“The chains of a habit are too weak to be felt till they are too strong to be broken” – Dr. Samuel Johnson.
“Africa” to legendary reggae musician Robert Nesta Marley “is the richest place, but the poorest race”. Such an assertion isn’t far from right. Great minds, the world over, continue to wonder how this comes to be. But in this seemingly puzzling phenomenon, once culprit stands out supreme – LEADERSHIP.
African leaders, both past and present have continuously failed Africa. They burst onto the scene with great plans and ideas – plans that seem perfect in theory, but lack practical substance.
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Along the line, something goes terribly wrong – the quest for personal glory sets in; there is now a change in strategy; amassing of wealth and other evil vices come into play and the ordinary man is left worse-off.
Some African countries have at several points in time been plunged into ethnic wars and clashes simply because some once-great leaders have let go of their visions and followed the pleasures of wealth.
Africa’s blessings are for all to see, but then after many years of independence from colonial rule, the West continues to play a crucial role in our sustenance. It sometimes becomes necessary to dance to their tune, simply because they own and operate the means of survival.
The blame squarely falls on the shoulders of our leaders. In some contexts, leadership in Africa has become an opportunity to increase personal wealth and in that vein enhance social and economic status.
Plans, programmes, ideas and policies are exchanged during meetings. Strategies for implementation are drawn. Roles are effectively distributed. So questions remain to be answered: What Exactly Goes Wrong In The Process? Why Are We Still Where We Are?
Statistics indicate that more than half of the 6.2bn or more people living on the earth today live on less than $2 a day, whilst 1.3bn people live on less than $1 a day. Again the developing world spends $13 on debt repayment for every $1 it receives in grants. This is mind-boggling to say the least – it shouldn’t be the story of the “most blessed” continent on earth.
Any hope for the future – a strong yes. It all begins with a change in attitude. To Emile Herzog “If you create an act, you create a habit; if you create a habit, you character; if you create a character, you create a destiny”
Leaders should see their offices as an avenue to improve the lot of their brethren, not a self-seeking opportunity. Great leaders are chief servants and with this philosophy in mind, we can experience tremendous progress if the right measures are put in place.
Kenneth Kaunda, a former President of Zambia, is quoted to have once said that: “Whilst the whites are advancing, the blacks are dancing”. As much as we desire to offload the core of the blame to West and its allied powers, we need to assess ourselves as African s and find out if we are doing that which is expected to us.
A thorough self-assessment and the implementation of workable projects and policies would surely kick-start our wheels of progress. We have been waiting for too long.
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