Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
9 Mar 2017
5:31 am

Africa needs visionary leaders to make it the best of the best

Citizen Reporter

The occupation of political office must never be mistaken for favour, for it is an honour to lead your people.

African Union leaders meet in Ethiopia.

Orator Frederick Douglass once said: “Those who profess to favour freedom and yet depreciate agitation are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

But why is it that the demand exists and there is no proper response to it? With all its riches, Africa is yet to build a world-class medical facility which will attract fellow world citizens to visit.

All we see are African leaders now and then leaving the continent in pursuit of medical attention in the Far or Middle East. This they do with no shame. They do this with money of their people; people whom are in dire need of proper medical attention and facilities. Fortunate are those who can do as they please.

Our moral duty as citizens of the continent is to hold our leadership accountable, critique them and remind them that they are products of the people. The occupation of political office must never be mistaken for favour, for it is an honour to lead your people.

In October 2014, Zambia’s former president, Michael Sata, died in the United Kingdom. Prior to his death, he had travelled countries such as India, South Africa and Israel in search of medical care.

He was not the first head of state to die in office: Levy Mwanawasa died of stroke in France. Like Sata, he had travelled to South Africa and the United Kingdom before.

The people of Zambia, over decades, have continued to debate constituting a medical parole board to assess the health of the president. While at it, they have failed to develop a state hospital to respond to the medical needs of their people. If you do not invest in your health care, you will have to swallow the bitter pill of having to fly across the world seeking help.

Currently, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is in Singapore for a medical check-up. This is a leader who left the country while doctors and nurses were on strike to go to foreign lands to be nursed back to health. Who will speak for the poor? The very same poor whom, when they rise, are reminded the alleged West is to blame.

Another nation which comes to mind is Nigeria. Former president Musa Yar’ Adua, who left Nigeria in November 2009 for Saudi Arabia, was declared dead on May 5, 2010 after he had undergone pancreatic treatment. Currently, President Muhammadu Buhari is also in foreign lands seeking medical attention.

Why has Nigeria, with all its resources, failed to build a facility which can respond to the needs of its people? In their quest for a better life, health care facilities must improve and their rich oil must assist them in this regard.

The South African government has inherited infrastructure and better hospitals but the question is: will this be maintained and improved in decades to come?

African leaders must invest in health care infrastructure. They must demonstrate a moral and political will to serve their people with dignity and dedication.

Africa is not poor, Africa needs visionary leaders. The coloniser is long gone.


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