Thursday, September 17, 2009
Imagine that the first foreign contacts with Afrika were gradual, peaceful and respectful. Afrika would now have a bigger population. The social fabric would have evolved rather than disrupted. Foreign religions would have blended with Afrikan’s, providing more meaning. Instead, the contacts were violent and traumatic, stripping her of her dignity, with repercussions that reverberate to this day.
In Afrika today, there is a small percentage of the filthy rich, few of whom have achieved wealth by dint of skills in industry and commerce. Many have looted the coffers of the state, leaving poor infrastructures and poor service deliveries for the rest of the taxpaying population.
What kind of people are these looters? They are the people who went to missionary or other related schools. Many of them profess to be Christians. Some who are serious about Christianity have but a perfunctory knowledge beyond claiming to be “saved.” Generally then Christianity is not a way of living but a social occasion on Sunday. A few of the “educated” class have read western classics, and may be aware of the genesis of how and why they think the way they do. Many, however, excelled in the utilitarian school subjects in order to earn a living in the new Afrika. This latter lot may not be cognizant of from whence their thought process originates.
All this is operating in a milieu in which traditional cultural wisdom no longer has leadership. The young person now looks to Europe and America as the source of what is good.. Armed only with the natural ego-centric self, the desires of acquisition and the destruction of those perceived to stand in the way becomes the mode of operation. There in lies what ails Afrika. But it should not be that way.
If traditional African wisdom, through traditional leadership, were revived and practiced it could provide the umbilical cord to extend to the new way. We have many such models in Afrika—for examples Ghana and South Africa—and other parts of the world, such as Japan.
Now, let us take the case of Uganda in which Mr. Museveni is reputed to have fought for the revival of traditional tribal leadership. It is evident that his motivations were only self-serving, to gain favors originally from mainly the Baganda population. Now the exercise has been extended to others for strategic political expediency. The next person who comes to power (the sooner, the better) should take the case of traditional tribal leadership as a matter of top priority. Genuine and honest debates should be devoid of political horse-trading. Let us put this dog to rest and attend to other business of living.