George Santayana is famously quoted for saying that ‘those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. These words hold a lot of truth if the events in several Northern Africa States are anything to go by.
Africa is slowly undergoing a wave of second liberation particularly from the vice-like grip that the West has had over it. From the west to the central parts of the continent, a lot of states have witnessed a wave of government military takeovers.
The underlying reason, at least on paper, is bad governance. And yet for a continent considered one of the wealthiest in the world, it is often seen as one of the poorest.
In fact, this fact is so true that recently in the small town of Rongo in Nyanza, residents were collecting rock deposits of actual gold. Yes! Thats right, it is right on our feet.
Yet the dream of a free and economically sustainable continent has never been further from attainment than it is today.
And this is the ugly reality of millions of people from across the continent consisting of 53 nations. It is an interesting paradox if you visualize that a continent rich with every valuable item imaginable to mankind equally has its poorest and uneducated of the planet.
It is quite common to hear phrases like living on less than a dollar a day in Africa. And there is no place where this expression is truer than in Kenya, a country touted as the economic and political powerhouse of East and Central Africa.
Where the rich and the poor live side by side in complete symbiosis and where the ethnic affiliation of an individual could be the difference between their economic prosperity or their ultimate doom altogether.
Kenya as a case study
Recently the residents of Nyeri County near the Sagana State Lodge were treated to what I can only assume was a sumptuous meal of rice and beef with the signature potato to cap it off.
In a country teaming with runaway costs in basic consumer goods, runaway insecurity, blatant corruption among a host of other failures, the biggest discussion isn’t about how to lower or correct this, but rather about grandstanding and a complete disregard to millions of suffering citizens.
Suffice to say if we treat each other like this, no wonder colonialists called us savages. And boy were they accurate in their description.
The West has always been quick to label certain African leaders who it considers ‘untamable’ as dictators simply because they have seen past their hegemony while replete of any suitable alternatives since for them it is simply about robbing the continent blind of its resources while waving wads of cash which although large, never get to its intended target, the people.
And when faced with any objection, they threaten the country with economic sanctions, the International Criminal Court (ICC) and a cut-off of vital financial aid since to them the concept of divergent thinking is not tolerable.
Perhaps it’s time to really rethink concepts such as democracy and elections by way of universal suffrage. Perhaps it’s time to unshackle ourselves from the hegemonic school of thought ingrained in us that good leadership can only come from choice.
If the leadership choices of a lot of these nations currently in one form of uprising or another was proper, then there would be no such upheavals, would there? It is time to embrace a new form of thinking uniquely qualified as African because if we don’t then we are doomed just like those who do not learn from history itself.
The world is changing fast and there is a new scramble and partition for our continent by both the Western and Eastern powers.
There has been for the longest time an economic war and it is hurting the development of African nations since nobody is really interested in our well-being, its simply theirs. Africa must rise and take charge of its destiny.
The writer, Francis Mwaura Muroki is an Advocate and Counselling Psychologist.