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{UAH} AFRICA IS A MISSED CALL: Debate On Zambian Forum

Here is a debate on a Zambian discussion group, which Ugandans will find inetersting.


What a disgrace! Pray for the poor who are the eternal victims of these rogue regimes and the environments they cultivate resulting in perpetual degradation of the very people they purport to serve!

By Brian Mulenga

"Brian your country is a dump. If the US offered free green cards to every Zambian, President Chiluba (1991-2001) would be the only one left in the country. Every man and his dog would head for the US". African American female US Airforce Lieutenant at a party in Kabulonga in 2000.
Africa is a case study for misgovernment. With a few bright, exceptions, Africa provides proper case studies on how NOT to run countries.
Furthermore, a number of completely ineffective or failed states litter the continent. A lot of African countries only have real government in the Capital city. The countryside seems detached from the goings on in the capital and struggles along in some poverty stricken limbo.
Africa also seems to be a breeding ground for corrupt, kleptocratic elites who even when a country is blessed with bountiful riches and a small population still fail to produce meaningful development. Equatorial Guinea is an example.
Africa is also the home of personality cults and Presidential worship. Whenever you travel to an African country and you get to watch TV and switch on the state broadcaster the news will be littered with what the President did and long, fawning, obsequious opinion pieces on his wisdom. If you want to learn how to flatter a woman in French just listen to a news broadcast in a Francophone country. The lavish and extravagant praise of the Head of State reaches levels that even with your limited comprehension of what is being said because of your rusty French you will find rather disturbing and make you squirm with embarrassment
So sycophantic and so bereft of real news are these state broadcaster news programs across the continent, one is obliged to listen to BBC and the French broadcaster to get the real news.
Then there is the dire poverty and the breakdown of infrastructure. Once you have visited several African countries, one cannot help to notice the many white elephants that litter an African country beginning with the run-down, poorly maintained and grandiose national airport.
Then there is the rapacious police. African countries seem to compete as to which has the most corrupt, thieving police force. As a foreigner the most dreaded words are, "Lets go to the station", Then there are the gun toting, unwashed, drunken policemen who are a law unto themselves. Run into a checkpoint be ready with every paper you can get. As a foreigner expect higher scrutiny, and the likelihood of being coerced into paying a bribe is higher.
Then there is the politicians. A greedy, avaricious, lot whose main livelihood especially when in power is to exact tribute and favours from anyone foolish enough to risk investing in Africa. People in government offices will even turn their noses up at bribes which they deem insufficient and say you are not serious code words for this is not enough
So corrupt are African countries that they can even endanger their own security. Nigeria was facing an existential threat from the Boko Haram and had to buy military equipment fro the war. The increased military spending was like a catalyst for the stealing to start. Everywhere officers stole supplies. From HQ down to the frontline being in charge had the opportunity to steal as a key perk.
Nigerian troops at times could not even react to Boko Haram attacks or patrol because officers had sold the fuel of the patrol vehicles. Quite often sold the fuel to the Boko Haram which they promptly used to attack the Nigerian Army. Others seem to have even sold weapons and ammunition to the Boko Haram !!!
The generals at HQ would steal the money for buying arms and use the money left over to buy junk. Then there was the fuel and rations for frontline troops. Nigerians soldiers did not have fuel, food boots, ammunition as they had all been sold !!! This thieving killed many soldiers in the field and only stopped when front-line soldiers ambushed a general who came to visit. The stealing abated when a general was nearly killed by his own troops.
This is typical of the waste and corruption in Africa. Grand projects are loved because they provide the means to steal grandly as well. As the Ministers and Civil Servants have become more educated so more sophisticated the thievery has become.
I have been around a lot of Africa and I can safely say, Africa is a rundown pile of shit with only a few exceptions. International Airports without water (Maputo, Narobi). Bribe taking thugs in uniform (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, DRC, Nigeria). Powercuts and potholes (Angola, Kenya (in the 1990s and early 200s the Kenya Power and Lighting Company was ironically called Kenya Paraffin, Lamps and Candles by long-suffering Kenyans), Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe). Slums everywhere.
I judge African countries by how long you can drive around without encountering potholes, whether gensets are standard (meaning power is intermittent), whether the tap water is a) from the local utility b)drinkable. A friend of mine laughingly said the bigger and more frequent the Presidential portraits the worse the country is.
What always amazes me about Africa is how patient the man in the street is. They put up with all sorts of problems most of which are created by incompetent and corrupt government.
Zambia used to pass the test for me. You could open a tap and expect water from the utility and drinkable water. You could reliably touch a light switch and power was not from a generator. The police though were simply from the same tribe as everywhere else. We began to fail the test. Things have improved but I am not yet convinced.
The miracle in Africa is Botswana. To a certain extent Namibia as well. South Africa has a First World veneer that when you peer underneath the skin shows alive and kicking its true African soul of thieving politicians, slums, rural poverty, rapacious policemen and weird grandiose projects. What one Afrikaner chap once told me in confidence "Our chaps were pretty bad but the ANC chaps have learnt fast and overtaken them".
Now here is what surprises me about Africa. Please, can someone explain to me why garbage collection seems to be difficult for ALL AFRICAN countries except Rwanda, Nambia and Botswana ? Why can't you drive through a police checkpoint without dreading what will happen to you when you meet the police? Why can't we reliably deliver running water? Why is reliable electricity a hit or miss thing? Why are most international airports in Africa manned by corrupt immigration, customs officers and are full of touts, thieves and conmen? What is it with all the dust?
When will Africa be normal?

George Okello
George Okello The Beautiful Ones Are Not yet Born In Africa; one can excuse the post-independence crop of leaders, at least they had love for country, but nearly every single one of the thugs who mis-rule Africa today have very little love for Africa and dont mean well for Africa. They are hideous monsters, intent on corruption and excess, and shedding of copious amounts of innocent blood. Paradoxically, nearly every African country has got patriotic, well trained citizens who can turn the situation around in their individual countries in a matter of a few years. In Uganda, we can make a dramatic turn around in the now collapsed economy and public services in a mere two years, given the opportunity. But patriotic Africans will never be allowed anywhere near power. Vested interests would rather have Africa exactly where it is now- as feeding ground for rapacious global companies. The Kayibanda Museveni's are the iron maidens of repression, so let them grow their pot-bellies, so long as they dont interfere in global financial governance. Who cares if a few thousands, or hundreds of thousands, routinely die of famine, wars or genocide? Let them die, and a few escape to become suppplicants in the western countries. So long as access is guaranteed to Africa's natural largesse, who cares about its starving people? It is the Africans themselves who should care, but so far they have refused to wake up, they prefer to have sex in bucket-loads, and yet have still failed to birth the beautiful ones. So Cry The Beloved Continent.
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George Okello
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