“A nation is born stoic but dies epicurean.”
Policy solutions must come from Africa if at all Africa is going to record any trans-formative progress this moment on. There are myriads of reasons why I would advice against Africa depending on the opinion and analyses of outsiders to understand herself, or even the problems affecting the continent at large or individual states. For decades we have fed into the lie peddled by the mainstream media, politicians and most western-allied economists into believing that a continent so rich in natural resources and brain power could be termed “hopeless”, “dark”, and desolate.
The Economist, in the year 2000, referred to Africa as the “Hopeless Continent”, in 2011 the same magazine referred to Africa as the “Rising Continent” and in 2013 the March issue of the Economist referred to Africa as “Hopeful continent”. Now, I do not know what that tells you about outsiders’ opinions but I know what that tells me of opinions generally: they will never pay the bills and for that reason they really do not matter! The only opinion that really matters is that which Africans have of themselves, and of their continent, and that is to say that, only Africans can cure any hopeless situations we might have in Africa.
I am starting with an attempt to address the dire need for stability in Africa. Stability is brought about by security internally and externally. Whether stability gives birth to security of vice versa, is an issue of a child giving birth to a mother, we know they are conjoined truths.
The debate that has been taking place on our social media platforms, our homes and other such places for sometime now is whether or not Kenya should withdraw her forces from Somalia. I am full aware that this is quite a sensitive matter but we need to understand that a win for East Africa, is a win for Africa at large, hence this is no longer a Kenya-Somalia affair. In my opinion, I think Kenya needs to withdraw her military forces from Somalia soonest possible and if you ask me, that should even happen immediately. Here’s why:
1). Somalia is paying the price of foreign aid fraud
Only Somalis can deal with their problems effectively. I say this because for anyone who cares to look keenly, they’ll see that the Somali people only have themselves to blame for the quagmire they find themselves in today. These problems are stemming from ideological sources. The Somalis have been sold a narrative of whom they are and sadly, they have bought it under the watch of selfish despotic leaders who have in continuously paid to have their country bombed into submission in the most literal sense of the phrase. “Why would persons entrusted with the leadership of a nation do that?”, you may ask. For selfish economic interests of course! There are people who have thrived from the instability of nations in Africa, thanks to the “foreign aid fraud”! And Somalia happens to be one of those nations where a section of their leaders would do anything to continue reaping from savagery and anarchy. These leaders reap big from famine, disease and instability and in that way the foreign aid flow would pass through their sticky hands and somehow get stuck in those hands only to end up benefiting the select few at the expense of a suffering majority. It is what one Rasna Warah would refer to as a “feast in the the time of famine”. It is so sad how one of Africa’s oldest beautiful cities with rich history would only represent anarchy and suffrage today when the name Mogadishu is mentioned. What most people do not know is that Mogadishu became a place where anarchy and savagery reigned supreme from back in October, 1993 when the dead American soldiers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by Somalis who jeered on. Even though at least 500 civilians were killed during the circus, the world only remembers the 18 American soldiers who died. Ever since that dark historic time, Mogadishu, and Somalia at large, hit rock bottom because the media has done a great job of painting a really dark picture of Somali to the world and they themselves have accepted that picture as a representation of their beloved nation.
I’m certain by now it is clear I don’t quite fancy the notion that Africa needs foreign aid to rise. Africa is definitely better off without it, if anything, it benefits the powerful elite mostly.
2). Kenya is not the best mediator in this case.
