Can Africans build prosperous societies?
Back home here, the sort of wars and the scale of devastation that Uganda has suffered since independence can hardly be said to be as crippling as the cataclysm that struck Vietnam.
This is true for many of the Black African nations. But the difference is staggering. Vietnam's economy is roaring. Sub Saharan Africa is dead stuck known more for: constant disease outbreaks, emergency food relief appeals, civil strive, genocide, chronic corruption, flimsy or nonexistent infrastructure, constitution breaches, state failure than anything else. This disgusting state of affairs after, according to an estimate by South Africa's Brenthurst Foundation, a colossal $580 billion worth of donor money has been poured into the region since independence. Why have the Vietnamese overcome their historical setbacks and prospered while Black Africans stagnated or regressed?
Or if we may ask another question: why is it that White people prosper wherever they settle while Black people head for the opposite direction. The British crown started asserting its colonial rule over small territories on the continent of Australia in 1788, taking several decades before it brought all the areas into a unified Australian colony.
Throngs of Europeans emigrated en masse and settled there throughout the 1800s. These émigrés went ahead, starting from really little or nothing, and established one of the world's economic and military powers that is Australia today. The history of New Zealand, the other White country in the Southern Hemisphere, is pretty much the same.
Now contrast these nations with Haiti, the only black nation outside of Africa. It gained independence in 1804. It's near the US, the richest market on earth and Haiti has a coastline unlike other African nations whose landlocked status is blamed for their underdevelopment. And fine, it has had a fairly brutal past but nowhere near Vietnam's horrors. But what have our Haitian brothers made of these generous natural advantages: it remains the most backward country in the Western hemisphere, bound up by privation, cyclical coups, spasms of mayhem and blood-thirsty gangs. At home and away, that's your Black people!
In fact Haiti is perhaps just about the best that we can achieve in nation building. Ethiopia never had colonialism. It registered impressively high levels of literacy as early as 1970, a fact a friend of mine brought to my attention recently. It has a rich and widely shared cultural heritage, a common ancestry. This should have propelled Ethiopia but see the shameful portrait of hunger and disease that this country projects to the world.
And so, to go back to that question that I have been chewing over and over again of late: can Black People build prosperous societies; I firmly believe the answer is a sad NO.
The dumbfounding incompetence of President Museveni thus is not a failure of an individual. It's a failure of a people: Black People. Museveni only rose and touched our low ceiling. The shamefully limited achievement of his "fundamental change" regime thus should be interpreted in this cruel context.
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