How can the current leaders be focused in the mission of achieving a united Africa is a fundamental question that will be discussed in this article.
In order to focus on the noble objective of achieving the unity of the African countries, Africa needs a new generation of leaders who must rise above local petty politics of their lone individual countries.
These leaders must reawaken the pan-African movement as was envisioned by the first generation of pan-African leaders.
It is always very painful and indeed an agonizing situation when we see current Leaders spending money and efforts to divide their citizens in order to strengthen the grip of their solitary regimes. Most African leaders have become nationalist populist; as Fukuyama described them: “…Populist leaders seek to use the legitimacy conferred by democratic elections to consolidate power. They claim direct charismatic connections to the people. They don’t like institutions, and seek to undermine the checks and balances that limit a leader’s personal power in a modern liberal democracy: courts, the legislature, an independent media and a nonpartisan bureaucracy…”
Populist leaders spend time and resources trying to cling onto power as superior and de facto rulers and in so doing, democracy, the rule of law and good governance and people’s communal life are weakened and crushed. In many cases there is widespread abuse of human rights and an inner reign of dreadful injustice within society. These leaders have their souls trapped in a desire to be recognized as superior and treat citizens as subjects.
Fukuyama defines this desire as a megalothymia, he writes “…megalothymia is a state that thrives on exceptionality – taking big risks, engaging on monumental struggles, seeking large effects, because all of these lead to recognition of oneself as superior to others. In some cases it may lead to heroic leader like a Lincoln or a Churchill or a Nelson Mandela. But in other cases it can lead to tyrants like Caesar or Hitler who led their societies into dictatorship and disaster…”
Moreover, these leaders who have taken on a populist nationalistic view of leadership and resource exploitation and utilization, are denying a space for the promotion of regional and international economic cooperation.
Again, others are terribly overwhelmed by the rise of globalization and democratization in Africa and struggle to resist and block the invading phenomena.
Leaders spend a considerable time and effort fighting multiparty democracy instead of forging unity and brotherhood to encourage the unity of a people of a particular nation and indeed promote the unity of the African Countries.
For decades people of Africa have witnessed their leaders slowly turning into arrogant, aggressive and bully corrupt tyrants to their own people.
For the African Continent to be ensured of a new impetus of the unification call, current African Leaders must be reminded of the guidance of the Giants of the African Pan-African Movement; who directed that the noble duty of current leaders is to pick up the challenge of uniting the African Continent.
Julius Nyerere the First President of Tanzania and one of Forefathers of the Pan-African Movement gave this instruction in a speech at the 40th Independence Anniversary Celebrations of Ghana in Accra, on the 6th March 1997, when he said: “…My generation led Africa to political freedom. The current generation of leaders and peoples of Africa must pick up the flickering torch of African freedom, refuel it with their enthusiasm and determination, and carry it forward to unity…”
At this same occasion in Ghana; Nyerere requested the Leaders to reject any suggestion that would derail the vision towards the unification of the African Continent. He said: “…A new generation of self-respecting Africans should spit in the face of anybody who suggests that our continent should remain divided and fossilised in the shame of neo-colonialism, in order to satisfy the national pride of our former colonial masters. Africa must unite! …That call is more urgent today than ever before… For each one of us is so weak in isolation… So this is my plea to the new generation of African Leaders and African peoples: Work for unity with the firm conviction that without unity, there is no future for Africa…”
Written by Dr. Dalaly Peter Kafum: Member of Parliament for Igunga in Tanzania