Has Africa’s time finally come?

Africa RisingAlbert Einstein, the father of modern physics came up with the theory of relativity, which at its finest, resulted in man landing on the moon.

A simple definition of this theory in our practical day to day living is that we see things relative to the others. In other words, if the chicken crosses the road, did the chicken really cross the road or the road moved under the chicken.

Or, if Chuck Norris does push ups, is he really moving up and down or, in his awesomeness, he pushes the earth down and up?!

We have also made much of the fact that some people are light and others dark but the only reason the light ones are light is because of the presence of the dark ones and vice versa. If we were all one colour, there would neither be black, white, yellow, navy blue, etc.; we would just be human.

And this is where I drive my point home. Isaac Newton said that if he had seen further, it was because he had stood on the shoulder of giants.

We are what we are and where we are as a result of the global effort of different nationalities and races. No one race or nationality can claim credit for everything it possesses. That is why any approach that is based on segregation ultimately crumbles; we were never meant to function, as human beings in a vacuum.

Throughout history, we have seen the rise of different kingdoms, from the Jewish, Persian, Egyptian, Roman, Greek, British,Japanese, German, American and to now the Chinese Empire. The question is, which empire was better and can say all it has was a result of nothing but its own isolated technology, philosophy and science?

All these empires, kingdoms and nationalities are were they are because of what their predecessors passed on to them.

The world has become a global village and the world is moving towards integration. Every people, race, nationality and continent must sit at the global table and present what its contribution is to the advancement of human kind, but while that is happening, let not one say to the other we are better than you and we don’t need you. Remember, did the chicken cross the road or the road crossed the chicken. Wait; even if it crossed the road, another chicken gave birth to that chicken and most likely that chicken is a result of generations of cross breeds. So ultimately, does it matter that this particular chicken finally crossed the road, or the fact that the chicken race, represented by this chicken, finally crossed the road?

If we all reach out and try to find each other, and our various contributions towards our future as humanity, there would be less wars, hunger and starvation in the world.

Let us celebrate our diversity and recognise each other as equals; none superior; none inferior. If inequalities persist, they must be corrected, not because of inferiority or superiority but simply because of humanity.

The fact that I was born earlier than my daughter, who is four months old, does not mean I can brag and say I know more than her and therefore I am smarter. Maybe one day she will prove to be smarter than I am; its just a matter of time.

My last thought is this; we have learnt that a seed can withstand all sorts of punishing physical elements, without dying or germinating, but dormant because the conditions are not yet right. In this case, chronological time does not actually matter nor say anything; it’s all about the conditions not being hospitable or right for it to germinate. All it takes is one day,when the rain falls, for that same seed to turn into a tree. The trees that germinated long before this one can therefore not say, this one was weaker; it all had to do with the timing (kairos) and not the kronos (time).

This perspective is critical in understanding humanity.

It explains why empires rose when they rose and fell when they did but it was not all about who is the smarter people.

Much has been said about Africa and Africans being sleeping giant but we have not had such unprecedented focus on us before, for economic reasons. Ten of the thirteen fastest growing economies are in Africa.

We have leading innovators and some of the word’s richest people hailing from Africa. Even through the ages, our contribution to society has been remarkable already. But has Africa’s kronos finally come? Is it now the season of the rise of the African Game Changer?

And this is my understanding of Einstein’s theory of relativity, from a layman’s perspective.

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Game Changers: Inspiration to change your world

Game Changers CoverIn Game Changers, Raymond presents his ground breaking philosophy on the art of changing the game. He also uses his personal experience to illustrate how this approach helped him win victory out of crushing defeat. Skilfully weaving his theory through business, academia, sport, religion, politics, nature and even cosmology, he makes a compelling case for the need to leave a legacy. Raymond pays homage to the current rising of Africa to take its rightful place on the global stage by dedicating the last chapter of this book to the African Transformation cause and the change agents driving it. This book is a must for every aspiring game changer.

http://www.amazon.com/Game-Changers-Inspiration-change-ebook/dp/B00CZ7NV4I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369753387&sr=1-1

African Transformation: Towards a True African Identity I

I admit it. I have been very scarce; in fact too scarce. A lot of things have been taking place in my life and I needed to see them through while developing new material in the process. I guess it was a good break. I like to implement what I write as well and that is the beautiful part about my blog. If there is one person more inspired than everyone else by my writing, it is me. I believe that with all my heart.

