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Open letter to African rulers

Opinion & Analysis
MNANGAGWA

DEAR African rulers,

I recently wrote a letter to President Joe Biden. I’m waiting for his response. As I do so, allow me to touch base with you.

Every year, your masters new and old treat you to pageant and hoo-has full of empty promises and photo-ops in their capitals.

We see you in Beijing, Bombay, Tokyo, Washington even Istanbul dressing yourselves down.

You are always treated or rather maltreated like class eavesdropper by the head teachers.

I’ve a questions for you: “Have you ever sat aside and see how mortifying and exploiting such dress downs and kowtows are? Why don’t we see Asian or even South American leaders being displayed and harangued like acolytes?

What lesson do you get from such obloquies that have never emancipated your countries even yourselves economically? Do you need to be lectured about your amour-propre [self-love] not to mention your countries that you seem to vend year-in-year out?”

I recently watched with consternation as you were paraded in Washington where your head teacher, the US President had not time to meet with you severally, lecturing you about the “importance” of Africa.

Before long, the President of Ukraine, a country equivalent to 1/50 of Africa, a young man of the age of your children, being accorded a very resound reception even when some of you were still in the city for browsing while your spouses were shopping for stuffs and non-governmental organisations.

Ukraine’s President was entertained in the White House on top of addressing United States House of Representatives.

Don’t tell me that it is because of the war.

Doesn’t Africa have wars in the Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, and other places? Why didn’t you ask for the permission to address the congress?

Another thing that shows you how colonial power trifles with you is the money the US has promised on those past two occasions.

Whereas you’re promised US$55 billion equivalent to US$1 billion each if you divide evenly — Ukraine, apart from having already received over US$68 billion (CSIS, December 18, 2022) from the US, was promised US$45 billion (CNBC, December 24, 2022), which totals over US$100 billion approximately twice as much in one year.

Ask yourselves — how long will it take for you to get that US$55 billion, which wasn’t specified if it were aid or investment or whatever? Three years. (Reuters, December 12, 2022).

Seeing that, I asked myself if you really respect yourselves.

How did you feel? Think about it a wee bit even without saying anything.

From such painful realisation, I’m, therefore, here to tell you point blank.

What you’re doing is counterproductive for Africa, a shame, and a sellout.

If you want to be either taken seriously or respected, you must do so for yourselves and your citizens first.

Why have you failed and refused to learn from your colonial past that you seem to be at home with.

Your deplorable and self-degrading behaviour is repellent not only for your countries but also for every black person including those the diaspora.

Naturally, business dictates that he or she who needs anything from the market, or the sources must go for it.

For you, it is sadly the opposite. All countries that need and depend on your vast resources of value summon you and tell you what they want and how to get it.

In other words, they set the terms instead you doing it or negotiating the deals.

From such a blind and tapered rationale, Africa’s always received a raw deal.

When this happens, you start complaining that Africa is treated unfairly.

Who causes that if not you? How can you avoid that if you too don’t treat yourself decently and fairly?

From my experience, even if you go to those capitals begging and pleading, surely, you’ll never make any headway.

Whatever you do isn’t up to snuff. Do you know that the freebees in the name of aid you receive are but a fraction of what your corruption, negligence and selfishness cause?

What you’ve been and are doing is psychotic, namely, practicising a repetitive stunt and expecting different results. Therefore, kindly, please, stop this hang-up.

Your resources — if wisely managed and used — are likely to make Africa richer than those you pointlessly depend on for handouts. Imagine.

How Africa maintained its self-worth and civilisation for millions of years before being colonised and thereby its civilisation felled and made a laughing stock that it currently is.

In a nutshell, let me be above-board to you and myself. Africa’s problems are the lack of sane management, dignified leadership, use of its resources and use of just common sense among others.

Here’s where Africa’s poverty emanates and lies.

That’s why I refer to you as rulers but not leaders. You rule instead of leading.

If you morphe yourselves into leaders, you’ll practically fight corruption, extravagance, laziness and above all, abhor dependence while your countries sit on awe-inspiring resources of value that the entire world needs and can’t do without.

Start becoming leaders.

Doing, so, will help you to value yourselves, your people and serve them into instead of turning them your servants for your narrow interests.

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