Africa, the black continent, poets have recited, writers written and musician sung about it. Is black skin a curse? But then why should it be, yet black skins outside our continent have continued to flourish, our son Obama from the lake is doing more than well, save for his neglect of his roots. Annan has become the global peace maker, Mandela is celebrated world over.
Then why do our kids die every day in Somalia, in Northern Kenya, in the whole of Africa. Why do we have militias in every corner of our continent, Janjaweed in sudan, Land defense force in Kenya, LRA in Uganda, the nomads in Mali, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Alshabab in Somalia, and many others across our continent. Illegal groups we call them, but then why do they sprout up, is it because of dissatisfaction from their governments, their ‘democratically’ elected governments?
These questions can be answered with a little reevaluation of what a people we are, a little inner reflection, a comparison with other societies all over the world. With every rising sun, cries of marginalization echo with it across Kenya, from the northern part of our country all the way to the coast, unequal resource sharing and miss representation are the words that bounce back from our borders.
I can go on all day, but then you know the things that ail Africa despite it being one of the richest continents in the world. We are rich in oil and most precious stones. The continent is blessed with best weather patterns in the world fit for food production. Yet we still beg, fight and kill each other, rape our women, cut off hands of our neighbors like it was some kind of sport.
All those things are symptoms of but one thing; Selfishness. Africans are a selfish lot, hey, hey, relax don’t frown and starting tossing curses at me, give me a second. When elections are held in our continent, people vote based on ethnicity, some religion (like Muslim brotherhood in Egypt) and even others color. Why? Are we so ignorant that we still think that some humans, our relatives and tribes men are better than others in this age and era of civilization? No, we are not that stupid, we are far too clever for anyone to insult as with such an accusation, we are simply selfish.
When Mugabe of Zimbabwe decided that the whites did not deserve to live in Africa and had to go, from what point was he reasoning, he wanted to show whites how superior the black man is, and he did sent them away, did that solve the problem? No, he still had an enemy within, Morgan Changirai , he beat him up and his supporters as kids and women suffered, simply because he is of a different grouping and has no right to become president ever.
Ujamaa did not work so well in Tanzania, but still my respects lie with Mwalimu Nyerere. His dream for an equal society that shares what there is has ever made me remember him. I’m not saying socialism is the way to go but socialist countries are not doing that bad either. China is one of the biggest emerging economies with a population as big as 1.2 billion people to feed.
In Africa, the statement, “It’s our time to eat” echoes in every corner of Africa. Our job is always waiting for our turn to eat, in the upcoming Kenyan elections, we the Luyha want Mudavadi to be president so that we can eat too, and the Kikuyu have been eating for long! The Luos also line up behind Raila, Kambas behind Kalonzo and etc, you know the pattern. What do we eat? State resources, resources to alleviate poverty, develop marginalized areas, treat our people, educate and create jobs for the youth!
After the eating is done, we send a delegation to the west for food aid, for a road grant, to finance our budgets. Are we born beggars? No, I don’t think and will never believe so, we are selfish and that makes us beggars. In the quest for our turn to eat and if we can’t get in power through democratic ways, we take up arms and seek to over through the governments. But the governments will do everything to crush such groups, even if it means annihilating a whole community, like what Bashir tried in Darfur. Who should we blame, the gods, the colonizers of Africa, as some African leaders have made it a song. The truth is that society has abandoned its duties and that’s where the blame lies squarely. Governments and rebels are all alike. And what are they composed of, if not products of the society. Neither the governments nor the rebel groups have ever had good intentions for the entire populations.
The society should get rid of the idea of “a different people, not our people” mentality from the minds of toddlers. There should never be us and them or else Africa shall remain a begging continent. Even the tribal chiefs we elect, never remember the term our people once they are in power but only remember themselves, in the ignorance of our people, they still will endure the biting poverty though “their” person is in power and they never shall complain, but will be ready to take up arms if someone tried to topple their man, they will gladly do so on empty stomachs.
Selfishness has been a thorn pricking our black skin for centuries. The only solution to African problems is a change of mind to our people, we can borrow all we can, topple and install different governments, indict African leaders at International courts, have grand coalition governments like Kenya and Zimbabwe but all will be an exercise in futility unless we learn to treat every person as he is, and not the color of his skin, the language he speaks, the region he comes from or the religion he subscribes to.
My mother told me never to marry from a certain community in Kenya, should I blame her for pitching me against that community? No, she was a beautiful ignorant lady, she did not receive much education and all her life she spent only in one district. But her generation is dying out, and I’m of a different mind all together, I hope you are too, unless you want to kill our wonderful country and continent as a whole. Rise above the selfishness that has reigned in our minds for centuries and ravaged our continent with poverty and wars. There is no enemy across the street stealing our bread; it’s our minds stealing every opportunity under our feet.