And over the past six months I began to separate things that were truly important to me and those that were not. I began to think a lot about the kind of life I wanted to live going forward, my legacy and how I was going to achieve it. I wondered what kind of a wife and family I would want for myself as I prepared for this phase of my life. In short, I did a lot of soul searching to answer this question; who am I?

Who am I? That question lies at the very heart of my identity and yours. And as I think about the solutions to the African challenges acknowledged in previous articles in the African Transformation series, I understand that it must all start with addressing the issue of identity. It must start with you and me. There is no African Transformation without yours and my transformation. It has to be a holistic transformation. We are the building blocks of this 900 million continental population.

I think the question of who or what is an African is one of the most hotly contested in the African Transformation agenda. Thabo Mbeki wrote his famous ‘I am an African’ poem which has gone on to achieve cult status. And in it he dealt with the issue of identity.

The issue of identity must be dealt with because before you establish what you will do in life, you need to know who you are. It informs why you do the things you do. Unfortunately, in our modern world, without knowing and being very comfortable in your identity, you will find that an identity will promptly be given to you. And you tend to become who they say you are because you begin to believe it. It won’t be long before you start acting the way someone carrying your identity should act. And do you know why? Because identity is closely tied to your self esteem.

I noticed something very strange. For most of my life, I have lived alone. It wasn’t until recently that I began to live with people from time to time. When I moved into my current pad, I found nothing in there, except a renovated and fresh-paint smelling house. Then I cleaned the place out and moved in with my furniture. I kept moving furniture around and buying more until I had satisfied myself that I had exactly the outcome I wanted. In other words, I didn’t rest until I felt like the place was more…me. Identity. Hold that thought. It’s about to get interesting.

Then I began to have visitors. They always use the guest bedroom. Of course I would go in every morning and greet them and make small talk before going to work. Overtime, I realized I didn’t want to go in there anymore. I felt strange. The place was changing into something else! It was no longer the same place! I began to gasp! My throat dried up! This couldn’t be happening! I needed a glass of water, quick! Somebody call 911! *Movie-type suspense music in the background!!!!* What was the problem? You want to know? Well, suddenly my place just didn’t feel like…me. Identity.

What am I trying to say? Whether you are conscious of it or not, you carry your own identity with you everywhere you go. And you recreate who you are on the inside on the outside. If you want to look at what is going on inside a person, just look at the environment they have created around themselves because your identity has an environment in which it needs to be nurtured and grow into more and more of itself. See the danger in that? An addict becomes more and more addicted because he keeps on recreating an environment that natures his addiction. Equally true, a musician becomes better and better at his art by recreating music everywhere. That is why both are where they are. People recreate their identities. There is a popular saying that when people move, they move with their clothes, furniture, vehicles and …rodents. Truer words have not been spoken.

In view of the foregoing, the issue of identity cannot be left to others to define for you. You will try to live your life in other people’s realities and will constantly try to be them. If you are lucky you will get frustrated to the point where you cast aside other people’s identities and mould your own. Only then will you begin to experience true satisfaction and make a positive impact as your Creator intended.

That is why, as you begin to evaluate your identity, you must look at that critical component of the process of forming one; self esteem. Let’s unpack this one.

According to Wikipedia, Self-esteem is a term in psychology to reflect a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. It is conceptualized as an attitude toward the self and is similar to a judgment of oneself. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, “I am competent”, “I am worthy”) and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame. The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, the positive or negative evaluations of the self, is how we feel about it’.

According to the above definition, and loosely, your self esteem is an evaluation of your identity. If who you think you are is evaluated by yourself in a negative way, you will have a low self esteem. If who you think you are is evaluated in a positive way, you will have a high self esteem. And we know that depending on the state of your self esteem, you can go near or far in life. If you believe you are not worthy it, you will begin to recreate that feeling on the outside and before long, you will be treated like you are not worthy it. Deep calls unto deep. Shallow never calls unto deep.

