Africa: One step forward, giant strides backward!

Posted by By at 30 April, at 14 : 17 PM Print

Africa: One step forward, giant strides backward!
Africa: One step forward, giant strides backward!



tears of osagyefo

tears of osagyefo

The Nation has not yet found peace from its sins; the freedman has not yet found in freedom his promised land. Whatever of good may have come in these years of change, the shadow of a deep disappointment rests upon the Negro people,—a disappointment all the more bitter because the unattained ideal was unbound save by the simple ignorance of a lowly people.” – W.E.B Du Bois, ‘The Souls of Black Folk.’

I once wrote that Africa is a writer’s delight. There is so much happening in our beautiful continent every blessed second that a writer’s creative juices are constantly being replenished.

Sadly, it is not the ideas that one lacks, but the means to transmute one’s fertile ideas onto paper.

As I struggle to write this, the light keep going on and off like some monkey is playing with the switches.

That is in spite of the fact that I have just received a killer bill from the ECG who charged for services they very clearly did not render.

February 2013 was certainly the worst I ever experienced in terms of the dumsor dumsor erratic power supply, but it was the same month I received the highest bill ever.

Try to figure that one out.

For sheer beauty, our beloved continent must rank among the best in the world.

We have colour all over the place; we have sunshine all year round and our beautiful people lend their own sparkle with their beatific smiles.

Don’t let us even begin to talk about our women!

Yet, our governors (don’t let us adorn them with the undeserved title of ‘leaders’) continue to let us down big time.

But we take everything in stride.

These governors treat us worse than some feudal lords treat their serfs, but we continue with our ‘suffering and smiling’ – apologies to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

At the end of their ill-service, they award themselves fantastic ex-gratia and dare us to do our worse.

We murmur in our bedrooms and keep quite where it matters: public.

Yes, we must be a special brand of humanity as we laugh at even under the most appalling of conditions.

But then we have leaders whose sheer stupidity makes you wonder from which pool of the human gene they evolved.

As I write this, it has just been announced that the petty tyrant in the Central African Republic (CAR), Francois Bozize, has been chased out of his presidential palace in Bangui by a coalition of a ragtag army of marabous and sorcerers.  He himself took power in a coup de that some ten years ago.

The frequency and circumstances at which presidents get chased out in our continent is what make it all so comical.

It happened in Bamako where a mere Captain chased the president out (few days before elections) and had his thugs slapped the Prime Minister around.

Some sixty years or so ago, one of Africa’s leading visionaries, Kwame Nkrumah, advocated the setting up of an African Military High Command, to take care of the security situation across the continent.

It was an eminent suggestion.

Given our humiliation by the slavers and the colonialists, nothing should have been more important to us than our security, if only to ensure that such calamities do not befall us ever again.

But our rulers, goaded by their Masters in Washington, London and Paris shot Nkrumah’s lofty idea down.

The great man was accused of attempt to rule Africa bla, bla, blah.

Local traitors joined imperialist forces to overthrow his government. He was hounded into exile and poisoned.

Sixty years hence, our continent is plagued by mini, midi and major wars.

The colonialists are backed with a vengeance with French and American forces providing ‘security’ in many African countries, and American Drones patrolling large swathe of African sky.

Rather than pull their security resources together and build a viable continent-wide military capability to: 1: safeguard their own security and 2: ward off external aggression, our comic of leaders continue to think in terms of their tiny, fictional and colonial-invented fiefdoms.

That very few of these mini-states are viable have not dissuaded these imbecilic leaders from the pretensions of sovereignty.

African leaders love their symbolic flags, flags and marauding rag-tag thugs of national armies equipped with museum pieces discarded by more serious nations.

A good sign of the mediocre mindsets of our rulers is the spectacle of our police chasing and incarcerating our weapon artisans, whilst they spend good money to buy weapons produced by other people!

African rulers love the pomp and the pageantry of their shambolic offices.

Coming back to our own Ghana, the Black Star of Africa and a country whose visionary founding leader wanted to prove to the world that the Black man can manage his own affairs.

Until few years ago, our rulers boasted of our being the Gateway to Africa.

Actually, it was not an empty boast.

The country then boasted of public institutions that worked and seemed to be on an upward trajectory.

Visitors to Ghana marveled about the efficiency they see at our ports of entry and compare them favourably with what obtain in the advanced countries.

Water and light supplies were in reasonably good shape and security was adequate enough to make tourists trooped in in large numbers.

But then, suddenly, everything went KAPUT.

Less than two months after people came out to dance themselves silly for another successful election, the country was thrown mightily back in the Stone Age.

Water, Gas and Electricity suddenly vamoosed and people were reduced to living in appalling conditions they thought they have long left behind.

Whilst their menfolk keep vigil at filing stations to wait for gas, our womenfolk and children were reduced to ferrying jerry cans of water over long distance.

That is even in our big cities; in the villages the conditions some of our people live in is simply unspeakable.

In this age and time, this is appallingly scandalous!

As a developing country, it can be excused when one or two of these basic commodities are in short supply; but to have all three disappeared at the same time betrays a serious lack of seriousness and appalling lack of planning and vision on the part of our governors.

Which makes it the more unconscionable to see our parliamentary getting two billions cedis (in Old cedis) for what they called ex-gratia awards like we have something to be grateful to them for!