History shows that the relationship between Kenya and Somalia is not any different from the relationship between Somalia and Ethiopia. The dealings between these three nation which border each other has always been one characterized by fear and suspicion. All these can be traced through the history of the three states in which you will see that it is argued that the British colony of Kenya extended northwards over a predominantly Somali area, and Ethiopia appropriated in Ogaden province territory to which is claimed to have belonged to Somalia. While Ethiopia could not trust the British with being impartial towards the Somalis, the Somali people felt that Kenya was the unfairly favoured “child” of the British. This consequently brewed some tension amongst the three states which would continue for decades. In 1977 the Somalia-Ethiopia war broke out in which the Somalis seized the Ogaden region from Ethiopia but an intervention from the USSR army to the aid of the Ethiopians would later result in the same disputed Ogaden region seized back from the Somalis. Long story short, their has been tension amongst these three states and it is evident the Somalis would not trust that Kenya nor Ethiopia would want them stable for rather purely political reasons stemming from a not so pleasant shared past. Even though many would argue that Kenya would benefit from having stable neighbours, it is not clear if the Somalis would believe the same to be true as the relationships between the two nations remain tense, characterized by fear and suspicion, and certainly what I would call a dysfunctional marriage which looks quite unpromising. It is, in my opinion, best if these two countries (Kenya and Ethiopia) back off and let Somalia deal with her issues first before any further interferences.
3.) The problem in Somalia needs more than military-intervention.
It is hard to help a nation achieve stability when her leaders are benefiting from her being unstable. Ever wondered why we live in a so-called free world in which everyone preaches freedom and the benefits that the same bring forth yet these benefits only accrue to a select few, specifically those in power? Well, I am certainly not the one to answer that question for you but logic dictates that the answer lies in the game of power and the rules that the world is run by. In the case of Somalia, a country run by warlords and a breeding ground for radicalized youths who are intoxicated by doctrines they can’t quite comprehend, we might as well need more that military intervention to undo the damage done by brainwashing the younger generations of Somalia as they are the future of the nation. In fact, we need to demilitarize the police and employ more pacific counter-measures. Whether it is a misinterpretation of religious texts or a victim mentality-affair eating into the nation it yours to decide but in the words of Tony Blair (Former British Prime Minister),”The reason why these people are radicalized is not because of something we are doing to them. They believe in what they believe in because their religion compels them to believe in it.” Whether that statement is accurate or not, is definitely a highly debatable topic and in fact, almost polarizing and for that same reason, I shall leave it at that.
4.) Enough of the blood-letting already
I need not recount painful happenstances that have taken place in Kenya and Somalia in the recent past all in the name of retaliatory attacks, leaving hundreds (thousands even) dead,orphaned kids living in abject poverty, many more maimed and homeless with images they would give anything to have erased from their memories…not to mention how our tourism sector has been left literally on its knees. Our economy is threatened and lives are being lost day and night. We have lost too much and not much has been seen to benefit us. It must all come to an end. It is possible that there might be a saviour somewhere in the world for Somalia, but that is definitely not in Kenya. Sometimes it is really okay to quit if the price is too high and the gains only but minimal. Abort mission Kenya, abort mission already for the sake of Kenyans! Some will argue that the U.S.A has pledged to aid Kenya in this mission in Somalia, but do Kenyans quite understand the dynamics of that pledge? The U.S.A has vested interests in both Kenya and Somalia and now, more than ever, both countries need to fully understand what is in it for them. Does the west even want a stable Somalia? Go ponder. The U.S.A just like the entire fraternity of the western countries and China have vested interests in Africa as a whole and East Africa happens to be such a prime area now for these self-proclaimed world powers and before any deals are sealed blindly, maybe it is time we re-evaluate our place on the high table or we are in for more instabilities, and rude awakenings. A word is enough for the wise.
Beyond a shadow of doubt, there is a saviour, somewhere in the world, for dearest Somalia, but that saviour is going to come from within the borders of Somalia, not Kenya, not Ethiopia, and certainly not from the United States of America. That saviour will arise and Africa will rise with them. They will tell a more authentic tale for Somalia and the rest of Africa will rise in the Africa rising narrative. May that day get here sooner.
It is important we all accept that once most of Africa awakens, we won’t ever return to business as usual, but that knowledge offers hope for the future. Arise Africa, it is time we shaped our own destiny as a continent, it is time for a new Africa narrative, this time for Africa, by the Africans! The Africa Rising Narrative: let’s rewrite history together.
Let us not look at the future as a gift from our ancestors, but rather as a loan from our descendants!