Depending on who you have defined yourself to be you can have a happy life or a depressed life. You can smile and have fun here and there but as long as the issue of your identity and therefore self esteem has not been settled, you will look for it in the wrong places and will constantly be frustrated. I have learnt to vigorously defend against anything that encroaches on my self esteem because it won’t be long before my evaluation of my identity becomes negative and before long I have to change into something I am not and that is not necessarily beneficial to me. My point is, we need to form our own identity based on a number of factors, form a healthy evaluation and opinion of that identity and use that confidence in ourselves to move forward in life, recreating that state of affairs in ourselves on the outside. We will then tend to attract more and more of what we have on the inside.

And so the question to be asked is, who are you? Who am I? What constitutes my identity? If I continue to hold the same opinion and evaluation of myself as I do, where am I likely to be five years from now? How about ten years? Am I going to have the kind of career I want? What about the kind of family I desire? What about my friends? Am I likely to go through life happy or depressed? And if you don’t like the answers you are getting my friend, it is time for a reality check. Check who or what is giving you your identity. Whose philosophy are you following? Is there an incident you are holding onto that is a source of a negative identity of yourself? Is it like a spring bringing forth bitter waters continuously and poisoning everything in your life?

As I wrap up this article let me bring it all together now. I love it when a plan comes together.

When the Europeans came to Africa, their ability to conquer Africans was based on their ability to convince us Africans that they were superior to us and therefore we needed to give up everything in order to try and be like them. As we gave up everything, including our resources, trying to be them, we woke up one day to find that we had lost our inheritance and up to now we are fighting to regain it. They messed with our identity until we loathed ourselves for being Africans. I heard a funny story about how the Europeans came and said to us, “Let’s close our eyes and pray.” When we opened our eyes, we had the bible and they had the land.

If you want to mess with a person, mess with their identity!

Therefore, as an African, the first place you want to start from is settling this issue that there is nothing wrong with being born on African soil. You are who you are. You can’t change that, even if you wanted to. Once you accept your African identity, and I am not necessarily saying African culture, you have started on the journey to Personal Development. As you go out there in the global village then, you are not afraid of being exterminated for being an African but you will proudly make a difference while telling them your surname is Mukonoweshuro!

Forming a true African identity, as opposed to forming an expedient African identity (as eloquently expounded and cleverly manipulated by politicians) and its role in the global village is the subject of part two of “Towards a True African Identity”.

5000 Blog Hits: A Toast to Destiny!

When I felt compelled, ten years ago, to cancel that flight just four days from date of departure, I should have known I was being set up. Like everyone else, I wanted to immigrate to the UK and make my ‘pound’ of fortune. I had even dropped out of university, intending to carry on when I got there. It was a perfectly logical move considering that virtually all my siblings and their families lived there. But it was not meant to be. And the question I had at the time was why I could not bring myself to do this. This was an all expenses paid relocation, not even a cent was required from me, so why did I feel this check in my spirit?

Well I know now. One word. Destiny. And this blog had a lot to do with me discovering my destiny, which explains why I am writing an article in celebration of 5000 hits. Oh I am so excited! Let me explain.

When I started this blog, it was really out of curiosity to find out what blogging was all about, so I decided to write a couple of articles centred around what mankind could do to alleviate undesirable conditions, to promote growth and development and also to inculcate a sense of purpose, vision and destiny in the minds of people, particularly within the African context. That was as far as I could see at the time!

Talent vs. Purpose

I have always known I was a talented writer because I wrote my first book, called Dracula at the age of seven, complete with pictures! By the time I was in grade 7, I had written a full fledged thriller novel. Along the way I notched up a couple of impressive accolades as well. At that time talent was at work. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my talent nor why it had been given to me. I certainly never imagined that my talent was the one thing that would eventually open the door to my destiny.

As I continued writing on this blog, I became more aware of the issues I was writing about and realised that I had created a platform for myself and others to share our views and hopefully change a few mindsets. But I also realised that I needed to start thinking about the need to dispense my thoughts, philosophies, faith and all things related through a formal structure so that instead of just writing about them, I start adding actions and implementing my solutions.

