It might sound like good news to hear that the gap in competence between African and Western governments is closing rapidly.
After all, isn’t that what we all hunger for – are desperate for – more than anything else, African governments that are, at long last starting to emulate the top Western ones in giving real freedom and prosperity to their citizens, that are committed to eradicating starvation, slums, terrible healthcare, sub-standard education and all the other hallmarks of poverty and destitution?
Oh, if only that were true! But that headline is misleading. Because it is not a case of African governments raising their standards to copy the UK and USA. In fact, hardly any of the 54 African governments have shown any improvement since Independence, and many, like Zimbabwe’s, are arguably much worse.
No, what is really happening is that the UK and USA governments are dropping theirs down to becoming more and more like African ones.
Brexit in the UK has shown its parliament up to be what it really is: dominated by unprincipled members of parliament who are much more interested in pushing their own agendas rather than carrying out the will of the people, and are prepared to bring down the UK to achieve that. And Britain’s parliament has become the laughing stock of the world as a result.
For those of you who don’t know, in 2017 the UK held a referendum to decide whether the country would remain as a member of the European Union (EU) and stay bound by its laws, parliament and legislature, or leave it and become a fully independent nation. Against all expectations, the people voted to leave. This horrified Britain’s two dominant political parties, both of which had campaigned vigorously to remain.
Until very recently, both parties agreed that, even though they both disagreed very strongly with the wishes of the people, as we were a democracy, parliament was obliged to carry out the wishes of the people and leave the EU. Recently, however, a large part of the main opposition party has now dropped that pretence and says it will fight to keep Britain in the EU.
However, the government to its credit has set out to fulfil the wishes of the people, only to find its efforts being constantly undermined not only by the opposition party but by a large number of its own members of parliament as well. So much so that the members of parliament forced the Prime Minister to give up her unequal struggle and resign.
However, the new ands recently appointed Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is made of much sterner stuff. He is like a colossus, determined to uphold the will of the people and force the UK out of the EU, against a parliament that is determined to prove that it, not the people, is the sovereign power.
He reminds me very much of Winston Churchill. This has been largely erased from history because it is such a stain on our parliament’s character, but strong elements in it fiercely opposed attempts to go to war against Hitler. But Churchill was a superhuman figure and, had it not been for him, it is very likely that the UK would not have stood up against Hitler, he would have overrun the UK, we would have become a vassal state of the Nazis and the history of the world would have been entirely different.
Where Africa is concerned, your ex-colonial nations would have had a titular Commonwealth Head who fully supported your governments in their corruption and their violation and abuse of their citizens, instead of one that at least pretends to condemn them. And there would not have been a diaspora for Africans to escape to for a better life because life in Europe would have been as bad as in Africa.
Whether Boris Johnson can pull a “Churchill” and defeat a hostile parliament remains to be seen. He has the majority of citizens behind him but that may not do him or them much good. But either way the UK will come out very much the worse because of its power-hungry members of parliament. If we manage to leave the EU, we will be in a much weaker position economically and internationally than if the members of parliament had co-operated with the people. But if the members of parliament have their way and we remain in the EU, we will have lost our standing as a leading nation and you can be sure the EU will make us pay.
On his return to parliament from the recent UN conference, Boris Johnson was met by a hostile, shouting, abusive, screaming mob of members of parliament the like of which has never been seen before, and which would simply not be tolerated in any African parliament.
That is why I said before that the members of parliament are determined to “win” against the people, and are prepared to bring down the UK to achieve that. Doesn’t this sound a bit too close to comfort to African governments that are equally determined to “win” against their own citizens?
In the UK a battle is raging over who has sovereignty. Is it parliament, or is it the people? Again, shades of Africa?
That is why the very funny Malawian comedian, Dalasi Chaponda, had a White, Western TV audience rocking with laughter when he said about the current situation in the UK: “I had to go back to Africa to see what a stable government looks like”, and: “I’m an African and I could have advised you – never have a vote unless you rig it first.” His British audience knew exactly what he meant, and you can see his comedy act at:
What few of us understand is that it is no good blaming governments for the way they behave because, unless their own citizens stop them, the natural state of ALL governments – Western just as much as African – is NOT to be democratic and work for their citizens. Their natural state is to be autocratic and to work for their own agendas, not for those of their citizens. As the saying goes “We get the governments we deserve”. And in the end, it is only the citizens themselves who can make their governments work for the citizens, rather than to be corrupt and authoritarian. This is something Westerners used to understand because it is how they escaped their authoritarian, corrupt governments. But they are now going to have to relearn this valuable lesson or else succumb to an ever-increasingly dictatorial government.