Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World

Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World
Red Roses for You, My Sweet Friends ... Total Love.

My Sweet Friends

My sweet friends,

We grow closer to each other;

When we interact together and share ideas;

The common faith that we share,

Binds our hearts in one accord.

For sweet friendships last a life time,

When built on mutual respect, humility and understanding;

Throughout each different season,

We find we are one in life.

Sweet friends are there through times of grief;

And times when hope is gone;

Always there with encouragement;

So we can carry on.

I thank the Lord for you,

My true and faithful friends;

To fondly speak with you, whether we agree or not,

On this, our beloved blog;

For sweet friends will stay, no matter what;

Giving support.

Together, our hearts and minds truly unite;

With the amazing love of sweet friends.

In the spirit of true friendship,

Best wishes, my sweet friends;

May the Lord bless you abundantly.

I remain, yours truly,

B.B. Bakampa.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

THE AFRICAN DREAM

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma

July, 2009

Dedication:
(i) To my beloved old uncle, Twinomucunguzi Fred, who hitherto passionately advocated a free and prosperous Africa achievable through a protracted all African people’s revolutionary struggle, but has recently abandoned this noble cause citing threats imposed by contemporary dictatorial regimes that are capable of exterminating their opponents and the belief that those who struggle to free others do so in vain because people don’t appreciate however much one genuinely sacrifices for them.
Be that true as it may, it is my profound conviction that the struggle to liberate mother Africa from misery must go on unabated. The apparently overwhelming challenges notwithstanding, someone somewhere has to sacrifice for the millions of good Africans out there in dire need of salvation. Your passionate concern for Africa inspired me to reduce my thoughts in writing as I promised I would one day. This document is in fulfilment of that promise and it is my hope and desire that you will find it appealing.

(ii) To all compatriots faithfully and genuinely devoted to the struggle to build a better Africa that will be the envy of all the earth. An Africa that truly belongs to all of her citizens and not just to a select few. Be strong, courageous and resilient, for the struggle continues.

Part I: Introduction
The African dream is a vision of the people of Africa. A society without a dream is like a ship without a compass. Our dream is development and prosperity, premised on basic fundamental tenets herein below mentioned. It is this land of milk and honey, which has remained elusive in Africa that is envisaged here. For all intents and purposes, Africa means and includes all other lands and peoples outside the continent of Africa as understood today but which bear common characteristics with mainland Africa for instance Haiti and Jamaica. The African dream is their dream too. Development has remained elusive in Africa. Consequently, Africans rank least compared to their counterparts in other parts of the world in terms of welfare. It is no surprise therefore, that Africans are the most vulnerable on earth today, virtually living in a state of shock. The African Dream is a suggested roadmap to prosperity for all Africans. It is a precursor to a strong wave of change on African soil and signifies a ray of hope for better times ahead.

Part II: Fundamental Tenets of the African Dream
1. Unity
The grand dream of the African populace is total unity. Africa is a continent dissected into several states. This balkanization of the African people was a colonial machination which impedes development as it has the effect of imposing social barriers and divisions among us. These imaginary boundaries are agents of social disorientation. The African dream is therefore, to abolish them and create a New Africa in which there is unrestricted movement and interaction except in accordance with the law. This requires viable political, social and economic integration sooner than later. Time therefore, is of essence.

Decades ago, the late Kwame Nkrumah advocated this and the general consensus is that it is the way to go but our national governments and the African Union have failed to deliver on this important issue. Suffice it to say that both are largely big entities of idle people. The unification of Africa under one government is long overdue. African unification requires a scheduled approach akin to the one adopted by the East African Community. Eventual unification through regional integration may mean waiting for eternity. We should therefore, have a scheduled time frame during which strong institutions necessary for supporting our union can be established. I believe ten years is sufficient time to attain that.
In 2005, in a poem entitled My Dear Africa, (hereon attached) I attempted to give the reasons why it is vital for Africa to unite which included, inter alia, prosperity. But it is not just that––we should unite against bad leadership by promoting tolerance and accountability. Now is the end of the politics of hatred and labelism. We should unite against poverty, exploitation, disease and endless civil wars. As a single unit, any unjustified war would be an act of aggression against everyone of us. We shall defeat the enemy as a consolidated team. United we stand, divided we fall.

