Finally someone is saying something that can move things a bit in Zimbabwe. The Nobel laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has called for the arrest or forceful ouster of Mugabe if he does not resign ang go home – or wherever he wants. Right now Harare’s people are faced with a cholera epidemic in the wake of total economic collapse. You know we have come to think of Zimbabwe as a failed state but it was not that long ago – even though Rob’s madness had already began then – that this country had great prospects. Zimbabwe could have been great. It still can, if someone acts now.
Which reminds me of the other day in a class on International Aid that I am taking. We were talking about humanitarian intervention and international law. Repeatedly, respect for sovereignty came up as a reason to not intervene in places like Somalia, Chad, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, the DRC and all the other near failed states on the continent. Now I know there is no money to intervene in all these places. But we don’t need to. All we need is to set a precedent in one African country. A precedent that you cannot get away with killing or starving your own people. A precedent that you cannot get away with stealing your people’s money like Obiang’ and all the thieves in leadership positions are doing across the continent. Then everyone will think twice before they rig elections, kill innocent people or steal money out of state coffers.
Africans need to realise that they are in the only region of the world that still remains objectified. The only region that has not risen up to claim local agency in its history. Latin America, East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa – all former colonies of Western Europe – have risen up to become actors in world history in their own right. The Chinese have a giant economy. South East Asia has considerable clout too. India has the atom bomb and massive amounts of top notch human resources. The Middle East is managing its oil and transforming the desert. Latin America is a middle income region by all means. And Western Europe and its off shoots continues to be ahead of everyone else – this is purely a historical accident and should not be imputed to anything else (read Jared Diamond).
Africa on the other hand remains to be the poster child of failure. Soon enough we shall be receiving aid from the Indians and the Mexicans and the Brazilians and may be some day even the Afghanis. Why don’t African leaders see what they are doing to the African people and their collective consciousness? Why don’t they see how detrimental to future generations of Africans their actions are? Why don’t they seem to mind the fact that when one says Africa or Africans the first things that come to people’s minds are Aids, Poverty, Hunger, Disease, and all manner of evils. Why?
The middle East has dictators. Pinochet was a dictator, but not a mindless buffoon like Samuel Doe, or Amin or Mugabe. Suharto was a corrupt thief, but not the moron that was Abacha. Why I ask. Why can’t any of our leaders, dictators or not get anything right? Why?