Opinion: Double dealing will always be a means of survival for African leaders – Senoga Keefa

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The tendency of African leaders to declare how great their countries are, is a masterminded hoax. One would look at this trend as an absolute mockery to the people who are aggrieved because of the disorderliness and lawlessness in their countries.

These African leaders are only being cynical whenever they use these praising phrases while describing their nations. The extent of self-delusion by these leaders is unmatched.

Any citizen in any of these African countries can confirm that their countries are not close to being great as their leaders describe them to be.

The supposed great countries are dirty, chaotic, crafty, full of insecurities, fraud, traffic jams, moral decay, and brimming with corruption.

An ordinary road user in most African countries will not stop cursing why he belongs to his country. The behavior on the roads is totally unruly. With the kind of irresponsible and insane drivers speeding out of the lanes and blocking every corner of the road. It is worse with the kind of language they use when they disagree with their colleague drivers. 

The other nightmare on the roads is the routine of drivers of government cars using wrong traffic lanes together with the misuse of sirens. Ordinary drivers are always harassed by the security details of the VIPs convoys who force them off the roads while hitting their car bonnets and the back of their cars. With that kind of trauma, people are only getting high blood pressure in their countries.

Some public means of transport like taxis and boda-bodas are harbors for crime. Criminality such as kidnap, robbery, stealing phones and bags takes place there.

With all these experiences happening, by the time an ordinary citizen reaches his or her destination, he or she is distressed and cannot celebrate his or her country.

A father who has lost a wife and child in a maternal death because of reasons like poor medical care, poor transport, or lack of funds cannot be convinced that his country is great. Yes, death is natural but if things are appropriately done, it could leastways be dodged

It would only be cynical to tell a certain group of the youth that their country is a great one yet they have been unemployed since they graduated from the university. Jobs are offered according to who do you know and not what do you know. It is not news to fail to find the most competent person holding an important job in many African countries.

Patriotism would be the last thing to tell the youth today, a significant number of them are so fed up with their countries. A certain youth jokingly said that why doesn’t the government just pay us money and we leave their country for them. These youth are not evil or bad people because they lack the sense of patriotism for their countries but clearly, patriotism cannot be instigating in a country that is badly run and all it offers is poverty, unemployment, high taxing. President Museveni while addressing Mpigi district school teachers said that we cannot continue to teach these children cockroaches, frogs, German, and French and not teach them about loving their country. Sunday Vision, March 8, 2009

For the leaders, they will not be affected by any of these challenges because their special, self-interested activities are not marginalized and they are still catered for accordingly by the mismanagement, wrongdoing, and social inequalities.

 Like a game of disguising honesty and fairness, they will be eager and excited to label themselves off as patriots and to criticize very harshly those who disagree with them by branding them as the Judases    

An ordinary African that is facing or witnessing all these dreadful situations will obviously have a different opinion from that of his or her leader who praises his country as great because he or she is after making the people feel at ease with the mediocre leadership in the country.

Chinua Achebe noted in his book The Trouble with Nigeria that Nigerians are what they are only because their leaders are not what they should be.

Senoga Kefa.
Am a teacher and a student of journalism at Uganda Christian University.

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