2. Democracy
A developed society is one which is organized and managed on agreed principles of conduct. This demands a sense of order and purpose; for where there is order, there is a purpose for it. The purpose for this is the fulfilment of the African dream. Socio-political organization is as instrumental to development as orderliness is to a student aiming at passing exams in school. Therefore, day-to-day state affairs must be run systematically through generally accepted norms and practices.

Democracy is one of such norms and practices. A democratic society is one in which its inhabitants are truly in charge of their affairs if they are to develop because substantial development can neither be imported nor imposed. For that matter, our development should be a product of our own ingenuity and initiative as Africans in an environmentally friendly manner. Our people must partake of and perceive themselves as the ultimate beneficiaries or losers of their development aspirations. Development must be reflected in people’s cultures and attitudes and must be sustainable. It should not only meet the needs of the present generation but also ensure that those of the future generations are not prejudiced either.

In a democracy, there is collective thinking; meaning that an opportunity is availed to everyone to contribute positively to the development process by participating in policy and decision making processes. People should not be judged on basis of the colour of their skins, ethnicity, race or religious affiliation but on basis of their character and integrity. But I don’t wish to sound idealistic here; for we all know that it is humanly impossible for all of us to make decisions at a given time. Therefore, there must be effective representation effected through regular free and fair elections reflecting the true will of the people. This concept of “Governments of National Unity” where elections are held with the effect of portraying the winner as the loser and the loser as the winner must be shunned in our New Africa. Equally important are term limits speculating how long one can last in a leadership position. When people perceive their society as being inequitable, resentment and discontent naturally result. This can be cured by term limits which have the additional benefit of promoting responsible leadership.

Democracy promotes patriotism which is a key pillar in national development. Real and sustainable nationalism is attained by nurturing a sense of pride in the people of their nation. When the citizenry believes that the country truly belongs to them, and not just to an oligarchy, pride in that country is achieved and so is patriotism. Accountability to the citizens is vital to achieving a patriotic citizenry. Perhaps the question that may arise is––democracy for who? And the answer is, democracy for the oppressed and marginalized.

3. Constitutionalism
Constitutionalism denotes government according to the terms of a constitution. A constitutional government therefore, is one operating within the limits of a constitution. Constitutional governance is a reflection of social organisation which I already pointed out is critical for meaningful rapid development. Historically, constitutions emerged as people’s protective mechanisms against excesses of their leaders. Constitutions were then perceived as tools and guarantees of unity, welfare and good governance of those to whom they were meant to apply. Constitutionalism therefore accords people utmost priority.

Owing personalized governance and subservience, most of contemporary Africa has never known constitutional rule; the fact that there are constitutions all over Africa not withstanding! These are what Nigeria’s Professor Nwabueze calls countries with constitutions but without constitutionalism. Most of these constitutions are mere instruments for legitimizing the exercise of power. They are nothing else but noble declarations of objectives and descriptions of government organs that are moreover hardly enforceable because of the lack of political will to enforce them. The African dream is to restore constitutional sanity in mother Africa. Constitutionalism is an embodiment of three pillars––the rule of law, checks and balances of government powers and observance of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

3.1. Rule of Law
Every society must be governed by some pro people rules, regulations and popular customs, wanton derogation from which must be condemned. The said rules, regulations and customs are collectively known as law. The term rule of law is quite multifaceted but it basically means leadership in accordance with the law. It denotes rule of law as opposed to rule by law. Under the rule of law, government, its agents and organs, should be able to justify its actions by pointing at a specific provision of law as being its basis for acting in a given manner. It further means that government and individual citizens should be subjected to the same law. Therefore, rule of law presupposes equality before the law. The status quo today presupposes that all people are equal but some are more equal than others! Laws are usually applied selectively. This is not the African dream.

