TRUTH – RECONCILIATION – UNITY
In three days of endless, mostly aimless conversation, about goings-on in Africa, a group of young Africans from different corners of the continent found a common theme. It so happened that this was the weekend that social and mainstream media was awash with images of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The social media outrage poured in, fast and furious! It was the first thing the group discussed. That conversation led to a discussion of the plague of Al-Shabaab in Kenya, Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria and the drowning of hundreds of African migrants in the Mediterranean.
Too often, we blame the government for everything bad happening on our continent. One cannot be truly African and not spend part of their Monday morning complaining about their government’s latest screw up. Placing all blame on our governments is just too easy. Politicians are an available and, almost always, guilty scapegoat.
Honestly though, isn’t it all escapism- a pleasant, albeit illusory, diversion from the reality that we ourselves are a big part of the problem? Are we as Africans committed in unity to heap all blame on governments we ourselves elect? Conveniently forgetting the niggling fact that every 4-5 years we shut down our mental factories and get caught up in the colossal farce that we call democratic elections, but is really expensive PR, lots of bribery and rigging? Do we then lock away the memory of newly humiliated opposition leaders choosing to make a mockery of our various judicial systems by suing whatever electoral body they couldn’t manipulate into taking their side? Do we realize that the circus affair we pull every election year is merely to mask what is really going on? Deep-seated ethnicity politics, where the ‘tyranny of numbers’ determines the winner even before the first vote is cast. Ha! Sad is that the above is THE BEST CASE SCENARIO. Hardly a caricature of governance in Africa today.
Post election violence. Civil warfare. Famine and hunger. Terrorist threats. The losing battle against HIV/AIDS. Bad roads. Power shortages. Xenophobic attacks against fellow Africans. Failed states. Illiteracy.
We hope to use this platform to foster amicable discussions of some of our continent’s toughest, most controversial subjects – ethnicity, ethnic chauvinism and ethnic relations – in our countries. A long-postponed discourse due to corrupt influences, vested interest, the convenience of avoiding tough subjects or simply the fear of being branded ‘tribalist’ or an inciter, we felt it was about time.
We hope that we could spread the idea that in spite of our unique ethnic origins and identities, we could work in the best interests of our nations. This site is dedicated to telling the cold hard truths we won’t tell ourselves or others — about the blatant presence of ethnic biases in national politics, about the destructive consequences of playing the ethnic card ahead of national interests, and some of the conflicts such meddling has fueled. From lived experiences to researched pieces, to nuanced opinions on ethnicity in Africa, we hope to share in the hope that sharing and broaching the topic will help in the development of our respective nations. Nations where national interests trump ethnic biases and sentiments. Akwaaba