Poverty- What You Didn't Know
Africa is an immensely beautiful continent. It is not just the second largest continent in terms of land mass alone but a sight for sore eyes. From the friendly weather and the amazing resources to the dazzling wildlife and stunning heritage sites, it is undoubtedly the bright and shining centre of the world.
But if majority of Africans can’t boast of good education, credible and transparent government, potable water supply, state-of-the-art public infrastructures, reliable power supply, adequate security and effective healthcare delivery like their counterparts in other continents, the question then is; what kind of beauty is the beauty of Africa?
The beauty of Africa is an imperfect mixture of faultless grandee and a patina of sanctimonious elements, of grandeur and squalor, of absolute poverty and abundant riches. And with this mixture comes debilitating diseases, preventable deaths (including infant and maternal mortalities) and disabilities.
Every day we hear of one international organisation reaching out to African countries in a bid to help them solve their countless self-inflicted woes in spite of which poverty in Africa still reigns supreme and is, as a matter of fact, painfully fanning the amber of underdevelopment and retrogression. Why is this so?
Bribery, Corruption and Nepotism
It is common knowledge that even great nations have these huge monsters within but the only difference between them and some African countries is that they tip towards the positive. They are sincere about making things work in their countries. A situation whereby a political office holder resigns or is summarily sacked when found culpable for leadership malpractices supports my claim.
But in many Africa countries, even when persecuted, these elements are often brought back after a short political sitcom to become the sweethearts of the government.
Bribery, corruption and nepotism are one of Africa’s greatest undoing and the recent scale is epic. They have become for us templates for governance. The ripple effect is the creation of a satanic garden of hell and the populace do not dare speak their minds else they would have themselves fried and fed to the dogs. And the domino effect is abject poverty.
Inept Leadership Style
The political landscape of Africa is replete with clueless leaders who would rather cling to power like leeches with no concern if the country under their authority plunges into a pit.
These groups of men with appetite for power and ambition far beyond their abilities end up creating a world where the haves brazenly plunder the treasury and the have-nots gnash their teeth in hunger, starvation, malnutrition, abject poverty and nuclear-hot-anger. This also explains why many countries in Africa are grossly misgoverned.
Political and Communal Crisis
The glows of many African countries have metamorphosed into dross and an unimaginable obscurity by the grim of political, religious and inter-tribal conflicts. It will not be overstating the fact to say that Africans have experienced the world most gruesome wars; from the Rwanda Genocide in 1994, the Itaba and Gatumba Massacre in 2002 and 2004 in that order, the Guinea clashes in 2013, the Liberian wars to the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. Scores of women, men, children and infants have been grossly raped, displaced and murdered. The question begging for answer is: who sponsors these conflicts? Did the people suddenly wake up and take arms against their fellow (hungry) citizens?
Power crazed politicians who would rather fight with a vigour far exceeding reasons do. And while they fight with their opponents, just to prove whose war head is bigger, the people bear the consequences of their shenanigans.
These factors are what make it a tad impossible for most African countries to achieve growth and development like other affluent societies despite swimming in a sea of wealth.
What is the Way Forward?
Poverty in Africa can become a thing of the past. Yes, we can achieve a society where everybody would live in peace and harmony but first thing first we need to start by selecting leaders who possess all the necessary qualities of a leader; leaders with the unstinting readiness to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people, leaders who wears their thinking caps on their heads all the time and not have them tucked away in their wardrobes, leaders who are sincere, selfless, transparent, diligent and patriotic in their service to humanity.
We don’t need leaders who would swim in the greasy gutters of corruption while the people suffer; we don’t need life-time rulers who would ensconce themselves in the best comfort money can provide while their country is transformed into an abyss of violence and pursuit of interests not in sync with the collective yearnings of the people.
Africans should, through democratically instituted platforms, shun against injustices and acts of corruption perpetuated against them by their leaders and also kick against the recycling of inept leaders, because when the chips are down we alone would face the music.
African leaders who desire to break the grip of poverty on Africa should give education the much needed attention. The majority Africans living in abject poverty are uneducated and the problem is unbearable- increase in HIV/AIDS, Malaria and increase in the number of unimmunized children.
Education should be made available and affordable, because it would enable people to think of positive ways to make their lives and the society better.
Finally, the place of even distribution of wealth in every nation cannot be misplaced. The roots of poverty would be strongly entrenched if this is not sorted out. The wealth of a nation should be made available to everyone and not placed in the hands of a few.
When the right things are done, I believe poverty in Africa will be a part of our history.