History is unveiling right in front of us. The US influence in the world is flagellating; Soviet Union’s Brezhnev Doctrine is getting Russia’s foreign policy back on track; China’s economic global strategy is gaining momentum; and Europe is disbanding but quickly re-staging itself once again as the epi-centre of neo-imperialism global surrogacy.
The presidency of Donald Trump in the US has changed the world, for worse or for good. What was meant to be unknown has become known, and what was meant to be known, is being suspected. Western media is in a quandary; trying hard to justify what it has hitherto, reported as truth, to what is being regarded as fake news. Conservatism is moving even far-right (even reaching its pinnacle as “Alt-right”), while liberalism struggles to keep its left-centric posturing intact. Neo-Nazism and neo-colonialism are ditching their snail-growth pace and are daggering right into the heart of morality, sanity and decency.
Author Tess Uriza Holthe has accurately narrated, “Papa explains the war like this: ‘When the elephants dance, the chickens must be careful.’” Africans have a similar adage: “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” While Trumpism is hurting the West, it may also be prescribing true liberation for Africa. The challenge is, will Africa recognize the moment or will it cower into ignorant oblivion and miss it?
How is the current state of global political structuralism posing a modern-day challenge? In three predictions, it must be stated. First, political populism is refueling historical radicalism in Western electorates who see the rise of elitism as a danger. For the most part the ruling class has neglected the majority poor while Capitalism has left the majority behind. This discrepancy has provided a chance for Socialistic agendas to vie for the mounting gap between the rich and the poor. However, because the West cannot, in all honesty, adopt Socialism owing to historical disrobement, it has been forced to choose a fomented form of populism. This ideological positioning is unclear at best and confusing at worst. The result has been the election of popular governments devoid of coherent messaging. For example, USA, Britain and Germany are at ideological cross-roads; Shakespeare will dance in his graves as a genius to the tune of Prince Hamlet’s soliloquy of: “To be, or not to be.” A boy deep into the village somewhere in India should be asking: “What do these people want? Brexit or Euronext? Nationalism or Capitalism? White supremacy or assimilationism? Anti-immigration or slavery?” Even the expressions themselves are confusing: Should America import immigrants only from the Scandinavians while Europe and America close their borders from African and Hispanic immigrants?
Second, the moderates in the West will hold strong. Nonetheless, from time to time, extremist parties will win, and within that shortest period of time, they will reverse progress, inject racist cancer into the system and reverse all the acquirement of equality.
Third, Africa will either remain the same or it will slide even further back into underdevelopment. Whether in Europe or America, whether directly discussed or not, Africa is the elephant in the room, but not the elephant in the wild. When in Europe and America the populists say, “Ours”, it mostly means “Africa not and out!” That might mean reduced investment in Africa, reduced regard for human rights violations happening everywhere, especially in dictatorial and warring regimes, mostly in Africa, and it might also mean that Africa must grow up and become a man.
Africa should start thinking for itself economically, re-engineering itself technologically, and defending itself democratically, while constantly fighting hard to remain a player in the community of nations. If Africa remains stagnant or does nothing or wills to be at the receiving end of global manumission, history will repeat itself: Its resources will be up for grabs; its raw materials will be transacted for nix; its human capital will be disparaged; its invasions and innovations will be shunned (or if there at all, stolen); and its peoples will be a treated as property of another.
The reasoning above only points to one end: Africa must not think that the elephants are playing games when they dance or fight. The chickens must be careful and the grass must be concerned.
By Charles Mwewa