Post-independent African leaders lack vision

African leaders love blaming everything on the hidden hand of the West for their failures. This is not to exonerate the west on how it has historically manipulated developing countries, but highlighting that our African leaders have played the victim card far beyond its shelf life. But in the process, they submit themselves to Western manipulation.

Develop me: Tapiwa Gomo

It is not uncommon for an African leader to blame the lack of development of their countries on Western countries. Everything about their failure is blamed on someone or something foreign. That they have lacked foresight is never part of their confession narrative. It is never their fault.

History so far tells us that our post-independence leaders are the least productive and developmental compared to pre- and colonial eras. The pre-colonial leadership produced the Great Zimbabwe and other historical monuments scattered across the continent. They defined what Africa was before its encounter with the outside world. There was some form of long-term planning and implementation of those plans. There was a desire to be better and to improve the lives of their people.

Today’s crop of leaders has produced nothing and instead have become purveyors of Western interests by linking their policies to foreign investment and seeking political endorsement from the West. We all know that things went bad when our own leadership in Zimbabwe felt divorced by the British government in 2000s.

Everything had to be destroyed because of that divorce. It was destruction that did not have a replacement plan on moving forward. That is why we are stagnant and are where we are today.

Once elected into office, the current crop of leaders works towards earning respect from the West than the people who voted them into office. They manufacture excuses for their failures while perpetuating the colonialist imperial agenda.

They are happy keeping Western countries happy than their own people who vote them into office. They are also the worst in defending their national interests and good at lining their pockets with national resources and protecting personal interests.

When one looks at the African continent today, only a few cities, towns and roads have been built after independence with the rest of what see being inheritance from the colonialists.

The infrastructure that we see today in most countries was built before independence. In a country like Zimbabwe, the most notable change, was the change of names for streets and roads. If the late former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith was to rise today, his only cause of shock would be how dilapidated the structures his people built have become.

The water system, power generation, roads, the telecommunication infrastructure and the towns and cities were created by his people. The Zimbabwe as we know it today is the master plan of the colonialists. The only difference is that the master plan has been heavily maimed by neglect by our current leaders.


Reading the history of the

Anglo-Boer War, I could not believe how the Boers worked hard to establish what South Africa is today. It took more than love for what they called home, but intense determination to put a country on a long term development path. The word planning was not just for politicking, but represented a real long-term vision for the future.

Upon invasion by the British, the Boers put up a good fight — a fight whose determination was inspired by nothing but the love and defence of their territory. They fought to defend what they had started, their future plans and their source of nationhood. Even though the British defeated them, the fight and the love for their what they called their country did not stop.

The South Africa we see today is their master plan. The roads, infrastructure and the rest of the system is what the Boers put in place centuries ago. This explains why most of the cities and towns have retained the Afrikaner names for their roads, buildings and rivers. Even the British upon winning the Anglo-Boer War in 1900s, realised and respected how much effort had been put into setting up the systems and getting a country on its rails.

None of that was achieve without adversity but they did not use that as an excuse for not developing. To their credit, the British after winning the 1900s war, did not discard, erase or trash the already established plans by the Boers; instead they continued supporting their implementation which has gotten South Africa where it is today.

I don’t know that if we ask the current African National Congress government for a long-term plan with a vision longer than five years, they can produce one.

Post-independent African politicians have demonstrated their lack of vision and have invested much of their effort on politics and winning the next election. Their planning is limited to five-year economic policies and there is limited or nothing on the long-term vision of their countries.

And for that reason, most African countries have remained stagnant only making dashboard economic growth which does not translate into development.

Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa

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24 Comments

  1. @Tapiwa Gomo

    “It is not uncommon for an African leader to blame the lack of development of their countries on Western countries. Everything about their failure is blamed on someone or something foreign. That they have lacked foresight is never part of their confession narrative. It is never their fault,” you said.

    I could not agree with you more.

    To fast forward this problem of a leadership that lacks vision and are always looking to blame others for their own incompetence, look at Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC friends. The people of Zimbabwe have risked life and limb to elect them into office on the ticket they will implement the democratic reforms necessary to end the Mugabe-Zanu PF dictatorship. They have failed to get even one single reform implemented in their 17 years in politics, five of which they were in government.

    MDC leaders and their naïve supporters have been blaming SADC for the GNU’s failure to get even one reform implemented. In fact, it was SADC leaders tried to remind Tsvangirai and company to implement the reforms but were ignored.

    SADC leaders also warned MDC not to contest the 2013 elections with no reforms but, again, their wise advice fell on deaf ears. Right now MDC leaders are dragging the nation into next year’s election although not even one reform has been implemented. Last week MDC was calling for SADC to make sure the elections are free and fair.

    “We would like to call upon SADC to do whatever is within its power to ensure that next year’s elections in Zimbabwe be held in a free and fair environment that will guarantee a credible outcome,” said Obert Gutu, MDC-T spokesman.

    With no reforms in place, Zanu PF will rig the elections; guaranteed. No doubt MDC would be blaming SADC for not doing enough to stop Zanu PF rigging the vote. How typical!

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