Does Africa Lack Love? By Bonventure Otieno

Writing is not simple, frankly a difficult task to regularly be able to story tell. Any writer would like to have a concise, complete, up to date and reliable record. In order to get that record they have to do proper research, read and re-read before they get a first draft. They have to take time away from the first draft before looking at the final draft. This results into a finer and well written concise document that will not only challenge minds but educate. In the aspect of the identity of Africa, she has lost hers. In other words, I would like to state that Africa must fight to reclaim her lost identity.

Some are still wondering what has changed in Africa’s identity and what was the identity of the African Continent to begin with? The search for identity has always been a key issue facing us in its striving for significance and meaning. However the African understanding of self is in crisis having been assailed from a number of directions. Nobel Peace Laureate, environmental activist and writer Wangari Maathai opines that if Africa is to build for the future it must first face its past.

Berlin – Congo Conference in 1884-85 found in Part 1 of a Report on the Reconciliation Conference, Africa took a view of the consequences of colonialism. The report concluded that aside from, “a loss of identity,” and “distrust in African national and regional and tribal identities,” along with economic impoverishment there exists a, “lack of love in Africa” along with “wars, genocide, ethnic conflicts.” The report goes on to say that, “Africans tend to remain in a victim role, which is easier than taking responsibility for their own sins and hatred.”

Long before the coming of Europeans to the continent Africans possessed social and political philosophies as valid as those of their European counterparts. These systems revolved around a universal recognition of human worth which formed the spiritual foundation of African societies. The name given to the underlying philosophy is Ubuntu (a Zulu word). It is a unifying vision or worldview inspired by the Zulumaxim, “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu (a person is a person through other persons). The word and the inspiration has spread in the past years as to the need to recognize it.

According to Ubuntu, there exists a common bond between all human beings and it is through this bond and through our interaction with our fellow human beings that we discover our own human qualities. South African Nobel Laureate Archbishop Tutu describes Ubuntu in this way:
“Africans have this thing called UBUNTU . . . the essence of being human. It is part of the gift that Africans will give the world. It embraces hospitality, caring about others, willing to go the extra mile for the sake of others. We believe a person is a person through another person that my humanity is caught up, bound up and inextricable in yours. When I dehumanize you I inexorably dehumanize myself. The solitary individual is a contradiction in terms and, therefore, you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own community, in belonging.”

I boldly declare that Africa has lost its identity. The lack and loss of value systems in my country where people are selling sugar laced with hard metals like mercury and copper (we are still left wondering if the claims are factual because the report has never seen the light of day. And if it is a lie, what kind of rumors are pegged on millions to leave them in fear and uncertainty). Additionally, where over 100 billion has been lost in widespread corruption according to the various reports of the government’s chief auditor and many cannot fathom how much that actually is.

In Democratic Republic of Congo, wars have caused stagnation of the country. We no longer depend on ourselves to bring the desired change, but we have set our eyes away from the continent. The crisis in South Sudan due to resources and ethnicity, we have thousands of people displaced and others killed because of political differences. The political instability in the African continent is a result of our lost Ubuntu- the African identity of caring for one another.

If we are to regain our lost identity, it is time we invested in our values. We have to start at the family level to ensure that the lost identity is brought back. It is time to reclaim what is ours. We also need to set our priorities right but this can only be done through the change of the value system.

Written by Bonventure Otieno
Bonventure Otieno is a compassionate, dedicated and organized Lawyer Post Grad (Kenya School of Law) Bachelors of Law (CUEA, LLB 2015).
T: @bonventuretn3

Africa, where all states are orphans and their only remaining godfathers are European nations by Kaudo Philip Misori

African liberation, the realization of African nationalists’ dreams seem farfetched. Africa has never been the continent that Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Frantz Fanon wished it to be. It has turned to be a continent of regrets. A region that its population does not produce or manufacture to the level that it should, and those that do not trust its products. A continent that is at war with its citizens. In a nutshell, the motive behind the intermittent and protracted war against the colonial regime remains unfulfilled. Instead, more dawning revelations continue to diminish our efforts to make Africa great.

Africa has never been a continent of its means. It’s a continent of dependence. It is where all the states are orphans and their only remaining godfathers are the European nations who dictate to us what is valid and invalid. Fifty years after independence, we have never learnt to appreciate to use our vast available resources. A continent that through the politics of incapability and inadequate capital, they have failed to not only develop industries but also even sustain the local industries that were left behind by the colonial powers.

Africa, endowed with a knowledgeable population, has never provided a conducive working environment culminating into brain drain, industrial actions which have actually hampered service delivery, and expedited poverty. Our overdependence on the West has resulted into the continent being indebted hence lowering our political, economic and social leverage in the international system. The heavy debt and dependence on foreign aids have made us be subjective to our Western financiers. “Independence cannot be real if a nation depends on gifts” Nyerere once said

Africa has become a continent which has adopted the structures of democracy simply for political mileage. The continent has adopted democratic structures that do not seem to work. The tenents of democracy, a western based ideology, are theoretically contained in African constitutions. Elections for example though regular, rarely meet the democratic tests for credible, free, fair, accountable and transparent elections.

The election outcomes have rarely represented the majority interests. Rigging, violence, assassinations, threats and intimidation have marred and characterized African elections. Unfortunately, the independent entities such as the judiciary due to threats and corrupt deals have given a clean bill of health to democratic processes that have been globally condemned. Instead of acting as a watchdog to the state, non state actors and state actors have continued to serve as puppets of existing régimes. African countries systems actually seem to malfunction.

Mandela’s dream of having an Africa which is at peace with itself has never been realized. Hiding under the prism of national interests, African countries have engaged in intermittent interstate warfare and protracted domestic conflicts. African nations have never thought to use litigation or out of court settlement of dispute to end their woes. The opposition parties for example have led citizens to demonstrations that have culminated into destruction of political order and loss of lives instead of petitioning their cases before courts. Interestingly, states do not have confidence in their own courts such as the African Courts of Justice. They have disregarded their own courts and have preferred the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Instead of changing the constitution to meet the peoples’ needs, politicians have drafted constitutions that actually suit their own narrow self-interests with majority of African leaders arm twisting the constitutions to make them life time leaders. Our continental leaders do not actually seem to care. They have justified their illegitimate regimes through force and intimidation. It is a continent of many odds.

African electorates are to be blamed: We have opted for underperformers at the expense of performers. Our level of being inquisitive and holding leaders accountable is indeed wanting. We actually need to keep the spirit of our liberators burning. Their desire for an all-inclusive continent characterized by all the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit should indeed be put in practice.

Kaudo Philip Misori is a student of political science, a writer to several platforms on political issues and a political commentator currently for Equator FM.

For comments and enquiries: philipmisori@gmail.com