The Russia-Africa Summit called by President Putin this last week of October 2019 has shown interesting images of some African leaders, including Ghana’s “Beyond-Aid” President Akufo Addo, sleeping.
Under normal circumstances this should not be a big deal! However history shows that the white man - which includes all non-Africans- has successfully signed contracts that always seem to have put themselves in extreme competitive advantage against Africans. This has been going on for centuries. Even the North Africans took advantage of Sub-Saharan Africans for hundreds of years. Today Arab nations are maltreating African females as domestic servants smuggled from Sub-Saharan African nations, some of them minors.
Sleeping on the job today by African leaders when they encounter other nations leaders, therefore becomes important and worth talking about.
The questions being asked by most well educated and analytical Africans now are:
- What has Africa really gained from all these summits, meetings and alignments with Europe, America, Russia and China, and the rest of the modern world in the post-independence era?
- After 400 years of slavery and colonialism, what more lessons do these Africans need to learn to wake up and develop their resources to lift up their own people and societies as equals to Russians, Chinese, Americans or Europeans?
- Do these Outside nations really care for an equal trade and playing field relationship or simply want to continue to exploit Africans for our minerals, leave us with the toxic waste and dump their manufactured goods on us?
Lastly, are all these because they think our leaders are corrupt, greedy and selfish, and sebe sebe (excuse me to say) as stupid as Prof. Ayittey used to say?
Some schools of thought have suggested that Africa deserves what we get simply because we are not as smart and have a 30% lower IQ than the Asian or European. Some have even used the Bible to argue that the world is a tough place created by the same God, and that God gave others superior intelligence to justify taking as much as they can of any resources on any part of the earth using whatever weapons they can create. As such slavery and later Colonial rule and conquest of nations were justified!
The “smart and strong survives” explanation will not hold today, since these modern African leaders were all educated in the finest Universities in Europe or America and no such excuses will hold on either side if we are honest with ourselves.
The CHALLENGE TODAY:
The challenge today in the post independence Africa, I think, is to find some legal ways to throw out crooks and greedy bums out of office without violence and military coups, wars and mass murders like happened in Liberia, Ethiopia and Rwanda, or using what we call in Ghana patapaa.
Don’t we have the same laws and ethics in Africa that guide behavior in Europe and Asia and the Americas, and can be brought up before parliaments to shame these men so they wake up or be censored?
No! It is tough! In Ghana for example, the Parliament that is supposed to be Independent of the Judiciary and the Executive, is rather controlled by the President by allowing him to recommend or select the Speaker!
The Comment made by one writer on Twitter page #Russia-Africa Summit is correct. It is not just a matter of personal sleepiness that matters for us to laugh at. It is the lack of focus and understanding, perhaps after lunch where alcohol is served to some of these official who drink, that may lead them to sign something they have not even read.
I am sure some of you read the report that on our gold mining arrangements Ghana gets 1.7% while the multinationals get 98.3%! How more sebe sebe stupid can a people allow themselves to be!!! Same situations occur in the oil industries where Ghana and these African nations cannot seem to simply hire foreign expertise if needed, and drill their own oil or other resources and process and sell! Poor leadership has led to the closing down of a major capital investment- the Tema Oil Refinery.
The ball is in the hands of the Youth graduating from all those Universities today with parents having invested so much money! In America they are supposed to find their own places to live and start their lives! In Ghana are they able to find jobs? No! The lesson is that Nobody in Africa is going to get good-paying jobs so far as your leaders sell you short and sleep on the job! They don’t even read contracts well and think strategically how to survive under fair and free trade with others!
In Ghana our challenge also includes Government unable to take good data and lying with the Statistics department reporting 3.7% unemployment rates. When similar rates are reported in the United States it is called “full employment”. So how can Ghana compare our situation with America while we know more than half of these College graduates can’t find jobs! Some young men even try all means to leave Ghana to find greener pastures. While many African boys risk to cross the Sahara and the ocean to Europe, some young women are being enticed by crooked Agents to domestic jobs in the Arab countries only for these women to be abused and used as sex slaves! There are videos on social media where some of them are pleading to the Embassies for help but one doubts if their cries are heard. What a shame!
For those left in Ghana, many young men have become lying and deceptive con artists, including some who have studied computer coding and pretending to be able to do any assigned Software App you assign them. They will take upfront money and never complete the task!
What a waste!
AND WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN TO US?
We all as humans have our sense of self decency and respect. African politics has had a very poor start after Colonialism. The bullying and dictatorship by a few who grabbed power has led to easy public theft by these inept and sleeping-on-the-job African leaders. Strangely and logically, they occur due to our inability to hold Politicians accountable.
In all cultures we can have ineffective leaders. However where traditions and cultures place leaders on pedestals and refuse to hold them to account and hold their shirt collars, dictatorships survive best. Some forget that these elected men are the same men we used to wrestle to the ground if need be at Primary and Middle schools when growing up!
Grown men and women get chained by ancient customs and culture. We are in a cave of culture as the great philosopher Plato wrote.
What happened to rising stars like Ghana? After 50 years, in Ghana, politicians can pay delegates and voters and win an election and the Electoral Commission is so inept it does not even demand audited Financial Accounts of these candidates!
Once crooked politicians win, everybody has to kowtow and call them Honorables! And they go to work thinking of their own benefits and allowances some estimated 46,000 to 140,000 per month with vehicles costing the taxpayer some $100,000! Many don’t even show up regularly to Parliament. Ghanaian politicians don’t have working phones to interact with constituents! The democracy has been a failure!
In Ghana in the 1960s to 1980s, in the youthful days of some of us, we learned to be active at the University since we could see the society ahead better and it was not good!
Life is tough today. In Ghana everybody has rich uncles in the city with spare bedrooms- but many men are finding it hard to marry a woman today. Resorting to con games or Kalabule can also send them to prison. As such many are joining the political parties, paid to spread propaganda or become serial callers on radio stations so they can put food on the table. Others force their way to become constituency delegates, while the real strong ones negotiate their way to local party leadership roles and demand pickup trucks to work for the parties!
The good days of foreign education as an end in itself with jobs and rewards seem overrated. Relationships must be developed with Europeans, Chinese, Russians or Americans on mutually gainful and equal basis and not in any master-servant or beggar mindset. Today’s youth have a task ahead that demands strong use of the mind to research and negotiate to save their countries in Africa. Going overseas to work is not the final solution! No!
Yes! Sleeping on the job at a conference may seem serious on the outside. But in reality what counts most is our strategic mindset and preparation to these conferences to seek the interests of our people! Africans need education but more practical experience and exposure to survival strategies! I elaborate on some of these in my latest book Life is War (Danso, K.A., 2015). There is nothing to gain by mature intelligent humans calling themselves Socialists or Capitalists. No! Lets learn from all and implement what works for us.
Our people need to learn how to produce most of what they consume and use and create jobs for their people, using natural resources as a leverage. People need entrepreneurial capital support, mortgage capital, as well as skills training to make life worthwhile. Whoever can be partners to Ghana and African nations should be embraced. But beware of the past, and beware of the corrupt officials who mishandle moneys as foreign aid. Nobody needs to sell their souls in society!
God bless our motherland Ghana and God bless Africa!
From Livermore, California.
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso, Oct.30, 2019
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