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Governance: blame us, not our leaders.

I enjoyed your last issue very much, and would like to reflect on some of the points raised.

I have read, in African Business and various other Africa interest publications, that we must sell Africa as good place for investment.

However, the first port of call should be to address what Africa's problems are. In my view it is three things: leadership, leadership and leadership!

But before we get too complacent that we can place the blame for our problems totally on African leaders, we must also take some of the blame ourselves as their followers.

African leaders have, over the years, plundered our economies (with our blessing), been poor at planning our future (with our blessing), strived to divert attention from Africa's problems (again with our indulgence)--and continued to shape our thinking that all our problems are caused by the West. We have come to believe them and have turned into the worst racists in the world.

I have listened with amazement when Africa's intelligentsia tells us passionately that 'Africa is the best place in the world'. Yet those that speak so passionately also speak with strong American accents and have lived outside Africa for many years.

We have a government in place, here in Zimbabwe, that spends all its resources trying to convince people that what is happening to them is not happening to them--but that if it is happening to them, then it is due to Tony Blair, George Bush and all the white people that one can think of.

Yet, everyone knows that all these problems began at independence in 1980 when our government killed our own black brothers in Matabeleland--brothers who had helped bring independence to Zimbabwe. The problem was we were just a minority tribe.

We have in Zimbabwe a lot of people who believe that President Mugabe is a hero because they have benefited from his policies.

So now, what are the problems? They are problems brought about by a misgovernance that climaxed in the late 1990s and they are now adversely affecting our fellow brothers, the Shona people. That is why they themselves want change.

Otherwise, they think our president is a good guy just so long as he champions their cause at the expense of other people.

Therein lies the solution. Africa must sincerely build a continent for all peoples--be they white, black, coloured and in between. Racism and tribalism must go forever.

The next step is for Africa to start doing the right things. They will be small steps in the beginning, but progress can be made. Once we begin to do things properly, the results will be there for everyone to see--and we will not have to expend so many resources on African propaganda to attract investment.

Ndaba Mabhena


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Title Annotation:This Month's Prize Letter
Author:Mabhena, Ndaba
Publication:African Business
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Aug 1, 2004
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