African Leaders Pose a Threat to Africa’s Peace and Prosperity

The first decade of the second millennium presented unprecedented levels of hope for the African continent.

african-leaders-peaceThis is a period when “Africans” steered various instruments for the advancement of a peaceful and prosperous Africa.

During this period we saw an Africa-wide leadership who committed itself to accountability and thus created the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a system that enhanced and prescribed accountability.

During the first ten years of the second millennium, African leaders boldly engaged the United Nations and agitated for its reform.

It was the view of the then leadership that Africa must be a peer to others in the world and that Africa should sit at the main table with its peers when decisions are taken.

What can be said is that the then leadership fought principled battles, which were mostly won. It is also during this era that saw the reform of the Organization for African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU) and the establishment of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), among others.

Until 2010 (when South Africa cemented Africa’s place in the world through hosting a very successful world cup) Africa’s path was clear and towards prosperity. Africa spoke mostly in “one voice.”

Sadly, the second decade of the millennium has been characterized by fundamental reversal of most of the gains made from the first ten years of the millennium. This era remains one of treacherous villains occupying the highest echelons of society and feasting on public purses with no inclination towards accountability.

It is said that Sani Abacha (1945-1998) entered office with the most noble of intentions for Nigeria. However, he ended up being in the top ten corrupt leaders in history. The same can be said of President Goodluck Johnathan who recently sacked his Reserve Bank Governor for warning the country about oil theft totalling $50 billion. One wonders how Johnathan can still sleep when over 200 girls who were abducted in Nigeria two weeks ago are still missing. Boko Haram is running amok in Nigeria, something that did not happen when Obasanjo was at the helm.

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Africa has seen coups masqueraded as “popular uprisings” which have seen the total militarization of most Arab world nations. Egypt is a run by lawless junta, so is Libya and many other countries in the Arab world. South Sudan is daily moving towards a fully blown “civil war.” The Central Africa Republic has 95 percent of its gold leaving the country illegally.

With Chinua Achebe gone, we hope he passes the messages to the fathers of African unity, President Mandela, Nyerere, Nkrumah and Bella; that Africa is “no longer at ease.”

Scientifically, the old are meant to die so as to provide space for the young to be born. With the current leaders being a threat to our unity, peace and prosperity, the natural process may take too long – should we wait for that long?

Olwethu Sipuka holds a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Cape Town. He specializes in advocacy, stakeholder relations and policy. Read other articles by Olwethu.