The New Times (Kigali)

3 July 2012

Africa Should Take Control of Its Destiny

editorial

President Paul Kagame on Sunday urged the African youth to position themselves to take the continent to the next level.

He challenged the young generation to draw lessons from the continent's past pitfalls and be mindful of modern day challenges, if they are to overcome the difficulties that lie ahead.

Africa's problems have a long complex history open and subtle interference by external actors, both state and non-state, with dire consequences as Rwandans can attest. With the majority of African countries having gained their Independence from western colonialists about half a century ago, it is disturbing that traces of colonial baggage and imperialism are all over the continent today.

As was observed by various eminent speakers during the international conference on governance and democracy, which concluded in Kigali on Saturday, it is obvious that western relations with Africa are principally shaped by geopolitical interests of the most powerful.

And the west will stop at nothing in pursuing these interests, even if it means hiding behind initiatives which may otherwise look noble and legitimate, such as human rights and justice.

One such tools is the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is rightly accused of selective justice and targeting African political leaders, with former US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Dr Jendayi Frazer, telling a meeting in Kigali last week that the court serves political interests.

Some western powers are also known for instigating conflict in Africa to sustain market for their arms factories, and to maintain influence through animosity within or between individual African states.

Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon Africans to stand up for themselves and reject this hostile world order.

African leaders must realise that they need to work together, as opposed to plotting against each other, if they are to collectively defeat these foreign interests. The young people, in particular, must understand they bear primary responsibility to take the continent to the next level. But they can only do so through hard work and pursuit of economic independence.

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