As I wrote in this column some time ago, one of the most baffling things about governance in Africa is the consistent with which things invariably remain the same.

Just think about it: the problems our fathers grappled with 50, 40, 30, 20 years ago are still the same ones confronting us today.

And looking at the way things are going, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will still be tackling them in years to come.

That is unless god Almighty herself comes down from heaven to sort things out, as our leaders are wont to believe.

What makes it impossible for us in Africa to take a problem, successfully tackle it and be done with it FOREVER?

What makes it impossible for our leaders, who boast during election campaigns, to tackle and solve basic problems like electricity, water and food?

It is not like they need to re-invent any wheel. Many societies have successfully solve these problems, so there are adequate information for our leaders to follow.

And we have party and government ‘Communication Team,’ straining to excuse this shameful state of affairs.

The republic of Ghana is fifty six years old and, between them, the two largest parties have governed for a total of thirty years, so what exactly are these so-called communicators talking about?

Why is the simple fact that the best communication the government can communicate lies in evident solid achievements, evading these so-called communicators?

If I get reasonable decent electricity and water supply, does anyone nee to tell me that the government is performing?

When I’m left with no light for days, any communication team member is simply wasting his time in addition to insulting my intelligence by any ratiocination whatever.

We are neither blind nor stupid; we can know achievements when we see them.

What point is there in paying people to go and defend the indefensible on radio and television stations, when all around us all we see are serious lack of vision, gross ineptitude and planlessness?

When after a trip abroad I came back and saw street lights in my hometown, Kasoa, I wrote to congratulate then President Kufuor.

I also commended him for the National Health Insurance policy; for the Kasoa to Winneba road and the M1 Highway in Accra.

I am not Mr. Kufuor’s greatest fan, but I believe that credit should be given where and when they are deserved.

The Communication Teams can shout themselves hoarse, but the government shall stand condemned and be condemned as long as it fails to deliver basic services to the people.

You can carry propaganda this far and no farther!

While it can also be excused that circumstances beyond their control makes it difficult for our leaders to give us water, electricity and gas, the response of those in authority should make us feel that we have responsible people at the helm doing their utmost to solve the problems.

Sadly, this is not the case.

Somehow, in the midst of our cries of anguish, our president found the time to meet with parades of Pastors and Imams.

And then a whole week was wasted debating the merits and demerits of a planned sponsorship of 200 Pastors to Jerusalem.

Can’t we ever be serious in this country?

Whenever it suits them, our officials like to quote the constitution. Why do they then forget the fact that the same constitution declared Ghana a SECULAR state?

If we are a secular state, what business has our President got in dabbling in religious matters?

What business has a Minister of State (paid by the taxpayer) to seek and facilitate the sponsorship of priests to Jerusalem?

Does religious affairs form part of the portfolio of the Minister for Youth and Sport; if not, why did he engage his time with it?

And why did Mr. President even entertained such moronic idea from his appointee?

What point exactly is there in sponsoring priests to Jerusalem?

What are they supposed to accomplished?

What are the things that ail us that require prayers in Jerusalem?

How would prayers solve our water, electricity or gas supply problems?

Where on earth has a prayer solve a single problem?

What has all the prayers we offered done for us as a nation?

If gods are supposed to be Omnipotent, Omniscient and Immanent, simple logic suggests that they will be everywhere; so where is the sense in travelling to Jerusalem to offer prayers to a god?

It is sad that our rulers do not realize the enormous damage they do to our image by some of the imbecilic things that they do.

How do we expect to be taken serious when we travel out and people see our leaders engage in such comical acts as sponsoring priests to Jerusalem to go and offer prayers for the nation?

As my head reel from the incredulity of seeing our President threatening to withdraw government involvement in the saga, I am left to wonder when our people, especially our leaders, begin to get serious.

Why should valuable presidential time be wasted in debating the merits or demerits of a trip to a so-called ‘holy land’ – one that is drenched in so much human blood!

How on earth does one use iPad, computers, the internet and other technological marvels like our president does, and still believe that he could solve a problem by praying in Jerusalem?

In the March edition of the New African magazine, the inimitable editor, Baffour Ankomah, wrote a Masterpiece (he writes only masterpieces), “What Africa can learn from Singapore.”

Mr. Baffour quoted the man who, within a generation, transformed Singapore into a First World, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew as saying after a visit to Africa in the 1960s: “I was not optimistic about Africa.”

Sadly, we have done little to assuage the pessimism of the Lee Kuan Yews!

And sadder still, our leaders continue to promote all the negative images of our continent as that inhabited by totally unserious children with child-like minds.


About the Author

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and Correspondent for the New African magazine. Femi lives in both Europe and Africa, and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specialises in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are now available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

  1. Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
  2. The Daily Dispatch Office, Labone – Accra
  3. WEB Dubois Pan-African Centre, Accra
  4. Ghana Writers Association office, PAWA House, Roman Ridge, Accra.
  5. African Kitchen in Amsterdam Bijlmer

Where to buy them online:

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18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories

Ghana: Basic Facts + More:

Africa: Destroyed by the gods:

Africa: It shall be well:


Africa: it shall be well

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on Lulu Books:


Africa: Destroyed by the gods

on Kindle books:

on Amazon books:

on Lulu Books:


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A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: It shall be well’ could be downloaded here:

  1. Africa: Destroyed by the gods (How religiosity destroyed Africa)

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Femi Akomolafe




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