‘African solutions to African problems’ shouldn’t be excuse for oppression and looting of resources!

I definitely do not have any objections to the concept of 'African solutions to African problems' - since, who can be better placed in addressing challenges than the one faced with such?

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


Indeed, in my own home, solutions to all the problems we encounter can only be found by those affected.

No one can, or should, ever expect to come in and imposing their own ideas and vision upon us – as that will definitely never work, but also totally unacceptable and will be rejected and resisted.

However, we still need to be extremely wary of exactly what we mean by ‘local solutions for local problems’.

When we hear nearly everyone on our continent, more so our leaders, loudly proclaiming, ‘only Africans can solve their own challenges’, or ‘we need African solutions to African problems’ – what is it that they would be clamoring for?

Are they sincerely telling both the world and the continent that we need to sit down as the people of Africa in coming to a consensus on what our challenges are, and formulating collective ideas and responses in addressing these?

When our national leaders, oftentimes angrily, declare that Africans will never accept any outside interference or imposition of solutions – will they be genuinely pushing for self-determination as the peoples of this beautiful Motherland, and seeking to protect it from unwarranted meddling, and even sowing of seeds of discord and destabilization?

I am an African, who has spent his entire life on the African continent – and, I must say, I beg to differ.

I know and fully understand – having meticulously studied our leaders – that their objectives are a far cry from their insincere public pronouncements.

What I have observed are leaders who are self-serving, without any interest whatsoever in putting their citizens ahead of themselves – and, if criticized and condemned for this unbecoming despicable behavior, usually by Western nations – they quickly lash out, and hide behind this charade of ‘African solutions for African problems’.

Their main shield of defence – instead of focusing on and addressing the issues raised – is to play the race and interference card, hoping to portray themselves as some ardent pan-Africanists, who will never brooke any ‘imperialistic’ meddling, as their countries were sovereign nations.

This has absolutely nothing to do with ‘finding local solutions for local problems’ – but rather, ‘do not expose and castigate us for abusing and repressing our poor hapless citizens, whom we have impoverished through our stealing of national resources that ought to have been shared amongst the population’.

That is the typical behavior and reaction of an abusive person.

Even within a home or marriage – the abusive or domineering partner hates any form of intervention by ‘outsiders’ in attempts at stopping the relentless torment of the other – and, the surest way for the abused spouse to get into even worse torture is by telling anyone else about the torrid pain and suffering they have to endure.

The abuser will always be desperate that his evil deeds are kept under wraps – which is why, in most cases, he will even go as far as banning his partner from any form of contact and communication with relatives and friends.

He easily becomes paranoid, as to what could be said, as well as the possible action taken against him.

That is precisely what we notice with most of these national leaders who never let any opportunity slip by without informing everyone of ‘Africans needing to come up with their own solutions to their own problems’ – whilst at the same time, warning all and sundry in the international community to keep at bay.

As I mentioned at the beginning, no one in any part of the world would be averse to finding solutions to their own challenges.

However, when this becomes a mere excuse to ward off global scrutiny and condemnation – then, that becomes unacceptable, since this would no longer be about ‘finding internal solutions’ – but, solely a desire to duck from being held to account for one’s sordid actions.

No nation is an island – and, as much as we need to ‘jealously guard’ our national sovereignty and territorial integrity – there is no way oppressive barbaric leaders can expect their brutal subjugation and corrupt tendencies, that all gravely prejudice their citizenry, to go unanswered.

Indeed, let Africa find solutions to its own challenges – but, let the world never abdicate its duties and responsibilities towards one another – by ensuring that no person is allowed to suffer or even perish at the hands of their own government.

In fact, how are a powerless people – being subjected to the most heinous, subhuman and degrading mistreatment by their more powerful, usually heavily armed, leaders – surely, be expected to be left alone (without any ‘outsiders’) to ‘find local solutions’ with their own abusers?

Would any one on this planet see any logic in that – especially, if we were to try the same thing with the example I used earlier of a home or marriage?

Africa has plenty of challenges – including, civil wars, military coup d’etat, social unrest, poverty and suffering – but, I can bet my very last dollar that most of these are caused by ruthless dictatorial leaders, who care nought about their own citizens, but prefer plundering national resources for their self-enrichment.

At the same time, any one who dares question or stand up against these nefarious activities is mercilessly dealt with – and in some cases, leading to uprisings and civil strife, by a restless and fed up population, as witnessed in parts of the continent.

As such, the only viable ‘local solutions to local challenges’ are national leaders who are held accountable by both their own populations and the international community – in ensuring that the rule of law is respected, as well as that these laws are in complete compliance with global conventions and statutes governing all human and people’s rights.

The world can no longer allow itself to be held at ransom by crooked wicked leaders – who have seen a huge opportunity in exploiting the race, imperialism and ‘interference’ card in hiding from answering for their horrendous crimes against their own people.

We now need to band together as a global village – making sure that every national leader fully understands that the world is carefully watching – and, any acts of misconduct will not go unanswered.

Playing the race or imperialism or sovereignty card will not cut it anymore!

  • Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936, or email: mbofana.tendairuben73@gmail.com

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