Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Diagnostics and Prescription for Africa’s Recovery.

While we may blame colonialism for the current predicament of the Africans to a lesser extent, we have the Africans to hold accountable for the continuity. Truly, colonialism and slavery played a larger part because of the exploitation of human and natural resources but also the education and orientation of the people. However, the natural resources never depleted and though we lacked behind for a season in human resources the growth rate would have permitted us to catch up if we had the will. Japan and West Germany were two economies that were brought down due to man-made disasters. Yet the little help that they were given was regarded a window of opportunities for their future rise and domination. Why can Africa despite all the aids, grants and other subsidiaries handed to them not do same?

The Avaricious, somatic and aberrational polity of governance is a propeller on its own. Look at how Africans tear themselves in wars. Which colonial master is behind them with a whip to do that? The political philosophy that governs Africa is rightly summed up in Achidi Achu’s phrase “you scratch my back I scratch your own”. That is where the devil lies. Leadership is often regarded as a buffer milky cow (cow with no owner) whose milk is shared amongst it leading nganakors.

Most Africans who went abroad under government scholarships did not return back to the country or when they returned did not find it safe to stay. They deprived the country of their expertise for which it had invested. The intellectual who filed for asylum because he/she was haunted by the government turned back to join the same government party after obtaining foreign citizenship. So the tendency of exploiting that window of opportunity is not only deficient with those at home but even those abroad. We should at least give credit to some African countries like Ghana, Egypt and Libya which have tried to divert from this psychological slavery and have implemented some benevolent reforms to the bitter taste of the West. Africa must enter into a reformatory school if it wants to progress!

Mobuto, Obianguema, Bongo, Bokassa, Taylor, Abacha, all knew too well that embezzlement and capital flights were viruses that destroy whole generations. Why do they still do it? Why do African presidents always want to die in power? There were and perhaps still are people who are in the US teaching and still collecting salaries from the government in Cameroon. Greed! That is what is still killing Africa and not colonialism and slavery.

The problem is not only with the leaders but also the masses. What excuse would you give for anyone who is living in the US, working in the US and still collecting a monthly paycheck in Africa (Cameroon) for years? Which slave master or colonial power taught him/her that? And why are you not doing it though your parents and mine suffered from slavery and colonialism. If we are afraid to invest at home because the investments will not be well managed then we should think of erecting structures. How many of those African intellectuals living abroad have built houses at home despite all the mansions they have abroad. Those living abroad are always the first to say the leaders at home are the cause. No doubt they are the primary cause but the masses and we the émigrés have also contributed to the backwardness of the continent

My friend, our problem is just a lack of morals. Don’t lose sight that the West is what it is today because of Christianity. Morals may be dwindling in the west but Christianity was the foundation that cornerstoned their virtues into the enthusiasm and knack to do the right thing. I remember in Cameroon sometime it was either BIRD or IBRD that wanted to give us aid and the Minster said they have to first give him a tip (tchoko)) before he takes the money. What has that got to do with slavery and colonialism. If we still hold the argument that we were brainwashed that means we never learned anything. More so, since the time we took our educational system into our hands why have we not changed it?

People always object to the fact that Christianity would contribute positively in Africa. To do that then we selectively decided to root out the contributions of the monk. Due to the Benedictine Rule people became so religious, intellectual and entrepreneuring. This influenced the neighboring barbaric tribes who became civilized. The monk took time in preserving the writings of great scholars and church fathers. They also taught the people how to do manual work either in farming, art or handicraft. Those that went to the New World and those who remained in Europe had that principle in them.

However, when they grew rich they became grossly immoral. During the reformation in protestant countries they soon disappeared, and are dying out in catholic countries. Each time the people began going astray there was reawakening through revivals. Those who are familiar with American and English history will tell you the impact of people like Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley John Knoxx and the rest. If those African leaders had just a miniature fear of God in them then we will not be talking of that amount of embezzlement and capital flight. As if not enough, great discoveries were done by Christians the world over. From 1571-1916, the works of these guys dominated the world of science. From Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal Robert Boyles Nicolaus Steno, Isaac Newton, Michael faraday, Charles Babbage, Luis Agassiz James Young Simpson,. Gregor Mendel, Louis Pasteur, William Thomson, Joseph Lister, James Clerk Maxwell to William Ramsay just to name these few, we see science bring life to the community.

