RE: “KK’s arrest and Uhuru’s ICC case: Calibrating Pan-Africanism” (The New Times, September 14).
Pan-Africanism, with its idea of African solidarity at its core, is like all other ‘isms’ potentially very powerful. It is like any instrument; like a hammer it can be used, as a valuable tool, to build.
But it can also be used as a destructive weapon, as when, for instance, African leaders coalesce together to protect the predators of their own people, the corrupt, and the incompetent amongst them.
Unfortunately, because it is in such short supply, at the end of the day the most critical factor in the kind of outcome you get isn’t this or that ‘ism’; it is the quality of leadership. It is an inspiring leader that provides a vision for mobilising and giving effect to a people’s aspirations that counts most, not this or that ‘ism’.
Africa’s curse has been the predatory and usually utterly incompetent leaders we have been saddled with for too long, after the initial immediate post-independence leaders, most of whom at least had a vision to liberate their people from the colonial yoke, although after succeeding in that many then seemed not to know what they should do beyond independence.
As a result, many of those leaders were unprepared for their erstwhile colonisers’ counterattacks, using different strategies to continue to dominate the now nominally independent African states whose leaders seemed more taken up by the trappings of power than the betterment of their people’s welfare.
Since that initial wave of Pan-Africanists, we then saw leaders who have been a veritable impediment to their people’s capacities for self-improvement. Corrupt leaders who also corrupt everything they touch; and who naturally detest the incorruptible amongst them, for their own corruption and incompetence become, by contrast, glaringly obvious to their own people and to the world at large.
Leadership is what Africans are in dire need of. With the right leaders, not our all too frequently corrupt and incompetent tribalists-in-chief, Africa’s future can still be very bright, for we have the natural resources and a very young, dynamic and resourceful people (if they weren’t they would all be dead, given the chaos and anarchy lack of leadership has brought) for it to be much more than a mere possibility.