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An Unrealistic African Challenge
on 18 May 2014
Maathai's "The Challenge for Africa" is, as I see it, a disappointing read. Deeply biased, not only does it pin Africa's current woes on colonialism but also perceives post-independence African leadership as a mere "change of the guard" and as entities that warranted business as usual by upkeeping and enhancing the alleged malpractices of the colonial administration. Seems that the colonial period does not hold any good practices and standards at all!
On the other hand, it fails to put the African independence trend of the late 50's, early 60's and 70's into historic context, particularly Southern Africa: the context of the Cold War and the Sino-Soviet regional expansionism back then. Thus, that the Liberation Movements were not only (mostly) Soviet and Chinese backed, but that by pushing for a communist post-independence Africa they embodied a new era of "freedom", development and everlasting happiness! So, not a mere "change of the guard", rather a revolutionary future ! As for the outcome of this "glorious" promised future, considering a few decades have elapsed since then, we all know the story.
"The Challenge for Africa's" political correctness does not stop here. It also works its way into changing Political Science's concepts as in "tribe" which it replaces by "micro-nation", considering the former negative.
All in all, Maathai's book proposed solutions for Africa within the Three Legged Stool, - democratic space, sustainable and accountable management and the adoption of "cultures of peace", is just wishful thinking. A continent devastated by recurrent instability, save a few exceptions, is ages away from democracy and what it entails!