Some of us heaved a sigh of relief when Robert G. Mugabe went with a whimper and not a bang. He was past his sell-by date and there are so many tumbles a man can take, true, but we’ve to admit we always cheered when, once on the rostrum, he tongue-lashed those superpowers that lord it over us – and did it more eloquently than many a polished Englishman/woman could ever hope to!
The equally linguistically agile Winston Churchill, once British PM, must still be booing his compatriots derisively on recalling this, where he lies in his repose!
He knows, jolly chap, that much as Mugabe cannot be spared the flak for lacking a vision for Zimbabwe’s future, the UK, too, shares the blame for grinding it down. Moreover, Churchill’s quintessential “my word is my bond” was glumly disgraced when the UK went back on its pledge of helping to build the newly independent country that it’d abused so.
But of course, when even your young wife or bodyguard cannot be swift enough to rescue your knee from a none-too-soft connection with the airport tarmac, it’s time to call it quits. Sadly, our Mugabe had to wait until he had to be nudged off that thankless throne.
Even the all-time-impossible-to-kill Fidel Castro of Cuba (RIP) on another continent, when he suffered such a tumble, knew it was time to withdraw his trademark military cap from the ring. Strong as he was and despite a sterling job done of advancing his country, he immediately saw that true as it may be that revolutionaries never die, it’s only in as far as they live on in their ideas and ideals; not in their mortal ‘housing’.
So, may the successors of our revolutionaries continue from where they left, after plucking their people from the yoke of tyranny, and now build progressive societies.
And the “man down yonder”, Jacob G. Zuma? Well, he zoomed onto the helm of the biggest African economy, gathered dishonest, even criminal, friends as he stuffed up his pockets with the wealth of his country and his Nkandla harem with its fair gender. So, he happily executed a few jigs of his Zulu dance but before he could finish with his hot shower, he’d been rudely prodded to throw in the towel.
By that time, though, South Africa, once a pariah Apartheid infamy but an economic giant, now as a near-democracy was at its knees so scandalously that it suffers electricity power-cuts and dry water-taps. It’s a fading shadow of its discriminative but heyday era self.
President M. Cyril Ramaphosa and your team, bring down this wall of division, racial disharmony, abject poverty for the majority and stinking riches for the minority. Demonstrate that personally, though of feet dripping with the ungodliness of that minority, you can build a classless and flourishing South Africa and anchor it in an optimistically integrative continent.
An integrative African continent whose seat (Addis Ababa for the AU), alas, looks shaky.
No, Ethiopia, in the name of Africa, don’t go down that route again!
The scandal of 1983-5, when Bob Geldof and his group of dark-glass-and-long-hair sporting yodellers were the last hope to come to the rescue of bare-boned Ethiopians in a devastating famine. The group’s “Do they Know It’s Christmas?” song saved some, yes, but what a shame for Africa!
Africa’s kin, Harry Belafonte, chipped in also to up the ante by doing the same with another group of songsters who added on the meagre £ 8m with their own $ 141m in the song “We Are The World”. So much for the effort, however; the hand-outs evaporated in the hot embers of the dearth that was consuming much of Africa.
From Mengistu H. Mariam’s Red Terror (1974 -11991) and the famine that counted in excess of 1.5m deaths, to the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) that turned around everything to put the country back on the road to advancement, despite sailing in choppy waters, Africa has been watching keenly with rising hope.
So, what’s all this, pan-Africanist Hailemariam Desalegn, that you should just go as PM and no byes? What is amiss in the EPRDF house? What could comrade Meles Zenawi hold together that you can’t? A united EPRDF can sort out these protests, surely.
With a robust near-constant 10% growth economy, a focused investment in public infrastructure and industrial parks, Ethiopia is a hub for light manufacturing in Africa. Despite sporadic bouts of hunger, the mainstay of exports is in agricultural commodities.
Ethiopian Airlines, with its sprinting growth in the industry, is the largest on the continent. The kilometres of road network and extensive rail network, even connecting to the port of Djibouti, without forgetting the light rail of Addis, all are the envy of the continent.
In electricity, Ethiopia is projected to generate more than 10,000 MW. Some of which, if it weren’t for some quislings along our connecting way, as Rwandans we’d now be tapping into.
Ethiopians, you can organise your politics to all, without exception, share in this wealth fairly and together make your economy even stronger.
These political tectonic shifts in our countries need must birth a truly rising integrative Africa.