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Achievement Shitlhavani | February 25 2016 | BUSINESS DAY
AFRICA’s core enemies are African leaders. In what ought to be a peaceful continent, violence and injustice experienced during colonialism and apartheid are persisting, now under the leadership of Africans. Political leaders, who were known to be proponents of human rights and democracy, were acting similarly to their old opponents.
If imperialists’ role is to intervene in countries that have deadly crises, such as Zimbabwe and others, then I declare myself pro-imperialism. Many African heads of state are hiding behind the concept of independence and sovereignty. Does sovereignty empower them to suppress the voice of ordinary people, silence opposition and take the state’s resources?
Kofi Annan reaffirmed his support of the West and its institutions in his Desmond Tutu lecture: “On a continent that has experienced deadly conflict, gross violations of human rights, even genocide, I am surprised to hear critics ask whether the pursuit of justice might obstruct the search for peace”.
To underpin my argument, Robert Mugabe became president of Zimbabwe in 1980. At 91, he was the chairman of African Union and was recently replaced by the president of Chad, Idriss Deby, who came to power in 1990 through a coup. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has been in power since 1986 and has just been declared winner of the 2016 election.
The above scenario has nothing to do colonialism or the West’s interventions. The multiple crises faced by our continent prompts the West’s intervention, which is guided by its pro-human rights and pro-democracy foreign policies. The International Criminal Court’s prosecution of Africans and the West’s intervention is an indication of their commitment to bring peace and stability to Africa.
I am not questioning the prominent roles African leaders played in defeating apartheid and colonialism. However, we must make a distinction between the contribution made by politicians in the fight for freedom and the damage and pain they are inflicting on the people during the post-apartheid era. Political will, good governance and selfless leadership are the solutions to the continent’s woes, such as dictatorship and corruption.
• Shitlhavani is an executive member of the Free Market Foundation Youth