It’s not about fairness | Why “If the west does it, why can’t we?” Is stupid

I am absolutely exhausted by the argument that says we cannot complain about inefficient and corrupt African leaders because, “even Western leaders do it.” The follow-up to this point is usually the indignant “How come when white people do it, its OK?”

And by ‘it’ here the speaker is referring to plunging a population into a well of suffering simply because one can.

A few days ago I happened upon an article on The Root in which the gripes social media users have with the royal family were brought to light. The article was short and simple: a report on a report really.

In fact, ‘Swaziland’s royal family has found itself ensnared in the firm grip of social media users who are determined to expose the lavish lifestyle of “Africa’s last absolute monarch,” while most of the country’s people barely subsist on $1 a day per person, Agence France-Presse reports.’
Was basically the gist of it.

But the responses to it are what angered me. Of the hundreds of comments that this post attracted, many of them repeated the same idea: if the [insert white royal family] can do it, why can’t we?

I was so overcome with rage, I found myself doing the one thing I promised myself I never would: I left an angry Facebook comment. But that was not the end of it. The rage at the commenters, many of them African American echoing a sentiment often uttered by Africans too when our own leaders are to be held accountable for one act or another, did not go away.

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On Africa Day | 11 Great Quotes From 10 Great Africans

Because today is Africa Day I let the giants speak for me. I hope these quotes from the people that were there when great change was made on the continent can remind us of the task at hand. And perhaps some of the themes in these quotes can be discussed wholeheartedly today. 

KWAME NKRUMAH: Something in the nature of an economic revolution is required. Our development has been held back for too long by the colonial-type economy. We need to reorganize entirely, so that each country can specialize in producing the goods and crops for which it is best suited. (Neocolonialism The Last Stage of Imperialism)

CHINUA ACHEBE: Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform.

PATRICE LUMUMBA: You must energetically combat tribalism, which is a poison, a social scourge that is the country’s misfortune today. You must combat all the separatist manoeuvres, which some of the preachers of the policy of division are trying to pass off to young and inexperienced people under the name of federalism, federation or confederation. In reality, young people, these names are only a new vocabulary brought by the imperialists to divide us in order the better and more conveniently to exploit us. Your entire future will be threatened if you do not oppose these manoeuvres, this new, disguised colonisation. – Address to Congolese Youth (August, 1960)

HAILE SELASSIE I: Africans are in bondage today because they approach spirituality through religion provided by foreign invaders and conquerors. We must stop confusing religion and spirituality. Religion is a set of rules, regulations and rituals created by humans, which was suppose to help people grow spiritually. Due to human imperfection religion has become corrupt, political, divisive and a tool for power struggle. Spirituality is not theology or ideology. It is simply a way of life, pure and original as was given by the Most High of Creation. Spirituality is a network linking us to the Most High, the universe, and each other…”

JULIUS NYERERE: Having come into contact with a civilization which has over-emphasized the freedom of the individual, we are in fact faced with one of the big problems of Africa in the modern world. Our problem is just this: how to get the benefits of European society — benefits that have been brought about by an organization based upon the individual — and yet retain African’s own structure of society in which the individual is a member of a kind of fellowship. In the New York Times Magazine on 27 March 1960.

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