In retrospect, I realize that it was at this point that I transcended talent and walked into my purpose; the true purpose for my talent and for the blog. It was all meant to make me a change agent. Writing on my blog revealed my purpose but more of that later.

Exercise Your Gift in Love

The point I am driving home is that if you are determined to establish your purpose and destiny but cannot seem to figure them out, the best starting point is to do what you love. You are not necessarily doing this for the money; you are just doing something you know you are talented at and that you love. Start doing that very thing. If you stick at it long enough you will begin to discover that your eyes will be opened to how you can use your talent to develop your purpose. Once you have established your purpose, it will then take you to your destiny. This is very important.

A Toast to Destiny

So I had become very clear about my purpose in life. It didn’t matter what I did or where I did it and who I did it for; the bottom line is I knew I was born to change the game and to inspire others to change their own game through the sum total of my work. This was my purpose and this is still my purpose in life; to change the game and to raise game changers. That can be broken down into different sections but I will not go into that. I am just trying to make a point.

As I began to think of ways to implement and live out my purpose using, not just my writing talent but every other talent I had, I became aware that I had to move on from purpose to destiny. I knew my talents. I knew why I was here. But where was I going? What was my destiny?

Game Changers

It was then that I decided to found an organisation called Game Changers for purposes of facilitating my destiny. Game Changers is my destiny because through the work I am doing and that I will continue to do using it as a vehicle, I will utilize all my talents, my knowledge, experiences and wisdom undergirded by purpose to live out my vision of changing the game, inspiring and raising game changers.

Game Changers is not my career; it is my destiny. There is a big difference between the two. A career is what pays your bills. Destiny is what you were created for; the sum total of your talents, abilities and efforts all bound together by your purpose in this life. When you are living out these things fully, you are living in destiny.

I see an opportunity to bring answers to Africa’s needs, particularly with regards to poverty eradication and economic transformation.

Game Changers’ Philosophy

My philosophy is that in order to see this kind of transformation, which should establish Africa as a prosperous continent, we need to change the way we think, one person at a time, particularly at the very influential levels.

We start of by developing people personally so that they are liberated from a poverty mentality and start believing in themselves instead of waiting for politicians to set them free. This is called Personal Development. Politicians are no better than the rest of us; they are just elected people but they are the same people we grew up with. How do they suddenly hold the answers to every problem we have? See my point? What they need, together with the rest of us is Leadership Development. This means we develop and propagate leaders out of ordinary people in addition to  teaching people the mechanics of leadership. There is a difference between Leader Development and Leadership Development.

As people begin to take charge of their lives at the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical levels, and as they train themselves to exercise leadership over their finances, careers, social responsibilities and organisations that they lead, we will begin to see a move towards a prosperity mentality.

Tied to these is the need to observe and uphold Human Rights and Good Governance. You can’t have good governance without upholding human rights; it would be an oxymoron. A good government upholds human rights, particularly the sanctity of life. As good governance flourishes and the citizens of a nation are developed in their thinking and leadership philosophy, we will witness more entrepreneurial activity which eventually leads to economic transformation. Just create a conducive atmosphere where people are not afraid to pursue entrepreneurial projects in anticipation of monetary gains and Entrepreneurial Economic Transformation will flourish.

As we develop at every area, the net result is that African Transformation will take place. There is no African Transformation without African Prosperity; that would be false transformation.

So Bon Voyage

This is my own story; what is yours? As you read, it really all started with just a talent which led me to my purpose, which then took me to my destiny. I feel like I have just started my life in earnest.

So bon voyage as you seek out your own destiny but remember it all starts with doing what you love, what you are gifted at and before long your purpose will be revealed and it will take you straight to your destiny!

And to every reader who has ever placed a hit on my blog and thus helped me achieve my goal, a heartfelt thank you for your support. I wish you all the best in your own endeavors.

African Transformation III: The Case for Change

So, having researched and acknowledged the myriad of challenges Africa faces, we have to start asking ourselves this question. Can the face and story of Africa be changed and if yes, why do we say so? And that is the question to be answered before we get to the how part.

