In April I wrote about the “VUCA” world depicting: Volatility; Uncertainty; Complexity and Ambiguity—an unpleasant world to be, and called upon our leadership to devise transformational strategies to effectively turn the bad “VUCA” world into one that exhibits: Vision; Understanding; Clarity; and Agility—or, precisely, into a better one. Call reiterated.
Looking at the sense of uncertainty and unprecedented nature of events today—socio-economically, and politically; as within so without—and beyond, there has never been time so urgent to call for intentional African unified solidarity than now.
As Scripture says in 1Peter 5:8, and Ephesians 4:27, we need to be “alert for our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”; and “not give the devil a foothold”. We are all one and should live as such. Our separation is but an orchestrated illusion by enemies of Africa, sadly, perpetuated by ourselves!
Long ago, whenever a lion found pastoralist Banyarwanda scattered, grazing their cattle in the jungles, unexpectedly pounced on them and/or snatched a folk, they panicked saying, “Mwegerane iramutwaye” literally, that “Gather together, it [intare/lion] has snatched him—or rather, one of us.”
Similarly, today’s uncertainty with manifold unprecedented diabolical, socio-economic, political and natural disasters indiscriminately striking and snatching us, it is no longer a matter of only the old or young, poverty stricken or illiterate at risk, but everyone.
If Covid-19 has taught us any lesson, it should be that we are all vulnerable—that we need each other; closely knit together to survive. What, then shall we say of West Africa’s recent coup d’états and Masaka machete invasions and massacres? Economically, when an idea such as building an African centre of gravity is suggested, it should not be inordinately politicized and/or snubbed as overzealous.
A centre of gravity such as is proper of a continent is the average location of that continent’s [say, Africa’s] concentrated economic activity, with outposts in other places, if preferred.
It ought to be, in this case, Africa’s economic activity nucleus. Due to shifts in economic activity in the outposts—drastic or gradual, a Centre of Gravity, too, might shift, but ultimately, economic stability remains central.
An economic centre of Gravity is tantamount to “Economic Command Centre”—an amalgamated economic activity to ensure growth and stability, and safeguard against undue global economic vagaries. Unity and integration are vital.
Chinedum Akiti-Diego, a Nigerian author, gifted me her book, “Raising Daughters in a Changing World” in which she wrote, “…The reason African nations are in the dire state they are in [sic], is that most people have been taught to focus on themselves and their kin from their youth, whilst ignoring others.
However, God designed the world in such a way that injustice to one nation is injustice to all. Which explains why nations where injustice reigns rarely advance…Imagine how much better our nation would be if we were as concerned about our neighbour’s welfare as we are about our own.”
Who enjoys living with poverty-stricken neighbours? When Uganda’s cabinet approved of building a 223km road network inside DR-Congo, some Ugandans grumbled yet Tanzania allowed Uganda to build 75 per cent of her crude oil pipeline on her land! Of course, some Tanzanians, too, clearly oblivious of accruing socio-economic and political benefits thereof, grumbled! Yes, “Charity begins at home”, but Chinedum further notes, “No country becomes great with an indifferent populace.”
Therefore, before we oppose such projects, let us consider what disadvantages lack thereof poses. Whatever affects our neighbours spills over to us.
Patrick Katagata Jr, Former MP Aspirant, Buhweju County