Is this the kind of leadership we want?

By Sibangani Dube
October 2013
Editors Note

 

 

African leaders stand to be accused for their long-held view that all they’re concerned about is  their own survival, hoping the decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) goes their way.

 

The very week they were pushing the agenda to withdraw from the ICC, about 300 Africans lost their lives at sea as they were fleeing Africa for greener pastures in Europe.

 

This is just the tip of an iceberg. The fact, however, is so many lives have been lost on that stretch as people take the risk, knowing full well they could not make it at the end of the day.

 

If  these leaders had a conscience, they would have stopped that meeting immediately and gone to the scene of the accident to understand why their kith and kin had taken (or keep taking) such risks and what, as leaders, they should do to stem the tide.

 

That Africa has vast mineral resources and potential cannot be questioned; we run the world. There are numerous areas of opportunity for Africa. Agricultural wise, Africa can feed itself. We have world class oil and gas resources; great mineral wealth that if we pushed for beneficiation of minerals, it could easily turn into a paradise. In terms of energy generation, we could literary power the entire world.

 

But where are we, in terms of land? For example, only a fraction of land in Africa is arable whereas over 300 million hectares of the continent could be cultivated. Is it not a shame that we are a net importer of food?

 

Africa’s labour force is projected to increase by 122 million people by 2020, thus creating the continent-wide labour force in excess of 500 million (in view of the fact that the western world is aging while we have a fairly young population). But what are we doing to train and develop that labour force?

 

Some of these leaders, no matter how much they may want to cover their tracks, are the causes of lost lives. Raising the dust and blowing hot air is a way of life but, they should face their day in court for gross human rights violations. It is a shame some of these leaders use state machinery and resources to ferment and perpetuate violence. For whatever reason, the fate of Southern Sudan will forever haunt them for many years to come. The survivors of the horrendous and blood curdling torture of Kenya’s post election violence victims will live forever. The Rwandan genocide will always remind us how cruel political leaders can be.

 

In the meantime, instead of developing our continent, we are busy tearing each other apart through the axis of evil such as corruption, tribalism, regionalism, selfishness and greed. When the world points at our evil, we scream imperialism, sovereignty and threaten to withdraw.

 

The world does not sleep, justice will prevail for the poor and down-trodden. For the leaders who spend sleepless nights developing their nations, let’s commend them for being the beacons of hope.

 

Until next time, enjoy! PF