January 27, 2021

VOICES | New Wine In Old Bottles: Africa’s Predicament

The African continent is fatigued by this perpetual culture of the old guard’s institutions which ceaselessly make it cumbersome for young politicians to meaningfully participate, Writes YUNAH BVUMBWE

VARIOUS AFRICAN LEADERS DURING THE EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF ECOWAS AUTHORITY OF HEAD OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT ON THE POLITICAL CRISES IN BURKINA FASO AT THE NNAMDI AZIKIWE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN ABUJA ON TUESDAY (22/9/15). 6782/22/9/2015/ISE/CH/NAN

Blaise Pascal’s controversial yet crucial metaphor, “All man’s troubles come from not knowing how to sit still in one room.”, serves as the proverbial truth of Africa’s political storyline, this is however not to depict Africa as a single story as doing that is highly myopic and catastrophic.

Nevertheless, the African continent is fatigued by this perpetual culture of the old guard’s institutions which ceaselessly make it cumbersome for young politicians to meaningfully participate and inject fresh ideas that can be a gamechanger in politics.

In a literal sense, everyone gets tired by sitting in the same position for too long; it gets uncomfortable and unmanageable. The worst-case scenario could happen; one ends up sleeping on-duty. Yet still, the laughable irony in this matter is that the old guard never wants to leave the room although they feel the need to.

This serves as the gist of the entire subject. It is fundamental for young leaders with new perspectives to be at the forefront if we’re expecting to write a different story regarding African politics.

“Young politicians represent a paradigm shift that new policies and vibrant ideas can engender once they are deployed”

Young politicians represent a paradigm shift that new policies and vibrant ideas can engender once they are deployed. In retrospect, 2011 to be precise, Julius Malema while addressing 5000 delegates at the opening of the Youth League’s four-day congress in Midrand reiterated that “The world is getting younger and South Africa is a young nation, so those who lead the African National Congress (ANC) and the government should be younger “.

These words are still relevant today besides the fact that Malema is no longer in ANC. It’s ironic that the same ANC and government are still being led by the old guards who are by far in denial of the fact that they are out of touch with the reality of what the young South African nation wants.

“..it’s very irrational to expect completely different policies from the same old blood, it’s a fallacy.”

Moreover, Zimbabwe is choking under the perpetual rulership of the old guard. Citizens celebrated after the ouster of the late Robert Mugabe who was an old dog, only to impose another old dog “new wine in new bottles” to simply put it. It’s really difficult to admit, but it’s very irrational to expect completely different policies from the same old blood, it’s a fallacy.

As the old adage has it “an apple doesn’t fall very far from its own tree” clearly depicts why the country is heading down the regression line instead of it progressing although there has been a change in leadership.

The same can be said for Nigeria under Muhammadu Buhari who some portray as a toothless dog that can not inflict injury on anyone. For instance, when he was elected into office he gave assurance to Nigerians that he was going to wipe out the insurgent group Boko Haram which has however pursued it’s heinous crimes and terrorizing citizens since 2013.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but President Buhari is no different from his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan who likewise failed citizens in terms of national security. Citizens feel vulnerable.

Uganda, as well, under Yoweri Museveni whom citizens depict as an uncle Tom who is incompetent and unfit for office continue to succeed in pleasing none in a bid to please everyone, it’s irritating to say, but this is highly shameful. However, Rwanda is doing pretty much well, and this year will mark it’s 26 years since the Rwandan genocide was over.

Over the course of 100 days, an estimated 800,000 people were killed — most of them were members of the minority Tutsi ethnic group killed by the majority Hutu population.

Paul Kagame seems to be getting it right by spreading the message of reconciliation while intensively working on infrastructure development and technology. That commitment has transformed Rwanda from being labeled as the worst country to be one of the most vibrant and growing amongst others within the continent.

In a nutshell, Jonathan Swift once suggested that “Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own” This is the predicament befallen Africa, the continent heralds so much about change, yet regional foundations such as SADC and the continent’s organization African Union (AU) repeatedly condone the behavior of the old guard who continues to cling to power until nobody knows.

To change its political narrative, the continent needs new wine in new bottles, not this ruthless and paranoid totalitarianism.

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