We always say there are no permanent friends or foes in politics. Well, the same can be true beyond politics including some personal relationships. Africans at home, those whose generation were in America before Columbus and Africans in Europe would not hesitate to attack one another while giving the benefit of doubt to others. We do not treat fellow Africans well or respect ourselves enough, but expect others to respect us.
Obama’s legacy is now under attack in the United States. Some Republicans attack him all the time to diminish the accomplishment of one of their greatest and most popular President. It may be expected from those Party members. What is happening now is that some members of Obama (with 95% ratings) Democratic Party have come out attacking Obama just to climb to the top of their Party’s nomination. It’s all politics, eh?
There is too much bad blood between black people. You have to watch out for those you call your best friends sometimes. While we expect politicians to articulate their programs and positions on issues that affect the common man, there are sweet talkers and con men that would say anything to get elected just as there are action politicians that are not as fluent or gifted with oratory skills that could help convey their capabilities.
Remember the case of Bishop Muzorewa, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe? They were the best-known freedom fighters in Zimbabwe before they finally set their Country free. As usual in most African countries, as in South Sudan, when it came to who should become the President, all hell broke loose between Bush Fighters and the Negotiators. Some of us wrongly predicted Joshua Nkomo would be President. The rest is history.
However, brothers and sisters that cannot talk candidly to one another are deceiving themselves. All sides of the discussions cannot prevail. When you destroy a confidant in public in the name of politics, the ulterior motive is crystal clear that you want to replace or climb over him or her. We have seen this in political debates throughout the world.
President Obama warned his Party about Circular Firing Squad. It came true in the Democratic Debate at the end of July 2019. The problem here is that the beneficiaries of their betrayal of trust, drawn daggers or circular firing squad is a party whose ideology if any, goals and missions are inimical or may be detrimental to the progressive ideas. There is another saying that you should stay out when your opponents are at one another’s throats destroying themselves. They wait to use dissentions as political ads.
However, debates are not as effective as people’s trust, integrity or emotional appeal. In Africa, we hardly vote on sound programs but on personality and ethnicity. Nigerian politicians can change parties any time before election and crowd would follow them. While many of us admire Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana for his excellent presentations inside and outside Africa, we cannot hold our breath waiting until implementations.
What we have lost in Africa is the old African morality of being our brothers keepers and the commonwealth. Egotism, selfishness and the survival of the fittest have crept into us in the mist of unprecedented poverty never seen before. They have changed our ways of life. It is even worse because we are so unguarded and complacent out spending the next generation income recklessly. Instead of vouching for and watching the backs of the next generation, we have betrayed their trust as our future and our best friends.
We betray one another without any qualms. We should not be surprised when this generation turn against us, refuse to reciprocate by denying us pension. The overthrow of Buhari as military President was a palace coup by “circular firing squad”. Buhari later got elected without debating opponents. After trying many times in politics, he was like Addo, Regan, Mitterrand, and he became President. How soon Buhari with Ruga forget.
There are those of us waiting in trepidation for those Africans in Diaspora appointed by extremist or conservative parties as ministers in charge of Housing, Children or Immigration services including the latest appointment by Boris Johnson of Olukemi Badenoch as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families in England. Are they there to reduce, dismantle or narrow the benefits of these services like Dr. Carson, the Secretary for Housing in the United States?
Ethnic or racial denial when we are not sure of the loyalty of our best friends that belong to another group can be devastating. If it is within Africans, it could not be as effective or excruciating as between black and white. You may have heard some Blacks say they keep their eyes on the prize, not distraction of blacks. Actually, the only time Africans are taken seriously or focused on, are when we go after one another, act xenophobic or massacre ourselves. Used to justify their racist notion of blacks as infested community.
Africans are known for confining their attacks on blacks not whites, even in Africa or in Diaspora, non-Africans walk freely. Elijah Cummings the respected American lawmaker learned the hard way when he defended Mark Meadows as he was accused of being a racist. Elijah went all out to call him one of his best friends. But when Elijah and his home district were dragged through the gutter; surprisingly Mark Meadows kept numbed. Even when the Press challenged him on it, he ignored them.
This is typical of the many factors conjure loyalty. Meadows could have been afraid of being ostracized by his white constituency, friends or his reelection. Defending a black man in a white community takes extraordinary courage usually displayed by fair minded people of goodwill, those committed to Justice or married to blacks. Persecution as in the case of Peter denying Jesus is real and debilitating but not as bad as Judas.
Ethnic or racial affinity is like a herd of cows. Anyone that strays risk the consequence of being eaten alive or banished as seen in many world communities. It is the reason most of us are loyal to our race or ethnicity in the face of injustice, cruelties or privilege.
There are relationships that are best kept secret since they can blow up in public.
Africans must learn to love one another wherever we are, just as others unite against us.
Written by Farouk Martins Aresa @oomaresa.