The abysmal state of politics in African countries: A final imperative call for change

As theorized by Darwin, life began in Africa, and scientists have postulated incessantly and unanimously in their findings that development that civilization also started there. Also according to Darwin, it was in Africa that our Homo-Erectus forefathers started using stone tools about two million years ago, before their exodus to Europe. The earliest evidence of human mastery of fire can be found in the Wonderwerk cave site located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. (Berna, Francese et al., 2012)

Hence, as the use and control of complex things could be found in Africa over two million years ago, why then are the modern day countries in Africa unable to understand the complexity of politics and simply engage in the concept of ‘‘SELF’’. The answer, I believe, started in the neo- imperialist period that followed the Berlin Conference of 1884 – 1885, which produced the “General Act of the Berlin Conference”, by which colonies and empires in Africa were shared among the 14 countries sitting at the table in the German capital. Through the conquest and forceful quartering of Africa among European powers that followed, this singular act set back African civilization by many decades, but also led to the introduction of a “kind” of politics to the African continent.

Prior to the Berlin conference, Africa was divided into empires, kingdoms and protectorates with complex but clear and transparent processes of government—let’s call these “Early African Politics” (E.A.P.). In Nigeria, for example, the Benin Kingdom had been enacting its own version of EAP as early as the 11th century to organize its government and set up viable and mutually beneficial international business relationships prior to the European conquest of Africa.

The politics that were then introduced to Africa by the conquering European powers were an entity that was alien to its citizenry. Africans were subjected to a “divide and conquer” regimen that has since been followed irrespective of the changing times.

Until the countries in Africa rise up to dictate their own futures and to re-invent their own politics, Africa will remain a destitute continent which consistently elicits feelings of pity. Young African leaders need to actively move towards a form of revolution not just aimed at removing dictators (like in Tunisia, Morocco, and Sudan, who are now worse off than they were before) but towards one that will fundamentally alter the way in which ordinary citizens are treated. Africa bears intelligent individuals; hence, the “powers that be” could allow Africa to embrace both individual and collective self-determination. Should this be properly done, it would re-position the continent of Africa, freeing it from the shackles of the Western world, improving the quality of life in the bedrock of civilisation, and reduce the incidence of terrorist attacks directed from Africa to the rest of the world and, worse, from Africa to Africa itself.

Ololade Dalley

Master in E-Health and Telemedicine Management

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