Why African Leaders do not Believe in Themselves

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The biggest conspiracy against the growth and dominance of Africa and Africans is not the work of Bill Gates, Monsanto, 5G, the Coronavirus or imperialists, or colonialists. It is not Donald Trump. It is not China; it is not Boris Johnson or Queen Elizabeth. It is not a right-wing conspiracy or a left-wing conspiracy, neither is it a grand plan of Israel or even the Middle East. Africa’s biggest problem is its leadership.

A few weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted in the world media saying Africa will never be independent because they believe in Europeans, Americans, and Chinese more than themselves. Amongst the reasons that he said gave rise to this scenario was the fact they don’t “They don’t trust themselves at all, African technocrats/Engineers aren’t given the platform to practice what they studied instead they hire Chinese to construct roads for them”. Africans do not believe in their ability as people that they can ever do anything that can be equally competitive with anything else done outside of Africa. Anything else done elsewhere is always viewed as being perfect as compared to their own. President Putin also raised the issue of inferiority complex among African leaders. He said, “A white man will commit a crime in Africa, but no action will be taken because the African authorities view us as Demigods, far from the truth”. This is indeed very true; one sees this across the so-called private and public sectors of the African economies. The public sector is always considered as being the most corrupt because it is mainly run by black people. The private sector is not viewed in that way. In fact, it’s almost blasphemy in many African countries to mention corruption in the private sector because its owned by foreign whites, whether American, European, or Chinese.

Another example given by President Putin was “A black man can be abducted in Europe get harassed and even be killed but no African authority can even question. Africans present themselves as weak people with no hope, especially when dealing with Europeans and Americans”. This assertion by President Putin is very true indeed. Many African leaders when they stand before their European counterparts, they do not exude that confidence that says I am what I am, and I can be whatever I want to be. Instead, one sees the attitude of a slave before his master. However, we have had few exceptions like the late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela, Muammar Gaddafi, and Thomas Sankara who spoke their minds regardless of whether they were in Europe or USA. Many of them were highly demonized by the western press for speaking their mind.

Another reality that was raised by the Russian President the issue of “self-hate” displayed by African leaders. To this effect, he said, “They are their own enemies. They hate each other and this gives their colonial masters the opportunity to continue exploiting their resources”. We can deduce two points from his statement. The first one is they are “their own enemies”. How does one become their own enemies? When a person reaches this stage in life its simply because they hate themselves. This is particularly true when it comes to Africans.

The legacy of colonialism taught Africans to hate themselves and that no matter how they tried to better themselves, they will never reach the levels of whites. Secondly, President Putin mentioned the issue of hating each other and because of that, it gives our enemies, the former colonial masters to continue exploiting our resources. While Africans are busy hating each other and calling each other names, our enemies are busy looting our resources. A classic example of that is what is going on in the DRC and the Central African Republic. This strategy with regards to Africa has always been divide and rule.

Lastly, President Putin had this to say about Africa: “As far as I know, Africa is more of God’s chosen continent, it’s a blessed continent and it’s time for Africans to Realise they occupy a continent which Americans, Europeans and Chinese are resentful of and hope it could be them inhabiting the area. You can’t compare African weather with any other weather”. The above statements echoed by the Russian President are indeed very true and are factually correct. It is true that westerners are envious of Africa. It is a pity to note that a non-African like President Putin can see through this façade while those who preside over the continent cannot. Yes, it’s very true that we have one of the best weather patterns in the world, but we are not taking advantage of it to generate economic activities that can benefit us. Perhaps the time has come for African people to demand to know the IQ of their would-be leaders before voting for them.

The killings of George Floyd, Collins Khoza, Steve Biko, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Andries Tetane; the list goes on, are a testament to the failure of our leadership. The guilt burden of these heinous criminal activities must not be carried by the perpetrators only. Our leaders on the continent must bear a large percentage of the responsibility for these crimes. Their submissive and subservient relationship with their former colonial masters enables the latter to treat their former colonized subjects with impunity and disrespect. The rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter” must be directed at our leaders as well.