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Opinions of Saturday, 5 November 2016

Columnist: Louis Lamis

‘The beautiful mess’ – The future of Africa

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I have had reasons constantly to blame our leaders for the woes of Africa. I look at Africa, the entire continent, the diseases, filth, plagues, wars, hunger and starvation. We are too backward. Poor leadership is what has put us there!

Yes! Because we elect them to show us the way, to carve a way for us, to pave the way, lead and guide us along. That’s why we elect them.

Upon careful and critical reflection, I have come to appreciate we cannot blame them because these are good people, you know; they are great men and women. In fact, they are our heroes.

Men who step up and say, ‘hey, this is the challenge we face; we want to fix it!’

They come, they campaign and they tell us we can be better because they want to make a difference. They go out there and do what they do. Good men with good hearts. Yes, they are just that.

How can you say J.J. Rawlings is a bad man? How can you say J.A Kufour is a bad man? How can you say Atta Mills was a bad man? John Mahama is not a bad man, is he? What about Muammar Gadhaffi, Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, Julius Nyerere, Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki, and the rest, both past and present. They are all good men who want to help.

However, we must, perhaps, begin to acknowledge and accept the truth: they are, or were not capable.

I am sorry, they are not capable. Oh, yes, they are not! They have not shown enough to suggest they can, have they?

Just take Ghana, for example. Despite our huge human and material resources, see where we are; the socio-economic difficulties we are grappling with.

We take one step forward, a hundred backwards; we are doomed and it’s amazing!

Mind you, they did what they could, and they are doing all they can. It just did not work; it is just not working! See what leadership has done! Look at where we sit!

I strongly believe now is the time, as a people to say; “enough is enough”. It is time to change the destiny of our continent.

It is time to take the destiny of our countries, our people and our children into our own hands and build a better future for them.

The era of mediocre thinking must be over. The period of thinking like politicians who siphon and loot from the poor pockets of the people must end; lets become statesmen who think of the next generation not politicians of the next elections, like James Freeman Clarke said.

That tendency stops now! We must begin to walk into the era of doing things that impacts positively not just our individual lives or countries, but the whole of Africa.

If we continue to leave our fate to them, allow them to keep the status quo, our children will grow to live even in worse situations than we find ourselves. They will continue to starve in the midst of abundance. They will have the best resources at their disposal but still wallow in poverty and deprivation.

It is time to say, ‘we do not accept mediocrity anymore; we do not applaud lies, deceit and hypocrisy’. Let’s kill nepotism by getting capable minds and hands to occupy positions of trust to handle our affairs.

Let’s depart from the era of putting square pegs in round holes in appointing or electing people because they belong to a particular ethnic group at the expense of competent people because we hate them for whatever reasons.

African politics has become a system of puppetry – puppets and puppet masters. Our Politicians have no true power; they dance to the music of higher and unseen powers.

We can never have true leadership from them because they have shown they cannot take us to the “Promised Land”. If we follow them, we will crawl and keep crawling without reaching our destination.

So, it is time we all go out there to search for the way, create our own path, define our aspirations and pursue them.

We can show the way because we are the people and we can decide the way we want to go.

First, we must decide the destination we want to go; destination of abundance where the old have a good resting place, relax and enjoy life after retirement.

An era in which every child will have a good education, good healthcare, good guidance; protected from violence and crime, an era of equal opportunities for both sexes, an era in which everybody can experience prosperity, an era of tranquility.

We now know the destination. It is time to walk on the path that will lead us there.

In life, a generation comes and says, it is time to turn the lives of the people around and it becomes the pivot around which things revolve.

Nehemiah did that for the Israelites. Martin Luther King Jnr. and Malcom X did that for the African Americans. Martin Luther King also did that for Christianity. There came a time the ‘Big Six did same for Ghana. Mahatma Gandhi also did it for the people of India.

If you check it, every era, every people, every race, every continent, every nation that has developed, has grown without heavily relying on leadership.

Creating and building lies within the people. It is such consciousness we must have.

It must spring out of us now, today not tomorrow! It is amazing how our leaders overlook crime, corruption, stealing from the masses! They are too busy looting and sharing at the expense of the people. I don’t know what our ancestors will say. People just steal money and hide behind the Rule of Law. They do or say nothing. They are ambassadors of poverty!!!

Our leaders are too busy plotting how to keep what they steal, how to protect it, when they can enjoy it, with whom they can enjoy it, so much so that they do not have the time to find “the way”.

Oh yes! You see they take millions of cedis from us and bring us one cedi for which we hail and celebrate them. We are too mediocre. All that must stop. We should strive for more. We should get ready. There is a new breed of Africans. We are determined; determined to find the way. We will find it. They better sit up.

The new African realizes he cannot keep selling the destiny of this generation; the destiny of our children, our children’s children for chamber pots and Gh¢5.00, political appointment, for a job or possibly a promotion.

You sell the destiny of the entire generation of over a billion people for political position. What kind of human being are you? Yet, you do not see the harm you are doing.

Essau sold his destiny for food and we all know how much it cost him. You can imagine if you sell the destiny of an entire generation of a continent for food. That is what our leaders do; they do it even though they are good people. They are just failing us; they just do not know how to lead. What can you do?

I remember engaging a boy on my farm to take care of my birds. I realized he could not do it.

I kept losing one bird after the other. I could not fire him because I needed a caretaker, somebody to be there when I was away.

Therefore, if our leaders cannot fulfill our aspirations, we just have to step in and take care of them ourselves. We can allow them to take the positions anyway, because they like it. They like the convoy, the siren and ceremonies. They like and cherish the fact that their positions allow them to enjoy certain privileges in life.

The new African looks beyond privileges. Life is about the impact we make on the world around us, the lives we touch. We do this by picking people up on the way to our destination and not slashing them down.

Like Jesus, we heal the sick whilst going to the cross, we calm the sea, and we feed five thousand people with very little. Like Jesus, we enlighten many on our way. That is the new African.

The new Africa is risen. I want to announce to you that they are now the future of this country and continent.

There is one new African in your home, school, workplace, church, mosque, community, parliament, etc.

Look out for us! We are coming to take over the continent and we will take the people to the Promised Land.

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