Relying on our current political leaders to draw up and implement a strategy to make Africa relevant in a positive way is a non starter. Indeed those who have succeed in making African relevant to international policy making have done so for increasing negative reasons, for example Mugabe in Zimbabwe and Bashir in Sudan. Ethan Zuckerman labelled the position taken by such political leaders as a strategy of, “If we act deranged enough, maybe they’ll just give us the country.”
The burden rests on us, the ordinary citizens of Africa, to come up with a strategy that will increase our positive relevance to important global conversations and thus make it impossible to ignore Africa, Africans and the issues they feel important. I would love to hear your thoughts on what this strategy should adopt.
As a first step we can start by breaking the cycle of ineffective negative political leaders. The veteran British political warhorse Tony Benn proposes 5 questions to ask anyone in power or who wants power:
1. What power have you got?
2. Where did you get it from?
3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
4. To whom are you accountable?
5. And how can we get rid of you?