In addition one must be aware of the dominant economies of the US, Great Britain, Germany, Japan (thanks to US occupation) and in short Europe which again is thanks to Christianity. The most amusing thing is for humanists to claim that man is a moral being. The implication of that statement is that man has morals in him that he needs to exploit. Yet the question would be “do some Africans leaders show that man is a moral being’. Those civilizations (especially the west) that have shown that man is an amoral being are the ones extending the beggars crumbs to us.

Again remember that religion was not invented but the argument here is not the origins of religion that would be chasing rabbits. The micro theme would be the contribution of Christianity to the West in particular and humankind as a whole. Make no mistake; I am conscious of its havocs. Yet like I always ask “would you blame a doctor if his patient refused taking his medication or following the prescription”.

Nevertheless, let us go back to our problem who is to blame for the chaos in Africa was the question in summation. I say the larger blame goes to the Africans and the smaller blame to slavery and colonization.

You many not be the last (since wonders shall never end) to peter out the contributions of Christian morality to the growth of the West as machinations of capitalism. One should enquire when capitalism as a form of economy started. I am not talking of the existence of the said philosophy. If you accuse a tortoise of fighting with a monkey on top of a tree, you must judge your own conscience. A man cannot be dissected from his religion considering that it is the propeller to the psyche that forms his being and leads him into inventions.

To avoid digression I will limit the contribution of religion in the world because I don't like chasing rabbits. Happy is the hunter who goes for a deer but shoots an elephant but no hunter will be happy to go for a hare but shoots a squirrel.
Bringing in religion as one of the solutions to the development of Africa people quickly challenge me if I know the history of my ancestors. As for the history of my ancestors, I will tell you that; it is only the eagle that can give the account of the whispering of the cloud. Some people should not feel like they are the only PanAfrican because they hate Christianity. One should not be in a hurry to untie a bundle that he or she cannot retie. It amazes why the African intellectual can never debate without ad hominems. To those I always remind them that the darkening of the sky never scares a tree that was once struck by lightening.

A Chinese proverb says “when the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways, but when the heart is unwilling it will still find a thousand ways”. If the Africans are willing to improve their welfare they will find a thousand ways because they are not they still find a thousand ways.

I once read a beautiful diagnosis and treatment plan for this African problem from Dr Louis Mbua when he unfolded on the concept of good and evil. Permit me elucidate more. Every human being is a moral being. That is, they are capable of doing good and recognizing that what they are doing is bad. They also have the power to change the terminus of their spirits by reorientating their actions; be it inherited or traditionally transmitted from evil to good. Consequently, there is no African president, who does not know that capital flight, embezzlement, nepotism and corruption are bad. If they were not taught at home, they were taught in school. If the colonialists and taskmasters did not teach them, they were taught by village customs and traditions. There is just no excuse.

Sometime ago Tony Blair and Co were championing that African debts should be cancelled. Without a plan and willingness to do good, canceling them will take the Africans nowhere. Rather a fund should be created where domestic companies supervised by the foreign governments writing off the debt use the money for infrastructures and other developmental plans. In that case, it leaves little room for mismanagement.

Also African presidents whose governments apply the program successfully should be rewarded and those whose governments failed should be personally held accountable and the same amount of money deducted from their personal funds. If African presidents were held personally accountable for the money their countries borrow from foreign institutions they would personally supervise the eradication or reduction of corruption that is destroying the continent's ability to perform economically well.

That means, there should be willing leaders who want to do the right thing. There should be altruistic and benevolent leaders, whose polity of governance is summed up in; “a government of the people, for the people and by the people”.

Until then, the African intellectual may not hold the key to its wellbeing.
Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk).
Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk).

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