December 10, 2011

ZIMBABWE: African elderly are in the streets, have no money for food

HARARE, Zimbabwe / The Herald / Opinion / December 8, 2011

Africa: Continent at Crossroads?

By Darlington N. Mahuku and Bowden B.C. Mbanje

The innocent poor African elderly citizens are in the streets, they have no money to buy food; their children also of schoolgoing age are roaming the streets, their parents cannot afford to look after them.

This arguably is a result of the inexorably law of philosophy of plunder that Africa has and continues to be subjected to.

It is a fact of life that a hungry person is an angry one and is always trying to find ways to unleash their inner turmoil.
Sierra Leone, blood diamonds, child soldiers in Sudan, Somali pirates, civil wars, military coups, diseases etc.

These are arguably all Western-induced problems, with disastrous consequences on the development of the African continent.

This is why Africa should cry, but must not be a crybaby.

We are not saying Africa does not have its own internal problems, but it must very much be troubled by the poverty and alienation that it is witnessing.

The worst type of economic violence perpetrated on the African civilian is that of going to sleep on an empty stomach when Western-sponsored guns are blazing in the name of promoting human rights and good governance.

Does this not explain why the African youths have now abandoned education to find ways of filling their bellies with something at whatever cost, be it as a vigilante, a prostitute or a criminal?

This is because Africa and its citizens have continued to be tools in the hands of the neo-imperialists; they are pawns on the neo-imperialist chessboard.

Not only have much of the African space been possessed by the "capitalist god" who thrives on sapping their existence out of them, but they have also forgotten or thrown into the historical dustbin the notion of safeguarding national sovereignty, consolidating indigenisation and economic empowerment.

Professor Shivji noted that this has become a clash of ideologies and economic interests where some African leaders have failed to defend their independence or even stand for meaningful developments for Africa and its people.

Issa ShivjiHe brilliantly observed that "Limits of territorial nationalism that Nyerere and Nkrumah had predicted and feared 'have, been unambiguously driven home by the neo-liberal onslaught beginning in the 1980s with the Washington Consensus . . . the three generations of conditionalities dictated by the unholy trio of IMF-World Bank-WTO backed by imperialist powers which is a direct and blatant attack on both the economic sovereignty of African states."

Muammar Gaddafi advocated a United States of Africa, has this already lost momentum?

Have African leaders' already fallen prey and are paying homage to the "capitalist, aid god or master?"

This is why we are arguing and proposing in this installation that Africa must not be betrayed on its own soil.

African leaders must therefore not be like the chameleon but must remain steadfast and be like the leopard that will never change its spots.

They must be defenders of the African space.

We opine that Africa's point of departure should be an indigenisation drive in which Africans will be the drivers of their own economic development by being masters of their own resources, by being beneficiaries of their own material resources.

Africa must embark on policies and programmes that are Afrocentric.

The bedrock of Africa's development should be embedded in how its resources will benefit the general African populace.

It is beyond any reasonable doubt dear reader that an economic empowerment that will benefit every African citizen will right the wrongs of the past in which the ordinary African masses were systematically, politically and economically marginalised.

Africa must therefore be given the space to participate more fully in the global economy.

This will in the long run reduce the poverty and suffering that the African general populace has been subjected to even during the colonial period.

It is indisputable that this is dependent on effective and viable political leadership and this entails the ruling elite's level of grasping economic issues and their political will to discharge such reforms.

Arguably no economy can grow if it excludes any segment of its people.

Any economic programme embarked on by our African leaders and their technocratic teams must not simply replace the "old-imperial elite" but must be democratic and must focus on the historically disadvantaged.

African leaders must therefore salvage Africa and its citizens from an exploitative global economic system, if they fail to do so then " the plight of Africa and its citizens will be like that of a being trying to swallow the sea to save himself from drowning" for the asymmetric relationship between northern and southern countries continues unabated.

Many African political and economic analysts contend that Africa's struggle should be for the benefit of its own people.

Its goals and objectives must be to quench its people's desires and aspirations for a decent life that is habitable, a life that they cherish, is peaceful, advantageous and will be the bedrock of their children's future.

The African general populace can therefore be totally liberated if they have a "stake" in their own economies.

It is a struggle not only against the neo-imperialist onslaught that is firmly embedded in neo-liberal economic principles but also a struggle against 'internal enemies' who want progress for themselves.

This is why Amilcar Cabral opined that " our people 's struggle is not only against anything that might be contrary to their 'economic' liberty and independence, but also against anything that might be contrary to their progress and happiness."

This is why we are submitting that Africa must not continue being rooted on the same spot.

It is high time they must take the initiative and take advantage of the winds of change (firmly fixed in the indigenisation and empowerment drive) blowing across the Southern African region.

African leaders must know that they cannot learn how to swim in the library but in the water, it is high time that they should walk the talk and implement economic policies that will benefit Africa and the world at large.

Pragmatic attention must begin to be given to both domestic and external factors that are the cause of Africa's continuing crises.

Africa must heed Steve Bantu Biko's call that "the basic tenet of African consciousness is that the black man must reject all value systems that seek to make him a foreigner in the country of his birth, you are either alive and proud or you are simply a potent weapon of the oppressor."

What is Africa to do if it is to defend national sovereignty and consolidate indigenisation and economic empowerment?

Nyerere in 1966 advised that students and lecturers of African universities must serve the needs of their own nations; they must serve Africa and link its intellectual life together.

Darlington N. Mahuku & Bowden B.C. Mbanje are lecturers in International Relations and Peace and Governance at Bindura University of Science Education.

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