Re: 'Why is the African Continent poor - Is it because it hasn't produced world class philosophers?'
What is the definition of a philosopher and in whose terms should we define this when we go for benchmarking? Where on earth do people get these kinds of questions from and where do these people live? Are they writing simply to make a buck or two or perhaps they write such question 2 o'clock in the morning after some booze?
Liberation of any form or shape, and for that matter genuine liberation starts from self, from within. Once you have conquered and reconciled the inner injustices and the fears, then only one can stand tall and bold and face any others outside self.
The tendency to address serious subjects in generalization always ends up with significant prejudices, misinformation, assumptions and mostly misleading and the eventual outcome will certainly be an output for efforts that have avoided the real underlying questions.
Rather than getting into the bandwagon of apportioning blames amongst us (as if there weren't enough to go around), our generation should embark on and actively embrace self-liberation and helping each other to progress and liberate one another, as people. That is important. The psychological and impact and burden imposed in Africa and on Africans, is not to be underestimated.
For example, I am equally appalled when I read or hear from some of our people and some of our so called leaders, vigorously embracing the very structures that destroyed the African fabric many, many years ago, such as the 1885 Berlin Conference and vehemently spitting at our very own small innovative survival unities and strategies such as the Tanzanian Union of Zanzibar and Tanganyika.
"Pwani ya Tanganyika na Zanzibar ya sasa zilikuwa Pamoja kwa muda mrefu sana kabla ya kutengwa na Wakoloni Waingereza na Wajerumani. Kama zingebaki zimetengana, kwa 'wazalendo' hao hiyo ingekuwa ni halali, maana zilitengwa kwa hila na mitutu ya bunduki za Mabwana. Lakini uamuzi wa Tanganyika huru na Zanzibar huru kuungana, na hivyo kuwaunganisha tena ndugu waliokuwa wametengwa na Mabeberu, tendo hilo kuna viongozi wetu wanaosema halikuwa halali. Hatukufuata maoni ya watu kwa njia ya demokrasia wanaoijua wao. Wajerumani na Waingereza walitafuta maoni ya wazee wetu kwa mtutu wa bunduki! Hiyo ilikuwa halali. Nchi walizoziunda kwa njia hizo zilikuwa halali. Tunatakiwa tujivunie Utanganyika na Uzanzibari uliopatikana kwa njia hizo;lakini tuuonee haya Utanzania, tunda la uhuru wetu wenyewe. Sikuamini kuwa wakoloni walifauli kiasi hiki katika kuzinywesha kasumba na kuzitawala akili za baadhi yetu" - JK Nyerere, Uongozi Wetu na Hatima Ya Tanzania, Ukurasa 58
Further more, when I read from our learned Africans using terminologies like "Black" Africans (as in the attached video clips), knowingly or unknowingly the reference is always to the equation or comparison of or with "White" or Europe, as if it were some kind of a benchmark! What we fail to understand is that, in the context of accepting and buying into the so called "Black" or "White", the ground for any serious discussion is already intrinsically lost, favourably to the Architects who enjoys the status quo, as one of the main historical Black and White injustices. Remember to the eyes of the Architects of these kinds of segregations and politics, anything "Black" is assumed or rather by default expected to justify or defend the existence of literally anything therein or connected to;
While I am conscious that fundamental questions have to be asked and solutions sought without digressing, I still believe, fundamentally we as Africans, we ourselves must always rejects any connotations that places us in pigeon boxes. Our words and deeds must match. When we preach Unity, we must be working towards that UNITY, when we express our abhorrence on racism and linked injustices, we must refuse to call ourselves "Blacks" as there is no such thing as a "Black" person and so there is no such a thing as "Black" History. These references were created to place our societies in a particular ranked place within the politics of the world! These are labels and cages and we still use them in our very own researches, education, writings, and findings etc, effectively deeply ingrained in us!!
My rant is over (for now..)! You may read more on my views here:
Back to the core subject today, based on a provocative question by the author within the topic/discussion thread "Why is the African Continent poor?":
If you read or perhaps for some if you reflect (more so for those who have experienced directly), you will agree that, the colonies did not develop their colonies with the aim of developing the people for the people. When our first generations of leaders post Independence came to the realms of political power for home rule, the likes of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, their first aim was to allow people development. Excellent intentions and very good ground was laid down, and I dare say for a country like Tanzania, those foundations and the wisdom used in those days is what still sustains us as a nation to where we are today, albeit existing and ongoing challenges.
With consequent Tanzania governments, BIG mistakes were done to abolish MIIKO YA VIONGOZI (IMHO, in terms of genuine National interests, this was one of the most foolish and most stupid mistake committed I may add – and we as people allowed it to go ahead), and from those changes, from those moments, we have seen the trend and the outcome, I need not dwell into this, we all know what is going on in the country right now with all the endless scandals and no concrete punitive example setting redress or resolution to-date! Leaders are now openly keen to enrich themselves with riches they will never, I mean NEVER be able to FULLY & LEGALLY account for – to the standards that will be accepted in the public eye, and this is all done at the expense of the interests of the Public Office, where a leader/representative/public servant has been entrusted by the population to only be their keeper & or captain!
