(Swans - November 7, 2011) Africa is a writer's delight. Nowhere else in our wide world does life imitate art so splendidly like in our dear and beautiful continent. Everywhere one looks in this paradoxical continent, one is confronted with images that set the writing adrenaline running wide. That life is so tragic-comic must be among the reasons Africans go through life with all those wide smiles.
Africans have a penchant for borrowing ideas from other people and bastardizing them so badly that the inventors will have problems recognizing their inventions.
Take politics as an example: Africans are busy beating their chests proudly and loudly proclaiming how the seeds of a Western-styled political system have been nurtured in Africa, so much so that the whole continent glistens with democratic governments.
No one bothers to ask if the lot of the ordinary people have seen any qualitative improvement. No one cares that Africans continue to die needlessly in order to ensure that self-seeking politicians continue their game of fooling the people.
Recent elections in Zambia saw the people of that country waging tribal war to see that a faction of the ruling oligarchy win power. Never mind that all that the leaders in Zambia were able to achieve was to sign agreements to receive a paltry 0.6% for Zambian mineral resources.
Leaders in Nigeria continue to pantomime the same odious nonsense they have been telling the people for over half a century. The otiose elite of the country that used to call itself the "giant of Africa" saw no shame in scurrying behind a presidential palace as terrorists made it impossible to celebrate their nation's independence day at their national square.
In Liberia, Madam "World Bank" Sirleaf shamelessly broke a vow to serve for one term -- she is busy offering illogical arguments to convince Liberians why she has problems keeping a simple promise.
In Senegal, octogenarian President Wade spent long years in opposition before he won power, only to scheme to change the constitution and foist a dynasty on the people.
In opposition, Mr. Wade brandished solid pan-African credentials; in power he soon finds it necessary to join the imperialists.
In Guinea, last year's opposition leader is now the head of government and has just ordered his troops to kill people protesting against the same things that brought him to the streets just a year ago.
In Cameroun, professional President Biya has long jettisoned the constitution; he is now a president for life in all but name.
The president that spent more years in Paris than his capital, Yaoundé, is so contemptuous of his people that he does not even deign to personally campaign for votes; it is left for his minions. Sadly, the opposition in Cameroun is too fragmented to do a darn thing.
In La Côte d'Ivoire, the vicious and rapacious French are quietly enjoying their latest colonial conquest while pontificating to the world.
Coming home to Ghana, politics seems like the only game in town -- that is if we exclude religion that has, to all intent and purposes, become the amphetamine of the people.
I don't know if I remain the only one who continues to be baffled by the amount of time, energy, and resources the people in our beloved Ghana (no, make that Africa) continue to expend on religion.
The so-called Christians have become a law unto themselves. They are everywhere loudly proclaiming their version of piety. They are busy with the business of getting us ready for alujanah through their insanely illogical religion where a son is supposed to equate his father.
Without making any effort to study other people's faith, our Christians go around to condemn and damn anything that disagrees with their interpretation of god. They tell us that monotheism is the only way, yet they go around teaching a religion based on a trinity of a father, a son, and a (gasp) holy ghost.
Don't ask me why they do not think that mothers are worth venerating. And don't ask me why the Christians expend so much energy preparing for a blissful heaven without anyone hurrying there. And it remains a mystery to me why people continue to believe shameless charlatans who preach moderation but continue to gorge themselves on the sweat and the labor of their ignorant congregation.
The Christians pastors have collared the airwaves and they maintain their iron grip until after 6 am when it becomes the time for foul-mouthed political hacks to have their turn.
The political shouting matches continue throughout the whole day, which always leaves me wondering when people have the time to do any productive work.
It would not be such a bad idea were these politicians to be engaged in sensible discussions on how to move the developmental agenda of the nation forward.
No, all they dish out are inane matters such as whether an opposition leader womanizes or whether a president should go for paternity tests.
Where do people find the time to engage in the type of silliness we see displayed in this country? With what kind of brains are these mindless pollutants (don't let call them commentators) equipped? How do ministers that hop from radio station to radio station have time to think, formulate, and implement policies?
Not only are our ministers and other officials clueless on how to solve the problems that face us, they have perfected a scheme to evade most of the hardship their incompetence has foisted on us and on our dear nation.
To ensure that they do not struggle for trotro (the metal contraption that is the favorite mode of transportation for the hoi polloi in our dear republic) like we do, they bought themselves pricey and classy SUVs with our money.
To make sure that they don't roast in traffic like we do, they have police escorts that blare sirens to drive us off the roads for them.
So, rather than fix our roads so that all citizens can have a smoother ride, our officials will waste all the time at radio stations to which they are driven by siren-blaring police outriders.
Rather than fix our dilapidated hospitals, our elite would let them rot because they can always go abroad when they fall sick. Rather than build proper schools for us, our officials would send their wards to top schools in foreign countries, only to go to the United Nations to boast about their achieving the singular feat of stopping children from schooling under trees.
A voice from Africa worth hearing... Please consider a
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About the Author
Femi Akomolafe (see his profile on Swans) is a computer consultant, a writer and social commentator, an avid reader, and a passionate Pan-Africanist who lives in Kasoa, Ghana. Femi is known to hold strong opinions and to express them in the strongest terms possible. As he likes to remind his readers: "As my Yoruba people say: Oju orun teye fo, lai fara gbara. It means that the sky is big enough for all the birds to fly without touching wings." Femi Akomolafe's views, opinions, and thoughts can be accessed on the blog he maintains: http://ekitiparapo.blogspot.com/. (back)