How much time does Africa need to level with the rest of the world? I think that depends on the determination of Africans to push for the attainment of our full potential. In the week gone by, I was among a sea of observers who were deeply intrigued by the boldness and audibility of the veteran legislator, Cecilia Ogwal (Woman Member of Parliament for Dokolo District) while participating in the European Union, and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (EU-ACP) States’ assembly in Brussels, Belgium, where she denounced threats orchestrated by the West on developing nations, and specifically Uganda-for passing a law against homosexuality.
Recall that the EU Parliament passed a resolution condemning the Parliament of Uganda for passing the anti-homosexuality Bill, and called for sanctions against the 389 MPs and religious leaders that passed and supported the Bill, into which President Yoweri Museveni breathed life when he signed it into law in May.
In her trademark “Imat style”, Ogwal got back at the EU Parliament for threatening Uganda’s sovereignty over the country’s firm defense of its culture, values, and human rights of its people, especially the children, as per its Constitution. She reminded them that the law for which they were condemning Uganda was first introduced by the British colonialists. Then why overreact when Uganda “reactivates and fine tunes” this law to suit the present? Isn’t this how we can tell that some actors have determined that whatever Africans do is considered wrong and improper but when done by others it’s okay?
I applaud Hon. Ogwal for her stance and for representing the undying Ugandan and African spirit. Upstart leaders have a lot to learn from seasoned politicians, as I have always argued. Imagine a public space devoid of such wisdom and clout! I also pay tribute to Kole North Member of Parliament, Dr. Samuel Opio Acuti, who also condemned the European Parliamentary resolution on Uganda’s Anti Homosexuality Law as an attack on the country’s sovereignty.
Days later, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, also exhibited the true Ugandan spirit when he spoke out for the equality of Africa in the United Nations Security Council which he accused of monopolizing powers over world affairs. These are hard facts that many people shy away from while others are, well, unconcerned about them or actively engaged in subverting the destiny of Africa as an equal partner in the geopolitics of the world.
Rt. Hon. Tayebwa is famous for previously telling the West not to impose its practices on Africans-especially homosexuality. Now, when we talk of leaders, these are the caliber we are talking about, in the exact mold of President Museveni who is the greatest advocate for Africa’s dignity and prowess on the international scene.
By being courageous and undaunted about Africa’s interests, speaking with one accord, and being true to ourselves, that’s how this great continent, the cradle of mankind, will rediscover its original place in the global scheme of things. Africa’s greatest undoing has always been a lack of a firm stand and, sometimes, purpose. Or waiting on “someone else” to be kind and say things on our behalf or do things on our behalf.
On another plane, Africans are guilty of double speak or betraying one another, based on greed for material benefits like the old chiefs who sold their subjects into slavery; those who compromised with imperialists for power and positions, and, nowadays, those who sell their “birthright” for visas and windfall currencies through pseudo humanitarian and charity organizations and counterfeit democracy campaigns.
Africa has been its enemy for a long! It’s a plus that the Tayebwa group said these things within the geographical boundaries of the EU, openly, in a public forum, without mincing words. Everybody heard them, and I want to believe that the EU Parliament President and all those concerned have the power to do something about the issues raised.
Nevertheless, it’s going to take unprecedented proactive and a level of sustained nagging to instigate moves that will see Africa claim its rightful place in the world. We are not going to fight, but we shall speak out, we shall mobilize, and we shall utilize our natural endowments and the surging population at our disposal to make the continent consequential.
President Museveni has severally enumerated Africa’s strengths and comparative advantages as a way to inspire optimism and thinking big among our people. As well, we have had post-colonial leaders who sounded Africa’s drum very loudly but were late down by the rawness of our populations soon after obtaining independence. Leaders such as Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Abdel Nasser, and Patrice Lumumba; tried their best within the circumstances, but could not go far. In any case, they left assignments for our generation to accomplish.
Equipped with lessons of pre-colonial balkanization, colonial-era differences, and intra-tribal and cross-tribal betrayals that played into the hands of our aggressors, and the futility of attempting to go it alone as single nations in the global economy, why can’t we just agree, even for experimentation purposes, to unite and sound a much bigger drum? How shall we account when God asks why we disobeyed His command of going forth and subjugating the world? Did He say His command was for only one kind of people when we all have the same color of blood flowing in our veins? It’s a big sin and crime for Africa to lag after being used since time immemorial. Have not learned or suffered underdog status enough?
The author is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary Contact: