Africa yearns for a new generation of leaders

Africa yearns for a new generation of leaders

May 29 2017 – THE African Democrats (TAD), a bonafide Zimbabwean political party, joins the rest of the continent in commemorating Africa Day amid rising global inequality, political and religious conflicts, collapsing to non-existent infrastructure and ballooning unemployment rates throughout the region.

Africa Day, recognised every year on May 25, should present an opportunity to all Africans (old and young) to reconnect and recommit themselves to develop a better Africa and prosperous world.

The day, according the founding documents of the then Organisation of African Union (OAU) now African Union (AU), should be marked in acknowledgement of the progress that we, as Africans, have made, while reflecting upon the common challenges we face in a global environment.

While there was a time when the generation of liberation leaders were idolized as liberation heroes, the tide is turning. Today the freedom fighter has turned the oppressor, with many draconian laws that infringe of the basic right to life for many Africans. TAD is positive that the time is now for the liberation war heroes to give the youth a chance.

The day, according to TAD, has since lost its value when the whole Africa got independent. Back in the day, Africans were supporting each other in order to end colonisation now we just watch as African countries are ruined by dictators, corruption has found home in our beloved continent, it is now just another day where banks are closed and schools are closed and an opportunity for our leaders to make those anti imperialism rhetoric.

Thankfully, the emergence of a well-informed and ambitious youth population, all countries on the continent will soon start seeing the full impact of this dynamism between a powerful, old elite and the next generation of aspiring leaders.

The liberation war heroes have made the operating political environments battle grounds, where access to resources involves compromising patterns of patronage. The political environment is simply not conducive to safe, alternative forms of political expression resulting in many young people turning to entrepreneurialism.

As political elites have much better access to all kinds of resources, new forms of tension and opportunity have emerged. These range from new political parties to novel forms of geopolitical and economic alliances forged by African youth as they create their own supra-national identity. The road to a truly democratic Africa is a tough one.

TAD, however strongly believes that the emergence of a vibrant African youth that is both agile and increasingly technocratically-equipped in ways that the African “liberation generation” were not, has the power to determine the future of the continent.

The tension between the African Liberation Generation and the new generation of leaders has forced more problems to the continent (Zimbabwe’s Mugabe, Sudan’s Bashir and the recently ousted Gambia’s Jammeh) to monopolize various social and political spaces, imposing their imaginary worldviews and fostering various forms of domestic or political abuse under the guise of protecting the sovereignty of their respective countries.

This has resulted in many African nations continue to be led by septuagenarians who often claim their political agency and legitimacy from their role in liberating their nations from colonial or neo-colonial forces. Instead of departing office when their term ends, many of these leaders have chosen to stay on a little longer – in some cases much longer.

TAD is convinced the only way forward for Africa is for a technocratically-empowered youth who have enough agency and ethical nous to interpret leadership as a form of limited and selfless service to take over now.

The onus now lies clearly in Africa’s young people to ensure that their leadership approach does not replicate the same policies of their “liberation heroes” that have stalled the democratic and economic growth of many African nations.

Africa has many fantastic stories to be told: growing economies, an increasingly sophisticated and educated workforce, dynamic sparks of entrepreneurial and cultural creativity.

TAD believes in the youth of the continent. Africa now need ideologically firm new generation that speaks and act on issues critical to total emancipation of its people. By this we mean owning and using productively the means of production such that Africa participates as an equal partner on the global market. We just have to be given the chance to lead. Watch this space. 

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