Migration is an old phenomenon

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

In the last few months, a huge migration movement has been unwinding in Central America, especially in Mexico. Thousands of migrants from South American countries have been on the move trekking on foot towards the US border.

The open defiance has made President Donald Trump’s call for a wall on the border grow even louder and caused the life of a seven-year Guatemalan immigrant in a detention centre.

In Africa, the phenomenon is worse though it only gets airtime when a huge disaster occurs in the Mediterranean Sea. Tens of thousands of young Africans take the perilous journey across the Sahara to Libya where they hope traffickers will ship them off to Europe for a fee.

In 2017, over 160,000 landed on the European shores most of them in Italy. Those were the lucky ones as over 3,000 drowned in the choppy waters. Most of the migrants are from West and Central Africa who seek greener pastures as they have lost hope in their countries.

What is most disheartening is that their countries of origin do little to deter the dangerous migration cycle. They fail to detect what pushes their nationals to risk their lives when they could have remained home to contribute to nation building – if their minimum needs were guaranteed if equal opportunities were available to all.

That is what is missing and African leaders continue to treat it lightly. Taking on utopic challenges such as “silencing the guns” in the next two years could be better replaced by draining the flow of immigrants by opening up their borders.

They should instead silence the wails of many mothers who bid farewell to their children never to see them again.

For the past few years, tens of thousands have died while trying to cross the border

A Guest Editorial