What is wrong with us Africans?

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Africa is said to be one of the most endowed continents in terms of natural resources, compared to other continents of the world. And that is not all; Africa is also blessed with many people and a rich spiritual heritage.

Africa is said to be one of the most endowed continents in terms of natural resources, compared to other continents of the world. And that is not all; Africa is also blessed with many people and a rich spiritual heritage.

 

Yet, the paradox is that in spite of all these countless blessings and riches, Africa remains undeniably the most poverty-stricken and broken continent on the planet.

Hein van Wyk of Hope for Africa saysAfrica’s root problem is not material, nor is it primarily outside the continent. The root of the problem is inside; inside the minds of the people.

One of the factors that have been identified to be a big problem in Africa is tribalism and racism. This is the belief and thinking that says that my tribe or race is superior to your tribe or race.

And that is the problem afflicting South Sudan today.

The conflict engulfing the country now, that began as a political disagreement between political players in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement has now taken a tribal angle, pitting fighters from the two main tribes in the country, the Dinka and the Nuer.

Political differences between President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and his former vice president, Dr. Riek Machar, a Nuer, have ended up hurting other innocent bystanders from the two tribes.

It is sad that out diversity, which should be our strength, has now become a curse. We are forgetting that, according to God, each race or tribe is equal in value but wonderfully unique, and this should be celebrated.

South Sudan is just coming from two weeks of atrocity in two of its regions, in Unity state and in Jonglei, where hundreds of people have been killed, either because of their tribe, nationality or religion. This has been the lowest point in the conflict so far, with reports indicating that innocent civilians who were sheltering in churches or mosques, or in other seemingly safe places, were isolated, before those who were deemed to be ‘enemies’ or sympathetic to the ‘enemies’, were slaughtered mercilessly!

 

To make things worse, media, which should be a tool for positive mobilization was used by rebel elements in Bentiu, to arouse hostility and anger towards other people. What has happened in both Bor and Bentiu in recent days cannot be termed otherwise, other than crimes against humanity, for which the International Criminal Court should intervene!

What comes out clearly from this is that we as Africans are still stuck in the mindset that says that the life of an individual is insignificant, forgetting that God sees each individual’s life as significant, that is why He was furious when Cain killed his brother Abel.

The deaths that occurred in the Bor and Bentiu have not sufficiently aroused our anger to compel us to intervene in the conflict!

Other than issuing condemnations, the African Union has not done anything substantial to help bring the culprits to book. It is sad that the AU was very fast in calling for the International Criminal Court to withdraw charges against the Kenyan president and his deputy, yet it cannot raise its voice when innocent and powerless people are dying in South Sudan!

It is a shame and an indictment to the African people. The AU called an extraordinary summit to discuss the Kenyan cases, yet it cannot call for an emergency meeting when thousands and thousands of innocent Africans are dying. Is it because they are weak and poor, and are not the wielders of power?

It is ironic that many voices in social media from East Africa implored US president Barack Obama to intervene before many lives could be lost. Why is it that when Africans are in self-made trouble, they call for the West and the US, and yet the same Africans would castigate the West when it is convenient for them? We are so hypocritical and that is why we cannot solve our own problems!

Africa has come of age and Africa should be able to solve its own problems. Our problems don’t necessarily come from the West; they are a result of our own ineptitude, incompetent leadership, corrupt politics, and unjust economic systems, among many others.

Africans should rise up and tackle head on the problem of fatalism, which says that we are helpless and there is nothing we can do about it. We should get out of the “dependency mentality” which is outward-looking, waiting for someone else “from the outside” to come and solve our problems.

African leaders should tell the South Sudanese leaders who are the cause of suffering of their people that enough is enough, and that they will not tolerate any further the loss of innocent lives. One death is far too many!

 

Short of this, Africans will continue to spew out their racial laments about how the white man has brought trouble on the continent, as its people continue to suffer.