Thirst for power, wealth among African Presidents a source of endless conflict – VJ

Veteran Politician Vernon Mwaanga says Africa should generate modern measures to address conflict across the continent.

Mwaanga who is a former diplomat, former minister and former Intelligence Chief in Zambia said the source of conflict across the continent reflected Africa’s complexity adding that there is need for realistic and achievable solutions

“We must all contribute momentum to Africa’s renewed quest for peace and greater prosperity for all our people. We Africans must analyse and come up with realistic and achievable solutions to conflicts which have brought about so much human misery and suffering. We must always summon our political will to do what is right for all our people and to act when action is needed. Without this will, no degree of hope can make the difference between war and peace on our Continent,” he said.

He observed that the severe cost to development on the continent was as a result of the fact that Africa remained embroiled in never ending conflicts.

“In 1970, when I met that great son of Africa Kwame Nkrumah in Conakry, Guinea, after he was overthrown by the military in Ghana, I asked him to give me a perspective of where Africa was heading to and some of the challenges he foresaw going forward. I asked Mwalimu Julius Nyerere a similar question in 1980s in Dares Salaam in the late 80s after he had stepped down as President of Tanzania. Both of them expressed similar fears and concerns, to the effect that Africa would suffer from a crisis of leadership and that the so-called new African leaders would let down the Continent and their people as they abandon the values left by the founding fathers. They both feared that the so-called new leaders would concentrate on amassing personal wealth which would be extended to their families and friends at the expense of their people. They also feared that they would do everything possible to overstay in power, narrow space for individual freedoms and muzzle the press,” Mwaanga recalled.

“Many decades down the road, it is not difficult to see what these illustrious elder statesmen were talking about and how far sighted they were. There is less time among our current crop of leaders, in building peace and our continent remains embroiled in never ending conflicts, which have been a severe cost to development and to uplifting the wellbeing of their people. Across Africa many military coups took place, alongside undemocratic, corrupt and repressive civilian regimes, some of them supported and sustained by competing super-powers in the name of their broader goals, which were inconsistent with Africa’s best interests.”

He said African leaders desire to overstay in power and continue to amass wealth is the reason why the continent remained in conflict.

“In early years, the conflicts in Africa were a sad reflection of ethnic divisions as can be seen to the terrible price paid in Rwanda where genocide was perpetrated in full view of the international community. We have seen conflicts in Mozambique, Somalia, Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Mali, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Lesotho, Libya, and DRC. In the recent past, many of the conflicts in Africa have arisen from disputed elections and the insatiable appetites of the new African leaders to overstay in power and continue to amass ill-gotten wealth. The credibility of Electoral Commissions have come into question by stakeholders and citizens who have lost faith in some of these electoral bodies, whose credibility has suffered irretrievably,” said Mwaanga.

“What is even more, the legal avenues provided in Constitutions, such as Constitutional Courts have become rubber stamps of illegitimate elections largely due to the appointment of inexperienced Judges who owe their jobs to those in power. I should hasten to add that the Constitutional Courts in Kenya and South Africa have been a breath of fresh air. Some of the conflicts have been a direct result of the absence of any serious or meaningful dialogue among our political leaders. When grievances or disagreements arise, those in power and their opponents must not resort to violence. They must sit down and talk with a view to resolving their differences in a pacific manner. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga of Kenya have shown us the dividends of constructive dialogue.”

         

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