Sadly, all these corrupts practices are generally accepted in daylight and obviously known all over as everything is in the public domain! What we say is not what we do! Annoyingly, the rest of the significant part of the elite with interest in future leadership, all they do whiles out of power is plotting and plodding in the direction for an opportunity for their turn to do like their predecessors EVEN 10 or 100 times as BAD! While this is going on, in the streets and in various evening discussions at the bars, in buses, in stations, in the kitchen table, living rooms, online public forums etc, it is not unusual to hear credits given to those who managed to squander significant sums and dubious wealth within the shortest period while in the Public Office!
Those who play by the book or are keen to do so or perhaps likely to defend that position, are usually deemed as unworthy or unfit (wamelemaa, hawana mpango, hawafi kuwa viongozi n.k) or allegedly do not know how politics (with a small p) works; that they are naive and not realistic, and that if and when they get into the office, they will simply do the same or even worse!! Such statements and thinking shows what is on ones mind, and there goes no surprise what gets achieved when such a thinking gets into a position to influence progressive change!
Some of the major reasons our country and at large our Africa is poorly managed (as we are certainly not poor), is because:
1. Individually many have not taken our own personal responsibilities to the fullest capacity - this includes but by all means not exhaustive: appreciating, owning and promoting our very own and original version of our own culture, sense of identity as Africans, our activism and participation in decisions that affects our daily lives as Individuals or collectively. I once saw a TV show, so-called expert teaching British audience ladies how to run their families for example. To me all the teachings were things that we in Africa have known for years and do them naturally, though some are these days busy killing them in the name of modernity! This again reminds me of those who feel it is great to shop for vegetables from a supermarket (processed food) as opposed to buying fresh from the market! Small things but there is a telling…
2. Individually and collectively, continuously and progressively, we've easily and readily embrace what others subscribe/impose/describes us as Africans, and this to me shows to what extent we have allowed & continue to allow the robbery – consciously and or subconsciously.
3. Where we have tried, we have not managed to get the organizing to effectively achieve the initial aims of the coming together or have failed to strategically plan for eventual sustained achievement for the benefit of many; instead, we've mostly collaborate in better terms with people from far lands at the expense of own brothers and sisters – our own neighbours. This was true 300 years ago and is true today! Whether 300 years ago gold was traded for guns to oppress own people or the new word of new God or today when we sign dubious contracts with our modern day "civilized" modern government or when we allow planes carrying weapons which end up to the bandits in the Congo! It is the same concept, exactly the same just done differently and in a different era!
Until Individuals within our societies starts
- To take personal responsibilities to the fullest (or even aim for) with appropriate suitable actions, and then
- Effectively organizing at the grass roots level and follow through all the way to the national level or African regional level
We will continue to put in our public offices our own leaders, in the majority of whom are a reflective of our communities in terms of what we allow or tend to allow, with "some understanding" and "tolerance" - giving ways to petty and grand corruption and accepting so called "town boy or girl mission" .
We must strive to achieve zero tolerance to all that we already know are bad things for us individually and collectively – excellent example corruption of any shape or form – grand or petty! Stop looking for excuses to pay traffic police those silly petty cash bribes; the same applies to medical personnel, ministry personnel when looking for your files, when getting your building permit, in courts, when chasing for your tenders, when applying for jobs, when applying for a business loan etc. We don't need to complicate the subject, we simply need to do what we know is right and acceptable, and strive to make the trend in that direction as a normality and not an exception.
And to that end, what we need as Africans is no more lectures and studies, but implementing the right and suitable actions, which we all know what is required. Actions that will yield strong Public Institutions that can stand the test of time and suitability. Strong Public Institutions and NOT personal efforts within weak Public Institutions geared towards forging to create unsubstantiated or non existent public benefits such as (to name a few) RADAR project, EPA, hiring helicopters for political campaigns – yote haya ni viini macho, nothing else!!
Institutions with people development as the main agenda, not just thinking of leaders and or leading!
Until when we genuinely put people first and ask ourselves the right or suitable appropriate questions, we will certainly get the right or suitable appropriate answers and the right or suitable appropriate actions and outcomes. Otherwise all we keep doing is allowing and creating a platform for breeding African rulers with their own elite agenda, in place of colonist or dictators who also had their own agenda – none includes people for people's benefit, and then we will keep asking why Africa is Poor!
Irrespective of who is the original author or architect of the question, charity starts at home. The home is self. Africa is indeed not poor but it is indeed poorly managed.
The question should have therefore been, why is Africa badly managed?
TEMU, ABS © 2009