I believe that the story of Africa can be changed and is changing. There is anecdotal empirical evidence of this change throughout the African continent but that will not do the whole continent any good if that positive change affects those few bright spots. Africa must needs be transformed as a whole for us to proclaim total liberation and success from our painful past.

I did a bit of research about nations that have changed and how they did it. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how possible it is to be transformed from a nation of poverty to one of prosperity. That alone gives me hope before we even get to the more intricate issues of the African resilience, endurance and survival instinct in the face of formidable challenges.

So let’s begin.

The Korean Case

One of the most intriguing but tragic stories of our time is that of the Korean people. It is important to note that the Koreans were really one people sharing 5000 years of history and culture, who became victims of a proxy war between the Capitalits and the Communists.

According to Wikipedia, “The Korean War was primarily the result of the political division of Korea by an agreement of the victorious Allies at the conclusion of the Pacific War at the end of World War II. The Korean peninsula was ruled by the Empire of Japan from 1910 until the end of World War II. Following the surrender of the Empire of Japan in September 1945, American administrators divided the peninsula along the 38th parallel, with U.S. military forces occupying the southern half and Soviet military forces occupying the northern half. The failure to hold free elections throughout the Korean Peninsula in 1948 deepened the division between the two sides; the North established a communist government, while the South established a capitalist one.”

So that’s how one people became divided into two mortal enemies to the present day.

In his book, “The Shackled Continent” Robert Guest paints a horrendous picture of the dire straits Korea found itself in.
“Korea, for example, was annexed by Japan in 1910 and freed only when America dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While they ruled Korea, the Japanese colonists tried to destroy the local culture and to cow the population into servitude. They banned the Korean language, barred from universities and systematically desecrated the country’s most sacred hilltop shrines. They shipped young Korean men to Japan to provide forced labour in mines and munitions factories, or conscripted them to serve the Imperial army. They drafted more than 100,000 Korean women, some as young as twelve to serve as sex slaves in military brothels. And the ordeal did not end with liberation. Soon after the colonists left, Korea was plunged into a civil war that cost a million lives and split the country in two.”

That really is a tragic story but here is the interesting thing; at the end of the Korean Civil War in 1953, South Korea was as poor as Ghana, which declared independence from Britain in 1957. As at 2004, South Korea was twenty times richer than Ghana. Just fifty years made that much difference!

The point I am trying to make is that no matter how oppressed and plundered we might feel as Africans, we have no excuse for not rising out of the ashes and quickly too. It’s really up to us to formulate policies and implement programs that are carefully thought out and that can bring true transformation to our continent. The South Koreans did it.

Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore are all ex-colonies of Japan that have gone on to become spectacular success stories. What is our excuse?

What is even more interesting is that fifty years after the end of the Korean civil war, South Korea is at least ten times richer than North Korea. The problems of North Korea are well publicized; famine, hunger, dictatorship and the list goes on. While South Korea adopted a Capitalist approach, North Korea adopted Communism and the results are there for all to see. Whether Communism or Capitalism works is neither here nor there.

Whether in Africa, Europe or Asia, ultimately, it is in the power of citizens to pull themselves out of the quagmire of failure and into prosperity through the kind of philosophy, values and culture that they inculcate into their thinking and implement.

Congruently, change is possible in Africa but we have to change the way Africa thinks.

The Case of East and West German

As a result of the Cold War, Germany was split into East and West. Fifty years later, West German was four times richer than East Germany.

The Case of Botswana and Zambia

At independence in 1960, Zambia was Africa’s second richest country and Botswana had virtually nothing until the discovery of diamonds after independence in 1967.
Nationalization of copper mines and bad economic policies resulted in Zambians progressively becoming poorer after independence as compared to before.

“When diamonds were discovered in 1967, a year after independence, Botswana was among the ten poorest countries in the world. Now, because it supplies 22% of the world’s total output (in value) of rough diamonds, it is a middle-income country with a GDP of nearly $14,000 a head at purchasing-power parity. Diamonds produced by Debswana, a joint venture between Botswana’s government and De Beers, the world’s biggest rough-diamond trading company, account for a third of the country’s GDP, half of its public spending and three-quarters of its foreign earnings.” http://www.economist.com/node/14707287

And it can be argued that the secret was good governance and efficient fiscal and monetary policy implementation.
So there we have it; two countries in Southern Africa with completely different economic trajectories. I know this is a very simplistic view of the issue but globally it supports my argument that through implementation of sound policies, the story of Africa can change.

