Africans Can Never Change

I decided to call and congratulate my eighty four year old senior colleague, a man we all call Alhaji, a gentleman if ever there was one, during the last sallah celebrations. I expressed regret that I was unable to be at the tennis club where we all play to eat some of the ram he, as usual, brought to the club for all to share. He was pleased. We got talking about what the corona virus had done to us senior citizens. But his opinion was that we senior citizens were already house bound, hardly attending any night or day parties, weddings, travelling long distances by road and so on. We should not complain. Covid-19 has only brought out the reality of our situation.

But when I said that covid-19 will change us and our behaviour in future he was quick in insisting that ‘Africans will never change’! When later I thought about it I realised that he was only speaking the truth. Africans will be Africans. On covid-19 we are just going through the motions. Other countries go on lock down and we go on lock down. They stop their airlines from flying and we do the same. They quarantine themselves and we quarantine ourselves. They say their curve is flattening and we say our curve is flattening. Our saving grace has been that we are not picking up bodies from the streets or under the bridges. It seems that one way or the other most of us, especially those who eat from hand to mouth, those who must slog it out in the hot sun every day, the truck pushers, the market women, have developed immunity to the virus. And, in any case, some of us still think the virus is a hoax and behave as if it is. Sooner than later we will go back to our partying. We will go back to crowded funerals where we slaughter cows to entertain our friends over the death of our father or mother whom we could not look after while they were alive. We will go back to society weddings to outdo the people who wedded before. We will dance and rejoice over births and any other occasions for dancing and rejoicing is African.

Apart from the current interruption to our way of life by covid-19 things will soon come back to normal. African rulers will continue sitting tight – changing constitutions to have a third, fourth or even fifth terms. Ask Museveni of Uganda how long he has been ruling and how much longer he will be ruling. Kagame the Tutsi has been enjoying ruling Rwanda since the Hutus murdered hundreds of thousands of his tribesmen in 1994 and is enjoying the accolades of the international community for good governance. Nobody has told us who murdered his Hutu predecessor, Habyarimana. And who says Kagame will still not be there in 2030? Leadership in Equatorial Guinea is an Obiang Mbasogo family affair. Denis Nguesso has been riling the Republic of Congo since 1997. Just look round Africa to see what is happening. People rig themselves into power and cling to power. This reminds me of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, one time president of Malawi. His opponent Chimpembere gave him so much trouble that he pursued him and publicly threatened to hang him upside down, dead or alive. And Mr Chimpembere was wise enough to disappear to be heard from no more. Yahaya Jammeh, self acclaimed native doctor, ruled Gambia for twenty three years until he was chased out by the armed forces. Wise-cracking Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for forty years before he was removed.

My friend, Alhaji, is right. Africa will never change. And the recolonisation of Africa is on in a big way. China, the new colonialist, is coming on strong, giving out loans with massive strings attached to our insatiable, mainly senile, rulers to enslave our future generations. Africa Oyee!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *