Musa AF Sherif & Ansumana Konneh (Originally published at New Times)

Image for post
Image for post
The Verge

On March 5th 2020 South Africa announced its first case of the COVID-19, being the first African country to register the continent’s presence on the dashboard of the global epidemic. Since then other African countries have made similar announcements of having one or many cases. The latest of them is Rwanda; Africa’s topnotch of innovative governance. These different announcements usher in a great deal of fear in the already panicking population of the continent, as memories of past epidemics are still fresh. In the case of Rwanda and many other registered African countries, it comes as no surprise given the structure of their economies and their reliance on things like tourism. Most of those who visit Rwanda, for instance, come from Europe and other affected places. In what seems to be these countries’ readiness to combat the virus, they have, through their health ministries and agencies, established initial measures to observe. Most of these measures center around closure of places of worship and banning of other large gatherings. Tunisia, for instance, has suspended prayers in mosques, closed cafes at 4pm every day, and banned all cultural, sports and economic gatherings. …


Image for post
Image for post
allafrica.com

By Ansumana MM Konneh And Musa AF Sherif

“Africa’s oldest independent state”, “Africa’s chief exporter of rubber”, and the “home of the only African “World Best”, are clichés that have filled the ears of Liberians at home and won the impressions of so many others abroad. But the question is: how are these in any way reflected in the development of a country so rich in natural resources, yet underdeveloped and impoverished? As a post-war country, Liberia’s drive to national reconstruction comes with huge challenges. These challenges cut across corruption, education, health, agriculture, job creation, and the national economy. Statistics show that Liberia’s patient to doctor ratio is 19,000:1. And Over 60% of our population live on $1 per day, with Only 10% out of 4.5 million people have access to clean water and electricity. …


Image for post
Image for post

“What we need to develop Africa is our own money, not ideas,’’ said Jean-Jacques Kablan in a not-so-caring ductile-baritone voice. A repeated cliche of great significance is that Africa is the cradle of humanity. The significance being: it makes it an innovation lab for past, present, and future ideas that continue to shape the world. But apart from the names we give to those innovations there is rarely anything African about them, as important aspects such as financing are mostly European, American, or Asian. Elementary of an economic knowledge is that finance is the most important feature of any innovation. Apart from the fact that without it no innovation thrives, it gives to the financier the power to control, decide, distort, or alter. This explains why breakthrough African innovations such as Kenyan’s Mpesa, Rwanda’s Tap & Go, and scores of others have fallen under non-African ownership. It also explains why civilizations such as Europe, America, and some parts of Asia are always in the forefront of financing their own ideas. But as elementary as this economics is, it is the opposite for Africa . …


Image for post
Image for post
PC: @alueducation/Instgram

Whether Africa is the way it is because of slavery or colonialism or not is the talk of another time. But what remains indisputable is African leaders played a part that set the final stage for the continent’s continuous misery. Key to this was the tendency of elitism. If slavery and colonialism were any gonorrhea that infected Africa’s growth, African elitism was the syphilis that made it perpetually impotent/barren. Given the catastrophe of it in the past, one would hope elitist life in African leadership ended with the generation of Mobutu and Jean Bedel Bokassa. But sadly it didn’t, and chances are that it will continue up to the distant future. Because of that, current institutional efforts are tailored towards producing leaders who would make a difference. Among such institutions is the African Leadership University. …


Image for post
Image for post

Photo:Timesofisreal.com

The Cartesian Plane of Governance and The George Weah Configuration

On the cartesian plane of governance there are four quadrants filled with the alternating identities (dividends) of innovation & technical planning, institutional development, sustainable implementation, and rule of law. These identities are the drivers of genuine prosperity everywhere around the world and they account for why some states succeed and why others fail.

Consider the case of Rwanda, a country widely regarded as the “Silicon Valley of Africa”. The implementation of the four identities from the cartesian plane of governance has not only dispelled predictions of the country’s return to doomsday, but has also sustained its role as a shining star on the African continent. And today, Rwanda remains a competing politico-economic power in development discussions around the world. But unlike Rwanda, Liberia’s governance system at the moment seems to drift from the above cartesian plane. President Weah’s wrong configuration of the plane since he became president is dangerous for the Liberian state. As we have seen already since his inauguration in January 2018, the dividends of his configuration are opposing characteristics of good governance: where the role of technocrats is presumed by functional illiterates, development is individually driven, implementation is reactive and unsustainable, and the rule of law problematic; thus leaving everything blurred, stagnant, and unresolved. …


It’s a hard time for Liberia. Perhaps the hardest since 1847. With the past still lingering in minds, a lot of Liberians shiver with fear; the fear of another April 14th or December 24th. While such concern remains legitimate, mine is something else; perhaps one that is negligible, but very polarizing. It is the current cat-dog relationship between the President of the republic whose spine of patience is very short and the Vice President whose knowledge of the Liberian political landscape is no less a weapon of mass destruction.

President Weah and VP Howard-Taylor are both giants. Their coming together on a coalition ticket in the 2017 elections pointed to an excellent friendship between a famous soccer star and a politically experienced former first lady. But as Frank Underwood would make us believe, “Friends make the worst enemies.’’ And so is it with president Weah and vice president Howard-Taylor. What exists between the two since the political honeymoon ended is a game of thrones played in a house of cards. Arguably, the Weah-Howard-Taylor ticket was the most formidable and the nearest to victory in the 2017 presidential election of Liberia. As my John Hopkins scholar friend intimated recently in Kigali, even if the holiest of God’s angel had contested the race, CDC (Coalition for Democratic Change) would have still won. And Just as the ticket was the nearest to victory in 2017, an objective analysis of the same today will establish that it remains the surest force to transform the country truly. But with the ensuing fight between the two figureheads of the ticket (Weah and Taylor), the ruling government stands at the extreme of a dangerous slip. Said slip can be viewed from three minefields: the fight of two elephants, an in house split within the Coalition, and the venom of a patriarchal card. …


Image for post
Image for post

The Issue:

If the media has done anything really successful in this latter part of the 21st century, it is that it has promoted some people to global prominence and created for them a special monopoly on certain issues than others. These issues include heroism, leadership, influence, idealism, and power. One beneficiary of such promotion is the Umkhonto We Sizwe first Commander and South and Africa’s first black President, Nelson Mandela. Be it for the the Mandela images on our social media timelines, or the eulogy that president Obama read on his passing over, or the words we read in Little Brown & Co Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela has claimed global admiration. And whether such admiration is one he deserves or not is the subject of another discourse. Among other names, the MK trained is hailed worldwide as the one man who forgave apartheid on behalf of all black people in South Africa. Put differently, Mandela is universally celebrated not because he was an Umkhonto We Sizwe combatant, or that he was an underground operator at a point in time, nor because he was once declared a “terrorist” for which he made it on US Terror Watch List up to 2008. It is simply because he “FORGAVE”. And because of that, forgiveness has become synonymous to his name. To an extent, he is even regarded for it than the man who told us, thousands of years before the birth of Nelson, to “love your enemy as you love yourself”. …

About

Sherif Musa

To transform Africa, each one of us must learn twice; one for ourselves and another for an African who doesn't have access to education

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store