Is Obama indoctrinating young African Leaders!

The continent of Africa has been colonised for decades by the West for reasons serving interests of the conquerors. Against this background, it is appropriate to view President Obama’s intention and interest in young people of the continent with scepticism.

During his recent address to participants of the ‘Presidential Summit for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders’ in Washington, Obama reminded young people that “the security, prosperity and justice that we seek in the world cannot be achieved without a strong, prosperous and self-reliant Africa”.

This is an encouraging comment given the current crop of leaders who uses their tenure for self-enrichment. To drive the agenda of sustainable development and economic growth, the continent needs young African leaders with vision and capacity to respond and adapt to dynamic global trends. Young people of the continent must respond to this invitation with vigilance and wide-open minds. They must not be swayed by western rhetoric forgetting our true struggle as Africans.The Fellowship programme as presented by the United States will not erase the fact that President Obama represents a government that systematically underdeveloped Africa for decades.

They are therefore not in a position to tell us about good management because the recent economic recession happened under their watch; Successive US regimes have backed the state of Israel that has performed acts of genocide against the Palestinian people; This is a country which has a history of destabilising African countries through a covert policy of regime change. We must never be excited by the gesture the USA has embarked upon and forget revolutionary leadership this continent has produced.Why would Obama take young Africans to the United States and not invest in making Africans know more about their continent and what informs the underdevelopment we see today? Could it be that the USA is realizing that more and more young Africans are developing and taking interest in Africa’s future?

The continent is producing more pan Africanists like never before. This new breed of activists are focused in firmly taking control of Africa’s resources. If this situation is allowed to develop, it will reverse the tide that has benefited the West from accrual of profits generated from the sale of these minerals. An aggressive expansion growth adopted by China in Africa has many Western countries worried. This recent scramble for resources and influence is reminiscent of early conquests the continent experienced during the cold war.

While China injects capital and often indiscriminately backs despots in the continent, the US has identified the development of the human capital as a leverage that will stack odds in their favour: If you colonise the minds of many young Africans, you have germinated a seed that will see more than half the continent being led by Africans who have been influenced by your institutions. With this influence you have bought loyalty at the highest echelons of the countries decision making sphere.   With education being an important tool to liberate humanity we must be worried that the USA has taken this initiative to teach Africans about leadership qualities and that they have chosen to do this in their won soil.

If President Obama was genuine about addressing the leadership gap in the continent and strengthening trade relations, there are established institutions for this purpose that the USA could have partnered with such as the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute in South Africa. The resources used to fund the ‘Presidential Summit for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders’ could have been used to enrol these young Africans in such institutions where they will interact and learn from many retired, credible and competent leaders who have held positions in high office in various African countries.

These leaders are better equipped to tell us about our continent and how we can develop it. True and sustainable development must come from us, we must tell our own stories to our own people.As he is currently hosting more than forty Africa heads of states, we urge them to ask President Obama to speak out against Israel aggression and act of massacre against Palestinians.

Please tell him that as Africans we are not yet convinced that their sudden interest in lack of leadership capacity in the continent is genuine and devoid of self-interest. Please tell him that we remain vigilant against recolonization of our mineral rich continent. Resolution you take in relation to trade must never sell us out as Africans!

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Rhulani Thembi Siweya

Rhulani Thembi Siweya


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