The Case of Israel

As late as the 1940s, Jews had no country of their own. They were scattered throughout the world and in most cases were not wanted there.
In order to fully comprehend the miracle of the resurrection of Israel, we have to take a crash course in the history of its troubled past.
According to the Torah, God promised land to the three Patriarchs of the Jewish people, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. On the basis of scripture, the period of the three Patriarchs has been placed somewhere around 2000 years BC.

The first Kingdom of Israel was established around the 11th century BC. Subsequent Israelite kingdoms and states ruled intermittently over the next four hundred years.

After the fall of the Northern Kingdom, the Muslims conquered and occupied Israel for a period of over 1500 years. After that, the region came under Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Sassanid, and Byzantine rule. In the year 635, the region, including Jerusalem, was conquered by the Arabs and was to remain under Muslim control for the next 1300 years. Control of the region transferred between the Umayyads, Abbasids, and Crusaders throughout the next six centuries, before being conquered by the Mamluk Sultanate, in 1260. In 1516, the region was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, and remained under Turkish rule until the 20th century.

Because of persecution and rejection wherever they went, Jews longed to return to the land of their inheritance. The nation of Israel was indeed founded but not before the Holocaust claimed over 3 million Jewish lives. To fully understand this atrocity and its effect on the Jewish nation, consider that the population of Israel stands at just over 7 million today. You can be sure in the 1940s, it was a lot less.

On 29 November 1947 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the adoption and implementation of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union as Resolution 181 (II).

On 14 May 1948, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency declared, “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel”

In 60 years, Israel has had to endure 7 wars including one a day after declaring independence. But just 60 years later Israel has risen to become the regional superpower in the Middle East, is a nuclear power and is at the forefront of technological advancement.
Israel is producing the highest number of patented innovations annually in the world, more than twice what even the USA is producing. All the big technology companies want to be or are in Israel, including Google, Microsoft and Intel. Even warren Buffet, the apostle of risk aversion and one of the wealthiest men in the world has invested in Israel.

Just sixty years to establish a country from scratch to a success story the world over!

Conclusion

I believe I have made my point.

To change Africa, we have to change the individual blocks building it; yours and my country. If we can change our way of thinking as blocks building individual countries, we know the transformation of Africa has started in earnest.

Many countries have changed their story. A people, based on attitude, culture and ideology,can either harm or enhance the destiny of their nation. Africa’s countries are no exception.

The call is for citizens to seek greater participation in influencing policies that shape the future of their nations instead of leaving it to politicians. A lot is at stake here. If we can transform first, countries and second regional blocks, we can, third, transform Africa.

South Koreans changed their story out of the ashes of civil war. West Germany is presently Europe’s economic superpower. Botswana is one of the most stable countries in world. Israel has built a superpower out of nothing in just 60 years and South Africa has cast aside the throngs of apartheid and maintains its status as the economic powerhouse of Africa, contributing more than a quarter to Africa’s Gross Domestic Product and leaving the rest of the 50 plus nations to share the balance.

Africa can be changed. But our countries need to change first. And for them to change, Africans need to change the way we think.
What happens at the microcosm can be projected and can happen at the macrocosm.

Stop This Man: Joseph Kony

It’s not every day that you meet a person fighting for no discernible cause in the most violent and despicable of ways. Sometimes you hear the most absurd reasons for launching an insurgence but there is one guy I just cannot figure what his agenda is and why he has chosen to implement the methods of warfare he uses. His name is Joseph Kony.

The Facts

Joseph Kony carries the notorious dishonour of being the first man ever to be indicted by the International Criminal Court in 1995 for crimes against humanity.

On his watch, hundreds of thousands of people, among them women and children have been killed. Kony and his thugs, going by the name the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have raped and mutilated civilians, abducted more than thirty thousand children to be used as child soldiers in the case of young boys and sex slaves in the case of young girls. Some of them are also used in rituals. The LRA is notorious for slicing off ears, noses, lips and chopping off hands of victims.