3.2. Checks and Balances of Powers
History teaches us that it is dangerous and suicidal, to entrust all power and authority of government in the hands of one person. The truth is that power tempts and corrupts and absolute power tempts and corrupts absolutely. To overcome this, constitutional law experts have argued that the powers of government should be exercised by different organs and individuals with relative independence from one another. These organs should however be able to check and regulate one another’s activities so as to prevent occasioning tyranny on the individual persons. This leads to balances of government powers and firmly guarantees the rights of individual citizens so that they are able to enjoy the fruits of a free society which Africa is desirous to become.

3.3. Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms
All people are born with inalienable rights and freedoms which are not granted by anybody. They accrue to people by virtue of who they are––human beings. Throughout human history however, it is clear that in the quest of obtaining dominance over others, human leaders tender to deny or abuse the rights of others resulting in oppression. There has had to be spirited and prolonged struggles before these rights have been redeemed by the oppressed. The point is that whereas it is common knowledge that there are human rights, they can only remain as mere declarations unless and until steps are taken to enforce them. The immense and protracted suffering of the African people is a manifestation of wanton abuse of their fundamental human rights. Amidst an abundance of natural resources, Africans remain the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth. While hundreds of millions of them go to bed hungry year after year, our leaders are on rampage stealing our money made out of our sweat and blood. Our own people have reduced us to slavery partly due to our own complacency. The African dream is to stop this pillage and abuse of our rights at all costs. One of Uganda’s distinguished columnists, Mr. James Magode Ikuya wrote that “A slave who does not struggle against his slavery remains and deserves to be a slave.” We ought to remember that whereas the first slaves were created by force, their cowardice maintained them as slaves.

4. Justice and Equality
The African dream also seeks the creation of a just and equitable society. Justice and equality are correlative and complementary terms operating alongside one another. There must be an independent, accessible, fair, impartial, expedient and affordable justice system for all Africans and other people on African soil. Justice should neither be sold like merchandise in a shop nor should it be a luxury available to a select few; rather it should truly be a right available to all and sundry. The concept of justice is not limited to court and law systems but also extends to the economic, social and political arena.

4.1. Economic justice
Economic justice means that each and every member of the society is able to participate in the production process. This necessitates creation of employment opportunities. It is the duty of a democratically elected government to mobilize resources, both human and physical, to create employment for the citizens and there is no tenable excuse for failing to do this.

4.2. Social justice
Social justice on the other hand means that the proceeds from the production process should be used to provide social services to the people. After toiling hard to produce commodities, returns thereof should be used by those in authority to satisfy human needs like healthcare, good transport facilities, safe water, eliminating corruption and so on in addition to paying adequate salaries and wages to workers. Despite an abundance of natural resources, Africa today has miserably failed to satisfactorily provide even the least of these basic requirements. The African dream is to build systems and capacity to sustainably exploit our resources for everyone’s benefit.

4.3. Political justice
According to John Rawls, justice in political terms means tolerance and acceptance of pluralism. In the New Africa, we must be able to accommodate one another’s reasonable differences. In a plural society, people live and let live. In the contemporary world, this is termed as unity in diversity. Political justice hinges on organised and accommodative political competition as an essential prerequisite to progressive political pluralism but not the kind of beast politics synonymous with Africa today.

A society must not only be just but equal in nature as well. Equality is chief among the central ethical, moral and political values. Aristotle believed that equality as a principle should be treated as a consistency requirement where no discrimination should be made between persons who equal in all respects relevant to the decision under consideration. Immanuel Kant understood equality to mean a situation where no person is treated as a means to satisfy the ends of another.

It signifies three things namely, equality of opportunity, equality of access and equality of results.
Equality of opportunity gives everyone the same opportunities or chances regardless of any irrelevant considerations. It should however be noted that a person must have the requisite skills in order to succeed in the opportunities available.
Equality of access enables everyone to reach and utilize the opportunities available.
Equality of results ensures minimum level below which no one should be allowed to fall.

Equality remains elusive to Africa despite the guarantees in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other state constitutions that all people are equal. In order to achieve equality, Africa must fully embrace the concept of opportunity and publicly combat inequality by bravely addressing all existing imbalances created over time by both colonial and post-independent African regimes. Examples are those pertinent to land and social ones created on basis of gender and age differences. As Bahaullah taught, man and woman are like a bird’s wings. For the bird to fly properly, the wings must be equal and balanced. The same applies to world development. For the world to develop rapidly there must be concerted effort to realize racial equality. Not even the developed worlds of Eurasia and America will progress further with a sea of people living in desolation and destitution around them. Short of this, any hopes of sustainable development will come to naught.

5. Africa and the Rest of the World.
No man is an island and Africa is no exception to this rule. Africans, as a matter of fact, must live in association with others. Through close association, whole world will unite and live as one eventually. This is not only a desirable but inevitable course of events which no people worth their name can afford to neglect. Today, this trend manifests itself in the idea of a New World Order. The world is slowly but steadily realizing the importance of global unity.

But the New World Order as perceived and sought today presents no opportunity for Africa. Its proponents seek to create a society of only masters and servants without any middle men––a society without a middle class. It is a world of survival for the fittest where those who cannot cope either perish or survive as slaves. One’s status and class will be determined by his/her purchasing power. Since human relations are economic, the purchasing power resultantly determines one’s authority and influence. The New World Order therefore, envisages a world where money and power hold sway. Those having the two will be the masters and those without them will be the masters’ slaves. The third world like Africa, where pauperism still reigns supreme, will provide the slaves. Clearly, this must be changed but this can only be done by those able to do so. Capacity building is crucial.

The African dream is to change the world and make it a better place for all mankind and other nature’s creation. Our dream is to make a world more hospitable and accommodative: a land of opportunity and possibility. Since it is clear that the eventual unification of the world is inevitable, it is of paramount importance, and indeed the African dream, that a common medium of communication should be adopted. Absence of a common language hampers development. A common language precipitates development. In my opinion, English should be officially adopted as the medium of global communication. This being inevitable as already noted, whoever chooses to fight it fights a losing battle.

Part III: Achieving the African Dream
The African dream is not a utopian or abstract idea. On the contrary, it is a pragmatic master plan that is embellished in strands of utter reality. Africa only has to believe it and she can achieve it.

The ruling elite in Africa today views state power as a source of private capital. This explains the existence of bloated cabinets across Africa. Save for a few exceptions, the trend is that those who aspire to get in positions of leadership do so with selfish intentions of keeping political authority for eternity. Some leaders like Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gaddafi have shamelessly said that revolutionaries don’t retire. Others like Uganda’s General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni have claimed monopoly of vision and leadership capacity in their countries. The likes of these leaders have usurped revolutionary struggles in their countries by personalizing them. There is a well orchestrated plot to make political power hereditary! There is a furtherance of a monarchial system of administration which is disguised in sham elections whereby we now have presidential monarchies. The truth is that in most African countries, selections are held instead of elections. The world has moved on from monarchial to republican systems of political administration. This is because it became crystal clear that monarchies were basically useless, highly exploitative and inequitable. Kingdoms, it was discovered, were like vermin which ought to be exterminated. They are like destructive goats in a garden. No wonder that even where they still exist today, they are simply ceremonial with no substantial roles they play that regularly and democratically elected leaderships cannot fulfil. They are simply unnecessary museum pieces and manifestations of backwardness. But considering our dream of political justice, it is imperative upon us to ensure that those who truly believe in retaining them may gladly do.

For that reason therefore, Africans cannot afford to permit any machinations to that effect in the twenty first century and beyond. It is upon all Africans and their well-wishers to ensure that real democracy and not a pseudo one prevails. As I had already noted above the current leadership is hell-bent on ensuring that governance is a kith and kin affair and any opposition is met with utter ruthlessness from the authorities. The only viable solution therefore lies in self-sacrifice for a better future for all of us. My dear friends, it is self-sacrifice through a popular all people’s revolution. It is only a revolution that will set us free from the predatory class of the ruling elite. It is only through a revolution that we shall get to the promised land of development and prosperity. The Romans believed that when there is no way, they would find one or build one. Emulating the Romans, we either have to find a way out of our problems or build one; and there is no shortcut here. We deserve better because we are wonderfully and fearfully made. While advocating a revolutionary struggle, I am alive to the fact that I may easily arouse controversy because many before me have abused the sanctity of revolutionary movements. They have only used them as avenues to achieving selfish ends. This is deeply regrettable. My humble appeal is that the struggle must continue. We must keep trying until we get acceptable revolutionaries. Remember Shaka SSali’s message to always keep the African hope alive.

