tip of Africa to Cairo at the northern tip. It is an additional but less congested link that also zips together practically all of the SADC member countries, if one of them can be helped out of its scattering of rebellions and another out of the shadow of its late nonagenarian leader. Anyway, Kazungula bridge may be a small bridge by many standards but it’s a big lesson in crafting the wonder of a wide web of an African world. Wonders two of which we in the east African region would nearly be boasting were it not for the burden of a Mugabesque turncoat, an ideologically kaput leader amidst us. He is a leader who has an ego so big that stroking it is his passionately perennial preoccupation. Interrupt his ego trip and he will ‘smooth-lecture’ all and sundry on the best methods of solving all the problems of not only the African continent but also the whole world. But that will be before he turns round to destroy all those best methods in the name of punishing his object of anger, whoever it happens to be. For instance, a sovereign state like Rwanda, which chose to respectfully reject being ordered around as if it were one of the counties of his country and insisted on shaping its own destiny is one such object of his unending attack. But for him (and due to that!), the east African region would be seeing a smoothly functioning integration with its major projects in advanced stage. The SGR railway for the Northern Corridor would be far on its way from the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa to joining any port on the Atlantic Ocean. Just as the Central Corridor SGR railway, though a late starter, is steadily doing from the Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam to join any other port on the Atlantic Ocean. There would be a wider network of electricity connections among many countries and countless other projects in energetic activity, as we speak. Alas, we are reduced to watching with mirth as he springs a trap of an ambush at a spot, following ‘credible’ intelligence reports of an opposition candidate’s presence there, only to hear his target’s loud laughter thousands of km away, on a distant continent! Indeed, Grandpa (we are all bazukulu) is a sorry shadow of his former “fundamental-change”-days self. Or maybe it was all along a game? The kind, hospitable and fun-loving people of Uganda deserve better, surely! All in all, of course, in spite of these turncoats and other politically bust leaders, these individual countries’ and their integrated regions’ firm match towards the wonder of a wide web of an African world may be slowed but can never be stopped. Africa has saboteurs within (as egocentrics) and without (as looters of African raw riches) aplenty but that won’t stop it from finally going places.