The ideal of Pan Africanism is dead

By Vince Musewe

There is no country in Africa, besides Botswana, that has not borne the burden of a liberation struggle elite that simply inherited colonial political institutions and used them to entrench themselves while continuing to oppress the masses and ignoring the poverty of Africans, which continues unabated to this day.
Since 1951, Africa’s resources have mainly been plundered by African governments themselves.

Zimbabwe is a classic case study of this. In fact in in the case of Zimbabwe, poverty has actually been accelerated by the black government.

The policies of most liberation struggle entities that have inherited governments in Africa will never create better conditions for the masses because they are premised on settler mentality.
But this time, the settler is black.

Pan Africanism has been usurped by a few and requires all Africans to fight against black liberation struggle elites to stop their pervasive plunder of our resources under the pretext of the emancipating the masses.
According to Wikipedia, Pan Africanism is an ideology that encourages the solidarity of Africans worldwide.
It is based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social and political progress and aims to unify and uplift people of African descent.

The ideology asserts that the fate of all African peoples and countries are entwined.
What a fallacy.

African countries have failed utterly to achieve solidarity in the quest for democracy.
In fact, bodies such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) have become platforms for the solidarity of some dictators who are incapable of inspiring unity and development of the continent.

Pan Africanism is dead simply because there has never been commonality of interest among Africans.
Instead, we have seen countries feigning solidarity but competing for resources.

African countries will remain divided and the sooner we appreciate that the better. This is because the rate of change of political institutions towards the creation of free societies in each African country will always vary.
There are no common standards of behaviour as within the EU for example.

There is no common purpose when it comes to the alleviation of poverty, leadership accountability and governance.
There is nothing common amongst us except being on the same continent.

Because of the fundamental differences within Africa, we cannot therefore come up with broad brush solutions. Nor can we any longer rely on the myth of a common destiny.

We can no longer rely on bodies such as the SADC or the AU. In fact, the appointment of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as chairman of SADC goes to prove the point of the irrelevance of such bodies when it comes to upholding democratic standards within Southern Africa.

In my opinion, the destiny of Africans is solely dependent on the emergence of new political forces within Africa.
We must see the emergence of a new generation of African leaders that focus on local development.

We need to see the establishment of new accountable political institutions within countries and a new narrative of self-sufficiency and sustainable development. Only after that can we begin to look at Africa as a whole.
We must first get our countries working before we can look at the ideals of Pan Africanism.

We must distinguish ourselves from the African brand and focus on creating better conditions in our countries as a matter of priority.

In Zimbabwe, the liberation party called Zanu PF has failed totally to govern in the interest of its people.
Other African countries have also slept on the job when it comes to ensuring democratic principles are adhered to. No country should rely on this African solidarity because it simply does not exist.

The appointment of Mr Mugabe as chair of SADC is mind-boggling, to say the least. Mr Mugabe is unfit to represent the interests of Africans; there is no argument about that given what he has done to Zimbabwe.
How then can he be expected to lead the region?

Africans must stop being naïve and realise that although we may have a common history of colonialism, there is no common destiny.

Our destinies will only be determined by what we do in our own countries to purge dictatorships and create new inclusive political and economic systems.

This we will never achieve at the same pace and we will, therefore, remain different countries with different futures.

Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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