Being a citizen of the East Africa Community and a frequent (albeit layman) observer of what transpires in government, I have come to notice some disturbing trends.
Unfortunately, some of our former colonizers still want to treat us (Africans) like children who cannot be trusted to take care of ourselves, by appointing themselves as monitor and commentators on our every decision.
This monitoring is more rampant in two sets of countries – those who are endowed with a wealth of natural resources but still suffer poor governance and those that are still poor even when they are visibly taking steps towards improving governance.
This big brother position assumed by international community is so far reaching that international NGO feel that they are at liberty to pressure a country into adopting whatever policies it sees fit just because it is from a powerful western country. The good news however is that African countries are wizening up and sticking with decisions that they consider to be in the best interest of their citizens.
The process of getting to where we want is not perfect, but we want to be given space to take the necessary steps and be trusted that when we make our choices, we are not making them in ignorance but in light of our present circumstances.
We acknowledge like most countries in the rest of the world that our situation is less than perfect but citizens are becoming increasingly aware of what our rights are and we are making decisions to safeguard our best interests.
As a citizen of East Africa, I feel that most international (mostly human rights) organizations undermine our capacity by constantly attacking our institutions and fighting any attempt that we make towards safeguarding our security and future.
I am not saying that we are happy with all aspects of governance within our countries but I could say the same for all countries in the world; all I ask is that the international community and mostly International NGO’s start respecting our ability to define the path of our own.
Everyone is allowed their opinion, but this opinion should be communicated with respect for our sovereignty and in acknowledgement of our ability to make the right decisions for ourselves as citizens and by the governments that we elected.
We are not complacent and helpless; we have systems in place including the East Africa Community and Africa Union, independent institutions and most important increasingly informed and empowered citizens.
Concerned East African Citizen