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By Ndangwa Noyoo

Published:Nov 16, 2008

On Obama:

Africans have a penchant for passing the buck and expecting prosperity to fall from heaven whenever issues of national development come to the fore. What does this assertion have to do with the Obama victory?

Well, for starters it points to the very nature of ineptitude that continues to shape our people’s psyche and their misguided belief that Africa’s woes will be solved by some miraculous intervention by some super being.

However, to the contrary the pitfalls of Africa’s development can only be rectified by Africans themselves. Therefore, Africans should not expect Obama to come to their rescue after they have failed to put their houses in order due to corruption, mal-governance, tribalism, nepotism, mediocrity and national paralysis shaped by myopic leaderships.No one but the Africans can free themselves from this on-going socio-economic and political malaise. Africans have to redeem themselves and not expect anyone to realize this noble ideal. Yes, it is good to see a mixed-race individual (Obama is neither black nor White, but a blend of the two.

However, Africans claim him more for obvious reasons), becoming president of the most powerful nation on earth. Indeed, it is gratifying to note that the twenty-first century has debunked the myths of a racist America whereby talent and hard-work has now prevailed over bigotry and half-truths.This is the lesson that Zambians should draw from the Obama campaign and eventual rout of the Republicans. That with the hard-work, talent and fortitude, a person can be credited on merit to either become president of Zambia or hold public office.

It should not be based on one’s “connections”, tribe or brown-nosing. Also, we should recognize the fact that education absolutely matters. Zambia, like all African nations is a modern state. It is part of a fast-paced technological and economically advancing global community.

It is not a small village. Therefore, the acumen to lead such an entity is first and foremost dependent on inta alia, education. Obviously, there are also other personal attributes such as honesty, humility, care for those who are disadvantaged, etc.Conversely, the electorate also needs to be educated and enlightened. An illiterate and uninformed electorate will not be able to choose the caliber of leadership that will speak to policy options for national development, but rather, will be mesmerized by demagogues, ideologues, populists or alarmists.

Until the day that Zambia (and Africa in general) is led by sober, competent and visionary leaders, the ordinary people will continue to wallow in their poverty and misery.

Copyright © 2008 Ndangwa Noyoo.  All rights reserved.

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