Africa’s Most Singular Monster – A Passionate Letter To His Excellency, The President
I would imagine that both your good self and my readers may be wondering why the long interval between my last edition and this end-of-year edition. And while I would readily apologize for this, especially to my expectant and passionate readers, may I remind you that it is my custom to intermittently break and reflect over the impact and response of Your Excellency to these thought provoking and change triggering pieces – after which I would continue with our exchanges regardless. In which case, I would objectively continue to awaken your conscience towards the betterment of the nation, peoples and society you have vouched to drive towards strategic development and general prosperity, amid very glaring gross neglect and reckless abandon of the plights and aspirations of the masses and nation. It is also my aim to raise the awareness of our often naive, timid, subjugated or “zombiish” peoples, to decisively take constructive and forceful democratic actions that would change their personal and national destiny towards their expected outcomes. It is in this light that I recommence this piece.
This is against the painful fact that regardless of the enormous mineral and natural resources that have been providentially lavished in most countries across the continent, a whole lot of your good selves and a host of our unscrupulous public servants have artificially subjected your various peoples to abject avoidable poverty and deprivation, due to your heartless greed, callousness and insensitivity towards the unabated suffering of the citizens and residents of your various countries.
For instance, many sub-Saharan nations like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Republics of Niger and Benin, Cameroon, Guinea, Nigeria, etc. that are so naturally endowed and enriched by the creator are ironically among the poorest countries in the world. And this is not mostly because of the general global economic downturn or recession, but due to rampant and heartless corruption, with impunity. That is, because of the massive stealing and frenzied looting of the state coffers, resources and revenues by most of our national leaders, so-called public servants and their cronies – in league with some of their national and international private sector actors and contrivers.
Sadly, some of these wanton stealing of our national funds are “lawfully” done by our legislative and executive members and workers in deliberate and selfish agreement that I refer to as “legitimate corruption.” By this I mean, our extremely powerful presidents and legislators propose and allocate huge and exorbitant funds to the presidency, heads of the legislature and autonomous agencies that they can clandestinely siphon into their personal coffers and assets, in and out of their respective countries; while allocating pittances to community and national development agendas, public services and amenities. I see this as greedy legislators and executive members “sinisterly paying themselves off with the peoples’ and nations’ revenues,” while recklessly abandoning the greater good and development of their peoples and nations. In fact, arguably, I would like to state that 60% – 70% of our respective national budgets relatively benefit mostly our national leaders; instead of deliberately crafting them to fight poverty, uplift the lives and livelihoods of the deprived masses and promote general strategic infrastructural, mechanized agricultural and other national developmental interventions that would be sustainable – as well as create an attractive and conducive environment for rapid private sector investment that would drive economic empowerment and boom, as a priority. This is what I refer to as “Africa’s obnoxious patronage mentality and system of governance.”
This governance system did not however start in this century, but rather dates back to “pre-Atlantic Slave Trade and colonial eras. I mean, it existed in Africa before the enslavement of Africans in Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean islands, for about two to three hundred years; and adjoined by colonial domination for another two hundred years). So, as much as I fully support, elevate and participate in the ongoing agitation of the reparation narrative of Africa, by our former European and American slave and colonial masters, for the despicable inhumane treatments meted out on us, gross deprivation and retrogression of our then emerging progressive nations, empires and continent for about 500 years, I would like to put forward that we revisit our past, without the advent of the slave trade and colonialism in Africa. This would help us identify our own inherent flaws that made our self-centered leaders easily accede to those grotesque menaces of the West, which have certainly inflicted almost irreparable losses on Africa and Africans; and which could have been avoided by our leaders, if they had been considerate and selfless servant leaders – instead of lords or demigods. Otherwise, whatever reparation interventions and other funds we would accrue and raise locally and internationally would end up mostly enriching our “current so-called democratic leaders and top public servants” – as an inherent continuation of this loathed patronage system. I will be dealing with these issues in my future editions.
In this patronage system, the various dynasties/ruling houses, warriors and other rulers operated as if they “owned” the natural resources, as well as the downtrodden masses and war captives. That was why they exploited and used them according to their whims and caprices or as they pleased. As such, even the best of them, like Mansa Musa of the Mail Empire, were always “richer than their countries.” It was also a patriarchal system that relegated the rights and dignity of women to the back and made them appear as “properties” of their husbands, to be used according to the sole pleasure of the latter. In resume, it was an extremely exploitative and unequal system of ‘Slavery in Africa’ that effectively operated even before the “Atlantic Slave Trade.” My question therefore is, has this mentality and system of governance changed in the 21st century? In my view, no!
What I think has now happened in this 21st century is the pathetic “legitimization of that patronage system in our ‘bogus democratic systems” that still treat men and our so-called public servants as though they were super-human, coming from a glorified planet and as such duly deserving the opulent and extremely privileged lifestyles and livelihoods; albeit with very insensitive and callous way of life that should not be questioned by majority of the suffering, deprived and artificially impoverished masses of our diverse societies and nations.
I would like to end this piece by acknowledging that I do recognize that the global economic recession, the Ebola epidemic, COVID-19 pandemic and other regional/global health, climate change and other emergencies have certainly had grave impacts on Africa, as the global community. I also appreciate realistic and befitting salaries and budgetary allocations to our national leaders and public servants that would enable them serve our peoples and nations effectively and efficiently, with the barest minimum privileges, given our very crunched and strenuous economies. But, I would still insist that Africa’s erratic and seemingly intractable woes are as a result of “rampant unchecked corruption, characterized by injustices, manipulations, ‘scapegoatism’ and a general ‘Stockholm syndrome;’ embedded in an inherent and intrinsic patronage system of governance.” I have and will continue to write on this in my regular column fully captioned, A PASSIONATE LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT (began in 2012) – some of which could be found on the worldwide web, GOOGLE. And until our leaders especially, and the rest of us engage in deep retrospection and soul-searching reality, in order to uproot this age-old menace from its tap root, we may have inadvertently keep wallowing in this vicious cycle of abject, heartrending and avoidable artificial poverty and slow-pace (tortoise) development – remaining as perpetual “rich beggars.” What an aberration!!
May the good and merciful Lord intervene and lead us towards thorough repentance from treating our African masses heartlessly and embolden the masses to decisively and constructively take our destinies into our own hands and reshape our future – as Rwanda, Seychelles, Mauritius, Botswana, Tanzania, etc.
Apostle Dr. Abraham J. Williams (Int’l Rights Expert/Advocate)
- Guinean Organization for Human Rights (OGDH)
- International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
- Inter-African Union for Human Rights (UIDH)
- Amnesty International