The revolution is premised on the understanding that we should seek the political kingdom first and the rest shall be added unto us. It should begin with personal positive changes in our attitude and beliefs gradually unfolding into meaningful changes in our wider society. We are a very precious people who deserve better than we have now and it is incumbent upon us to realize that. Dr Martin Luther King once remarked that our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about the issues that matter. Africa cannot remain silent anymore. Africa must rise and speak out––and she is. This is a civil revolution which for all intents and purposes is meant to be peaceful. But should the political bourgeoisie, contented with the current inhuman status quo, attempt to swat our struggle and write off the revolution, we shall stick to our mission and fight back because the African dream must go on unabated. Resistance to our cause will be vehemently opposed with all the force necessary and reasonable in the circumstances.

Revolutionary struggles are not tea-parties and certainly not beds of roses. In a revolution some people have to lose their lives and loved ones, some their limbs and others their properties. Benefits of revolutions neither come on silver plates nor are they granted upon demand by the enslaved. They are precious rewards that accrue to those who stand up and fight for them. In this struggle, as Franklin D. Roosevelt said, all we have to fear is fear itself. Revolutions are long term investments by those in pursuit of freedom and gains thereof, once properly handled, are worth the struggle and sacrifices made. Unlike governments which live by law, revolutions live by people who nurture and sustain them. A revolution must therefore, be people-oriented and centered if its ideals are to live the test of time. The vanguards and torch bearers of the African revolution that I now advocate are all Africans the youth and elite who are possessed with sufficient intelligence and capacity to objectively comprehend the dire situation at hand. There is therefore need for self preservation. Africa must, however, beware of this elite class because today the elite are the same people responsible for our misery. They consume most yet produce least. Ladies and gentlemen, to overcome the predicament that has befallen us, revolutionary movements are the way to go.

Conclusion
The critical need for change in Africa cannot be overemphasized. Anyone in Africa only has to look around his/her surrounding environment to appreciate this. The evidence available is overwhelming and speaks volumes for itself. What should be noted is that this change will not come from anybody else other than Africans themselves. Fine, other people may give advice and offer a helping hand but Africans must reserve the power of veto. This change must be struggled for because it will not fall like manner from heaven. It is common knowledge that freedom is not free and that peace is not cheap. Deliberate effort must be taken to realise them and as I have clearly pointed out, the only meaningful and sustainable way to achieve this is through a revolution that will overhaul the grossly ruined fabric of our society.

In all our endeavours, we must not forget the good Lord. We should always remember to call upon the Almighty God to bless the works of our hands and thoughts in our minds. God is merciful and His love does not wane. He created us free from slavery. Call unto Him in these difficult times and He will be there, for He alone knows the plans that He has for us; plans to bring us prosperity and not disaster; plans to bring about the future we hope for. But as revolutionaries beware the false prophesies of some people masquerading as messengers from God. It is also the African dream to liberate mankind from falsehoods.

In this struggle to liberate Africa that I now proclaim, always remember Dr. Robert H. Schuller’s message that tough times never last but tough people do. Tough people will command all the obstacles in their way to move and they will surely obey them. Truth be told, this is an enormous challenge that takes the bravest of hearts and strongest of souls––but it is doable.

MY DEAR AFRICA

My dear Africa,
you are diseased
with no cure and yet neglected
hunger has devastated you.

You are poor – a beggar,
rich as you are!
condemned to begging
you seem.

Like yesterday,
war is at your door-step today
killing your handsome
sons and daughters.

You have been left,
to opportunists and self-seekers
how ruined you now are
with no hope of recovery.

My dear Africa,
listen - there is hope and a solution
yes, there is…
Unite.

In unity you will move mountains.
In unity you will be strong.
In unity you will prosper.
Above all,
In unity you will be mighty.

Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
Uganda