These victims are totally defenceless as they are civilians. On many occasions, would be peace brokers have tried in vain to understand just what it is this man is fighting for. His answer? The implementation of the Ten Commandments in Uganda. So he is fighting for the implementation of the Ten Commandments by going against everything the same Ten Commandments teach. This man is nothing more than a demented psychopath!

What makes this man so evil is his preference for abducting children. Is it because they are the most vulnerable? The most defenceless? The most pliable, mentally? The least likely to escape? Maybe. But why force them to kill their own parents?

The Machine Gun Preacher

Machine Gun Preacher is a movie detailing the story of a man called Sam Childers, who left a prospering construction business to rescue and nurture LRA abducted children in Southern Sudan. Sam had lived a life of violence, drug abuse, drug dealing and sleeping with married women all at a young age. In the early 90s he gave his life to Christ and in 1992 in an Assemblies of God Church meeting, his Pastor prophesied that he was going to Africa.

That prophecy came true in 1998 when he visited a village called Yei in Southern Sudan to help repair huts damaged during the ongoing Second Sudanese War.

Returning several months later, he established a mobile clinic in Yei. Seeking to fulfil God’s call on his life, Sam built an orphanage in a warzone along the Ugandan border in a village called Nimule. With the orphanage finished, Sam began to conduct armed raids into LRA territory to rescue abducted children from the jaws of hell.

13 years later the orphanage has rescued and raised over 1000 orphans.

Gerald Butler stars as Sam Childers in this movie based on Sam Childer’s Biography, Another Man’s War.

The Contrast

One man’s mission is to plunder, kill, destroy, rape and mutilate hundreds of thousands of fellow Africans and an American comes to the scene with no direct obligation whatsoever to those civilians yet takes this cause upon himself even to the point of risking his own life to rescue these war victims. The contrast could not be starker.

About three years ago, I wrote about this issue under the topic “Statistically Insignificant” on this blog. I said then that what was needed to remedy that environment of despair in Africa was for humanity to take this cause of ensuring the upholding of human rights seriously. One unnecessary death in one death too many. One rape, especially child rape is one rape too many. One child soldier is one child soldier too many. We cannot afford to fold our arms and just feel sorry when lives are at stake. You can read the article here:

http://raymondkasinganeti.com/2009/05/18/statistically-insignificant/

http://raymondkasinganeti.com/2009/06/12/statistically-insignificant-ii/

That is why in my own small way I have decided to feature this infamous criminal, Joseph Kony, to bring awareness to what is happening in the world out there so that those who are looking for a cause to adopt can also consider this one. I chose to bring awareness of such issues through my blog and hope that one day I will even contribute financially and otherwise to such worthy causes.

Current Efforts to Capture Joseph Kony

In October 2011, US President Barack Obama authorised 100 armed military advisers to assist Uganda in the search for the leadership of the LRA. During the Bush administration, the US also sent counterterrorism advisers to Uganda to train troops and provided millions of dollars worth of funding to the Ugandan army.

In early March, the US-based charity group Invisible Children released a video which it says “aims to make Joseph Kony famous to raise support for his arrest”. The video went viral with over 74-million views on Youtube in a matter of days. You can view the video here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/invisiblechildreninc/featured

Kony has not been seen in Uganda for at least six years. It’s estimated that the LRA, which continues to operate in South Sudan, the DRC and Central Africa Republic now has no more than 400 members left. At its peak it had over 10,000 armed militia.

The net is closing in on Joseph Kony and very soon he shall face the wrath of the law.

People like Joseph Kony give Africa a very bad name. Africa can do without people like him and indeed no effort should be spared in ridding ourselves of such satanic agents.

African Transformation: The Problem with Africa III

AIDS and other sicknesses

I wrote a bit about the devastating effect of AIDS in Africa. What I did not mention is that statistics show us that the disease strikes mainly the productive income groups. This naturally creates more poverty which in turn aggravates HIV spread due to lack of access to proper information, protection and treatment by ARVs.

