#Article (Archive)

Guest editorial by Edwin Nebolisa NWAKAEME Editor-in-Chief, Windows on Africa

Jun 16, 2008, 3:46 AM

The Matchet's Diary

It is not a new story when media houses and practitioners are often labelled pro-Western the very moment they started to expose the cruel and inhuman treatments governments and its agencies meted out on their citizens.

Or do they want the civil societies to adopt their style of non-interference even in the most egregious crime of genocide, mass disappearances, ethnic cleansing and crime against humanity?

The popular demand for democracy in this period of transition mainly focuses on the development of mechanisms that will ensure changes in the governance structure, as well as the operatives within these structures. This is especially [so] given the existence, in closed societies, of repressive mechanisms that restrict individual freedom and place greater emphasis on the so-called "security" of the persons in government. Issues of transparency and accountability should serve as the main priority with greater emphasis on individual freedom and the open participation of the citizens in the process of governance. This is the recipe for a democratic system. For how long do they want their citizens to remain in bondage? One thing that has always occurred to my mind is; if Africans are truly ready for democracy? Whenever I go out as an election observer, seeing the queue whether long or short, the first thing I do is to look straight at the faces of young people and women. From east, south, north to west, these faces will actually tell you that they are tired and they want changes and to note well that politicians are not very popular anywhere these days. There is a lot of cynicism among the youth and teenagers, especially about the present and the future. This cynicism grows out of apparent hopelessness, frustration, bad examples and seeming hopelessness. With some terrorist presidents controlling the barrels of the guns, it is very difficult for their dreams of change to come true. What we have in today's Africa is nothing more than a bunch of political hooligans that make kangaroo decisions and loot the nations' treasury; honourable liars who build bridges where there is no river and terrorists who clamp down onanyone that questions their credibility.

Poor economic policies and bad governance have sent thousands, if not millions of the young, in search of greener pastures through the Atlantic coast and the harsh Sahara desert to their untimely deaths. One thing that bothers me most is that no-one, not even those who met this hardship, is ready to tell our youth the truth about the harsh realities that await them in their so-called search for greener pastures while coming through Mungo Park. The lack of right leadership and political will is accountable for the present food insecurity in Africa; unless this trend is reversed and there is a focused and productive partnership with development and the respective domestic private sector, the hope for a food-secure continent will be a mirage. With the appropriate investment-friendly environment, the continent can be sure of veritable food security. Africa has remained a critically food-insecure continent, 'despite the interventions required to turn things around for the better being identified during several food security related summits'. While setting up specific goals is important in addressing the problems of hunger and malnutrition in Africa, it is most important to have strategies for implementing such goals. "Implementing and intensification of impact-oriented actions are critical at this point." On the issue of hunger and starvation in Africa, all must work hard towards ending conflicts and civil strife, strengthening good governance structures and institutions while fostering pro-poor economic growth through improved access markets, better infrastructure and in greater trade competitiveness, building institutional and human capacity and raising agricultural productivity through drought and overall natural resources management as well as through technological solutions.

Since the abolition of slavery and end of direct colonisation, the white man has never failed to look for strategies to still keep his slaves under his control and watchful eyes. In November, Yes Master (This is how they taught our leaders to answer whenever their phones ring) [men] will be gathering in Lisbon, Portugal where they may be signing the 'death warrant' of millions of their citizens all in the name of EPAs.

I felt pity for all those thathavebeen wasting funds calling for one African State without thinking of how to first work towards strengthening and harnessing the regional integration. The ongoing EPA's negotiation is no doubt that the colonial master is still bullying her slaves by first disorganising them so that they lose their sense of the vision of the founding fathers of Africa's liberation, that united they stand. While the European Union stands as one block in the partnership agreement, they end up splitting the African nations. There is no doubt that contemporary forms of slavery are still high in our today's present world. Since our leaders have become blind to the present plight of their citizens, what civil societies need to do is to keep them on their toes in order to help them develop a strategy that can checkmate the exploratory relationship that led to Africa's economy being controlled from outside in the interest of the colonial masters. This has plunged us into an economic mess despite the fact that we are so blessed with rich human and natural resources that would have made us the envy of other continents in the world. And more importantly the policies of the IMF, World Bank and WTO should be revisited.

'Nearly all men can stand adversity But if you want to Know a man's character, Give him power'

Abraham Lincoln