Think of the slave trade (human trade!). Think of human labour valued in terms of money (salary, wage, etc.) Why? Because 'greed' and 'selfishness' have been sanctified by the theory and concept of scarcity! The weak or ‘have-nots’ are told that resources are scarce. This is to discourage them from claiming them as rights, so that the ‘haves’ can continue to amass! If resources are scarce, why allow - by the hooks and crooks of laws and contracts - a few to amass wealth? Indeed, it is the law of greed at work.
As a result of greed and selfishness being legalized through those who have the power of property, politics (which gives you power!) has also become a commodity. Indeed, in Africa the general elections have become giga-supermarkets where the electoral ballot has become the medium of exchange. Since the majority of the voters are very poor in their civic consciousness, they get conned! The politicians buy them off with the political menu traditionally known as 'election manifesto'! The most traditional political parties have become corporates, with their chairpersons as CEO's roaming from one constituency to another shopping for expectations of the electorates with the currency of promises!
We Africans, have been duped into this shopping game (that deceives us that we ‘always win'!) –and has shelves that are full of the so-called 'democratic goodies.' We buy them with our African identity, and have almost become up-rooted! The best proof for this is the fact that we more often than not make reference to the wise or philosophers of the West and Greece but not to our sagacious wise philosophers of the African ancestral schools, the likes of Shaka Zulu, Mkwawa, Mirambo, Mangi Sina, Lusinde, Mazengo, Tambaza, Nyerere, Kaunda, Kenyatta, Mandela, Nkrumah, Haile Selassie, and many others.
We have been made to believe that Western wisdom was born in the West! The latest historical fundamental theories all point out that the ancient Greeks got the wisdom from ancient Egypt where science and technology were so advanced that pyramids could be built with architectural precision which has never been achieved, per square meter pro rata!!!
The only way out is to inaugurate Africa’s next phase of liberation after the political one, namely African Economic Liberation Movement (AFRELIMO). The spirit is now already in the making, it requires incarnation, whose climax will be the creation of African National Economic Liberation Committees in each of the 52 countries.
The birth of these Committees should take place in 2017 in Arusha, the Golden Jubilee of the Arusha Declaration, a declaration not surpassed anywhere in Africa. It is a declaration which fired the political liberation of all countries in Southern Africa; and is now inspiring some countries in Latin America.
The time is ripe now in Africa for an ethic-intellectual revolution! A revolution in terms of critiquing the obsolete and irrelevant models and paradigms of socioeconomic development. These paradigms and models have created the monsters we call 'global warming', 'anthropological poverty', 'resources greed', 'economic meltdown', 'capital flight', 'grand corruption', 'moral decadence', 'weapons of mass destruction', 'cultural commodification', 'neo-colonial democracy', and 'creepy globalization.' All these monsters are now pestering the continent of Africa because of our continent's virgin richness of its natural resources, and the African peoples' generous but naive simplicity!
This ethic-intellectual revolution should begin among us intellectuals with a vowed commitment. A commitment which is characterized by the spirit of the African Independence Founding Fathers, namely Kaunda, Kenyatta, Nyerere, Nkrumah, Mandela, Nasser, Selassie, Mugabe, Obote, Lumumba; together with the ancestral heroes of the kind of Mkwawa, Shaka, Milambo, Mangi Sina, Luthuli, and the rest. Such a spirit was founded on resistance: to resist any kind or form of degrading, exploiting and raping the African humanity and its geo-ecological haven on the continent. The intellectuals in Africa should revive the African critical spirit that was incarnated by the founding fathers and ancestral heroes through the struggle for the liberation of Africa.
Today, all intellectuals are called upon to make use of their critical conscientiousness and ethical drive to resist the various manifestations of the monsters mentioned before. Resistance of these manifestations means committing oneself and together as a clan of revolutionaries and shout out the following whenever we are given the opportunity to speak:
1. We resist the abusive exercise authority that monopolizes power and prohibits transformation.
2. We resist the forces that create and perpetuate poverty, ignorance, disease, corruption and greed or accept these as inevitable or ineradicable.
3. We resist the denial of rights to any racial, ethnic, caste or indigenous groups, and the exploitation of women, youth and children.
4. We resist the structures of patriarchy that perpetuate violence against women and girls; which exclude their full participation in family and society.
5. We resist policies that deny freedom of expression; that concentrate the communication power in the hands of a few.
6. We resist doctrines of national security based on the use of weapons of mass destruction, military or biochemical, and self-justified interventions and occupations.
7. We resist the attitude to nature and creation which treats them only as resources for greedy economic exploitation.
8. We resist all human greed that makes land a commodity, which denies the bonds between land, ancestors and people, which devastates the earth for profit.
9. We resist authority that abuses, violates or exploits children and young people.
10. We resist all systems and structures that violate sacred human dignity and rights; that tolerate torture, disappearances, extra-judicial executions and the death penalty.
Any African intellectual who wants to join this ethical and intellectual resistance movement must use the following life-centred criteria to evaluate, critique and reconstruct the social and institutional arrangements at all levels of decision making and policy formulation:
1. Equity as basic fairness that also extends to other forms of life.
2. Accountability as the structuring of responsibility towards one another and the natural creation (earth) itself.
3. Participation as the optimal inclusion of all involved.
4. Sufficiency as a commitment to meet the basic needs of all life.
5. Subsidiarity as determining the most appropriate level for decision making while supporting downward distribution of power relations.
By Dr. Camillus Kassala, PhD
The author email@example.com is a Research Fellow, Lecturer and Dean of the Students, Eastern Africa Statistical Training Centre (EASTC), Dar es Salaam.