Like its counterparts all over the world, Africa’s elite political class desires power not so much to serve the people but to access the privileges of public office demonstrating the moral bankruptcy that exists in our leadership.
Some African politicians are far from the epitome of morality and can be downright crass in their sexual behaviour. South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is feeling the heat after emails were leaked which allege extramarital affairs with several women. Let’s look at some of the more glaring public showcases of this on the continent.
The invasion of Libya by the U.S., Britain and France has left Libya a breeding ground for terrorists. The country is in chaos and peace has been elusive. British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme said the removal of Col. Muammar Gaddafi from power has been a tragedy for Libyans.
With the new rhetoric many Western leaders are throwing, the narrative surrounding colonialism will eventually be shaped according to what the colonisers say, and not according to the experiences of Africans, the victims of the crimes. When the legacies of colonialism are pinned down to roads and hospitals, what becomes of the painful experiences, and stories of Africans who still bear its brunt? The definition and yardstick of civilisation really needs to be revisited and contested.
In 1986, Soyinka was 52 years old and had just won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Today Africa’s first Nobel laureate turns 84. The playwright, poet, and prose writer whose works have many times been described as highly cerebral and meant for the elite is one of Africa’s most respected voices. TIA wishes him a happy birthday.
African youths have continued to prove that even without the right conditions, they can still make an impact and will excel given the right environment. 25 African youths were recipients of the Queen’s Young Leader Award out of the 59 recipients. Zambia’s Natasha Kaoma who is a women’s health advocate led a drive to launch fundraising to provide menstrual hygiene kits to girls in rural areas.
Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, has donated 300 cows to raise money for the Africa Union (AU) Foundation to help stop dependance on foreign aid funding. President Mugabe handed a $1 million cheque to the AU after the cattle were sold in Zimbabwe. The cheque was handed to the AU at its leaders’ summit in Ethiopia and Pres Mugabe said his friends helped contribute to the noble cause.
Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the current President of the African Development Bank has been awarded the $250,000 World Food Prize also regarded as the Nobel Prize in Agriculture. Adesina who was Forbes Africa Person of the Year Award (2013) for his bold reforms in Nigeria’s agriculture sector, which empowered farmers across Nigeria to embrace agriculture as a business has continually sought to empower farmers in rural areas through the distribution of fertilisers.
Thabo Mbeki is no hero. Neither is he the worst leader to emerge from the ranks of the African National Congress. A son of the liberation movement to a fault; an idealist who is romantic about Africa, and a vessel of complexity – now, that he is. As Mbeki celebrates his birthday, we reflect on his leadership. Will he cringe as he recalls some of his missteps or remain grandiose about his unfinished African Renaissance chapter?