Ethnicity

In the 90s, 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in 6 weeks, in Rwanda. All that capital exterminated in less than 2 months? Rwanda holds the repulsive record of the fastest genocide in the world as a result. It has taken Rwanda a very long time to recover psychologically and economically in the aftermath. Very powerful people used their influence to inflame ethnic hatred by making it appear as if they were competing for very scarce economic resources and thus creating an us or them scenario. Needless to say this impoverished Rwanda immensely and set them back a few decades in terms of holistic development as a country.

We have seen the ethnic tensions manipulated in a lot of African countries. Even here is South Africa, who can forget the Inkatha/ANC wars in the locations and in the hostels.

Aid and Trade

Studies have shown that foreign aid by itself has not improved the economic performance of the recipients probably because it focuses on poverty alleviation instead of eradication. The reason for that is that sometimes that aid is spent bankrolling policies that favour a few at the expense of the masses. Some of the time, governments really mean well but only discover too late how counterproductive those policies are.

Between 1980 and 1986, Africa was the world’s most aided continent yet Gross Domestic product fell by an average of 3.4% per annum.

Trade barriers both inter and intra Africa have ensured the lagging behind of Africa developmentally. We know that Africa has more fertile lands, abundant sunshine and cheap labour as compared to Europe. That would mean the cost of producing agricultural goods in Africa should be cheaper and therefore we should compete favourably on the international market but sadly, that is not the case.

According to Marian Tupy in Reclaiming Africa, in 2001, subsidies on agricultural production in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries came to about US$347 billion.

Someone illustrated it this way. A cow in England gets US$20 per day in subsidies while a child in some part of Africa lives on 50c per day!

African countries make it more expensive to trade between themselves than between one African country and another European country.  How in the world are we supposed to develop and catch up with the rest of the world?

Difficulty of Doing Business in Africa

For the longest of time Africa was considered (still is considered) a high risk investment destination though that is changing with the emergency, in some countries, of better governance and economic policies favourable to investment and business growth.

This has resulted in Africa trailing behind the rest of the world in terms of technological advancement, entrepreneurship and development of new industries.

A typical businessman’s experience trying to do business in Africa invariably includes experiences with bad roads, demands for bribes, power cuts, red tape(even against local companies)  and so forth.

Foreign investors are out for a quick return in Africa due to the perceived high political risk. Except in a few countries like South Africa and Botswana, many of them are not willing to commit long term. The result is they come, do business, harvest as much as they can and ship it off to their motherland and there are no sustainable economic gains as a result. Unemployment remains where it was.

The slow pace of technological advancement also means that business is retarded. In a world where information technology is key, some parts of Africa have yet to use a cellphone. This also presents colossal opportunities for entrepreneurs but more of that later.

Politics

You would be shocked to know that in some instances those wielding the levers of power, both political and economic, are reluctant to allow the status quo to change as long as it benefits their bottom line. People can fight tooth and nail just to maintain control of resources within a clique of the chosen few. The result is that only the few benefit but the masses get impoverished more and more. The policies enacted are for the benefit of those few and policies that would really benefit the nation are sometimes placed on the back burner. This is an unfortunate reality.

Structurally, the cold war also contributed to the continued impoverishment of Africa. Africa became a pawn in the ideological game between the Communist/Socialist Block and the Western Block. As a result of the funding activities of both blocks to their preferred parties in African countries, civil wars became inevitable or got prolonged, a case in point being the western funded UNITA against the Communist funded MPLA in Angola. The war itself dragged for almost 3 decades and thousands of Angolans lost their lives.

The end of the cold war witnessed the withdrawal of readily available aid from both the capitalist West and the Communists, with the fall of the Soviet Union. Africans were suddenly and without warning, left to their devices. No proper support had been put in place to cushion the governments against the fall out. This is what eventually led to the demise of presidents like Mobutu Sese Seko whom the West no longer needed because the cold war was over. Left to his devices, it was not long before he was deposed from power. Savimbi suffered the same fate because the CIA which was funding him also left him to meet his fate, which came when he was killed in combat in 2002, almost 10 years after the end of the Cold War, effectively ending the civil war in Angola.

Sometime you have to wonder who really writes the African script.

I could go on and on but I think the points raised above suffice.

The question is, “Where to Africa?”