Africa's two women presidents, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and Joyce Banda of Malawi. President Banda visited Liberia on April 28, 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Editorial Comment: African solutions for African problems vital
Monday, 07 May 2012 00:00
As the French and Greeks went to vote in tightly contested polls yesterday in which early exit polls showed that Nicolas Sarkozy had been given the boot, in Russia, former Prime Minister Vladmir Putin is being sworn in today as new president for the next six years. The weekend also saw United States of America president Barack Obama officially launching his re-election campaign. Lately, the African continent which has been a picture of doom and gloom in some Western countries’ eyes has been registering significant changes.
The smooth power handover after democratic elections in Zambia and Senegal, respectively, were a good precedent despite military juntas in some West African states.
The quick and decisive action by both the African Union and the regional bloc Ecowas to contain the situation and bring stability to both Guinea Bissau and Mali are a pointer Africa is showing the world that it is tired of war and instability. So too, the intervention in the Sudan, South Sudan crisis!
These are African solutions to African problems.
In some of these events, the people, the masses are demonstrating that they are not a by-word, but are central to everything and disregarding them could be costly. This is also a learning curve for us as we witness that the bitter economic regime prescribed for us for so long is the same medicine that those who have taken it upon themselves to rule us are having to take, with the same destructive consequences we faced.
This goes to show that no system under the sun can claim perfection, and no system and/or individual can claim to have the perfect answers to a geo-political world that is facing challenges ranging from the economy to international terrorism to climate change and others.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch discovered that last week when British Members of Parliament told him that he was unfit to lead.
We are also witnessing a weakening global system whose vulnerability will become even more apparent if nation states are not united toward a common goal of mutually averting problems.
Some countries or regions might feel better off than others, but judging by the bruising campaign in France, protest votes in Greece against the backdrop of the Eurozone crisis, you don’t need a super IQ to realise that the geo-political system is in dire need of new models to deal with these challenges.
It is worrisome therefore that post-World War II agreements regarding the headship of the Bretton Woods institutions should be perpetuated in the 21st century, despite the economic realities on the ground. This is indicative of a first world that is too arrogant to admit that there are growing economies that have solutions to tackle global problems.
The most industrialised countries that have been in the forefront of prescribing disastrous solutions to developing nations that have led to economic failures resulting in instability are themselves realising that they are equally vulnerable. Thus, it is now sensible to enter agreements as partners and not the master-servant relationships we see today.
Developed and developing nations need each other and should strike win-win situations to benefit all humanity. When problems arise, instead of fanning them because of economic interests, let solutions that ensure long-term peace and stability be found quickly.
Through some of these events we have also witnessed the double standards in the conduct of elections. Since March, Russia has been accused of electoral fraud by Western governments who use non-governmental organisations to interfere in its internal affairs; what they continue to do in Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa.
How free and fair have the French and Greek polls been? We have also wondered why transparency has become inconsequential in the French election when serious allegations have been levelled against incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The allegation that Sarkozy received close to US$66 million from late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for his 2007 presidential bid is too serious a scandal for the international community to ignore. It was raised last year, but no one bothered until the last minute.
Would we be witnessing the same deafening silence if the allegations were levelled against Zimbabwean President Mugabe?
These snippets also show that we cannot afford to have a few individuals sacrificing the rest of the world on the altar of expediency because they are being used to advance the interests of other nations.
There could be problems in China, but to have one individual sacrifice the good relations and well-being of his nation with the United States is nothing but unfortunate as we saw last week with Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng.
Some of the 1,3 billion people in China might not approve of their government policies, but not all 1,3 billion should complain to the United States to interfere on their behalf, which would result in millions, if not billions seeking refuge elsewhere. And, as recession and unemployment take centre stage in Europe and its allies, we wonder whether an Arab Spring equivalent, will also take root in their backyards.
The occupy protests showed that the discontent runs deep.
The world is watching.