It is barely bearable for me when I hear religious leaders say that we in Africa need divine and spiritual interventions to solve our myriads of socio-economic and developmental challenges, but it galls me to no end when I hear our elected representatives pantomiming the same nonsense.
I am neither thrilled nor amused by the spectacle of African leaders holding prayer breakfast and other useless spiritual jamborees. The sight, in fact, makes me very angry. I found the sight of African leaders kneeling in supplication insulting, as it portrayed us Africans as mindless simpletons incapable of solving any of our problems without external interventions - be it from NGOs, IMF or some desert gods. If we are praying to the gods of our ancestors, that would be fine, but the spectacle of our elected leaders praying to the gods of the Jews and the Arabs is nauseating, to say the least.
Religion, any religion, is essentially the worship of ancestors. Are we Africans so screwed up in our heads that we do not recognize the irony in our supplicating to other people’s ancestors, whilst neglecting ours?
Are we so ashamed of our forbears that we would rather pay homage to the ancestors of other people than to those that gave birth to us? What crimes did our ancestors committed that made us hate them so much that we would rather prayed to Abraham, Isaac, Jesus, Allah etc, etc?
Any educated person today knows that Africa was the birthplace of MAN and we Africans are the parents of all human beings. How then do we explain the madness whereby we are borrowing the gods of the Semites (Semites are half-black and half-white)?
What sights daily confront us in Africa except incapable and visionless leaders jumping from one Western capital to another in search of solutions to their country’s problems? And whenever their feet manage to touch local terra firma, they are busy scurrying around churches and mosques beseeching the almighties to come down to earth to lead them out of the morass their crass ineptitude, personal selfishness and total lack of vision has led their nations.
How could our politicians (or are they really politricians?) so easily forget that few weeks ago they were campaigning and making promises to us?
We voted for people who told us that they have the answers to our economic and social woes, thus fulfilling our part of what I considered to be a contract. For an elected official to turn around and tell us that only the gods can save us is dishonest to say the least. He has broken his part of the bargain! And why is that African leaders needed divine intervention when they have to provide amenities and services for the ordinary people. No one sees them praying or supplicating before awarding themselves fantastic salaries and other emoluments!
It look like a serious scam to me when an elected politician turned around to tell me that he requires divine support in order to do what he claimed he could easily do when he was canvassing for my vote. The sight of African presidents on bended knees supplicating to a god to come and solve their nations’ problems is repulsive to me.
Do we need the involvement of any almighty god to grow the food that we eat? Do we need the angelic intercessions of any goblin of the sky to solve our erratic water and electricity supply problems? Do we need to bend knees and pray before we can provide adequate telecommunication services? Do we need any god to tell us to desilt our choked gutters and clean our dirty streets?
It is time that we in Africa recognize that no society has ever been developed by any god. If by development we meant qualitative improvements in the lives of people, we can say that Jehovah certainly did not develop Palestine when he purportedly led some Jews in that land. In no way did Jehovah improve the material well-being of those he purportedly led out of Egypt. He only made them wander aimlessly in the desert for forty years. The Egyptians practiced agriculture while Jehovah busies himself with feeding people with manna. And when his chosen clamored for some meat and stuffs, he killed many of them. Jehovah built neither school nor hospital. His so-called prophets kept the people in ignorance and busied themselves with killing little children.
The truth is that it is human beings, using their native intelligence, who mastered their environment and transform their societies for the better. This is the simple, unvarnished truth. And history recorded that this transformation could be achieved within a generation as per Israel and Malaysia and Singapore and....
Let anyone come forward and cite for me an example of a nation that has attained economic development through divine intervention. This is a challenge. Is it by any co-incidence that the only country in the so-called holy land that has attained a high level of economic development is secular Israel? When Jehovah was purportedly leading them in useless nomadic trek across the Palestinian and Arabia deserts, the Jews were starving. And they did not stop starving until they took to science and technology. It was not their knowledge of the Torah but their embracing modern sciences that enable the Jews to turn their desert into blossoming oasis and become net exporter of food!
Our leaders will do well to tell us the simple truth that we are deluding ourselves if we believe that some gods are coming down from the sky to solve our problems for us. What have we gained, as a people or as a nation, from all the endless spirituals pyrotechnics that are daily deluging us? What have we benefited, tangibly, from all the charade being perpetrated by shameless charlatans pretending to stand between us and alujanah? A
nd those shameless priests, so-called men of god should bury their collective heads in shame. They have no relevance in any modern society. They are simply blood-sucking parasite preying on the ignorance of the people. The cassocked charlatans who claimed to have authority of a Know-it-all father in heaven should tell us why they do not build hospitals if they are truly capable of healing. Why hide in churches and make a show of performing miracles when you can earn good kudos if you build a hospital?
I have lived in societies where human beings are decently feeding, clothing and housing themselves without appealing for divine intervention! I have lived in lands where human beings live in comfort with absolutely no spiritual intercession whatever. And, if anything, history tells us that it is only those lands that banished ignorance and set the gods strictly aside that have improved their physical environment and material well-being. Correct me if I am wrong, please!
Methinks that it is time we give the gods a break. By endowing us with immeasurable mineral resources the gods have certainly done their best for us. As a great African writer once put it, “The gods are not to blame.” We have no one but ourselves to blame if we continue to wallow in poverty because we refused to employ our intellects to solve purely temporal problems as others have done and continue to do.
The poser and challenge for us is why is it that our continent is the world’s richest in terms of mineral resources, and yet we remain the world’s underachievers and basket case? We die in millions when there is drought and we perish in millions when there is flood! Our electricity suppliers continue to blame too much water or too little of it in our dam, for their inability to provide us with steady power supply. And this is after over half a century of self governance!
Instead of properly educating ourselves to face the challenges of a globalized world we rather would spend inordinate amount of time in churches, mosques, prayer camps and what have you. And we pretend not to know why we live poorer than pets in some countries! Instead of de-silting our gutters, we would rather go and dance ourselves senseless at HOLY GHOST RETREATS; and we pretend not to know why we are dying of easily curable diseases. We would rather dance or beg than work. We would rather party than read. We would rather celebrate than think. Mental, intellectual and physical lethargy is our main problem and this is the truth that our leaders should be bold enough to tell us. In almost everything we do, we always seek the easiest way out. Take a look around and see the number of NGOs our compatriots have shamelessly set up to solicit Western, Asian and Arabian money under one pretense or another!
We have absolutely no self respect whatever as we are ever prepared to self-flagellate ourselves for whatever crumbs the Arab, the Asian or the European are willing to dole out to us. And we pretend not to understand why others continue to treat us with contempt even in our land!
While the rest of humanity is making giant strides creating the things to make life more comfortable, our lives continue to be ruled by ignorance and superstitions. We still belief the fiction that bad lucks are caused by witches and wizards and could be banished by olive oil. In this age and time, spiritual leaders still have the audacity to tell us the ignoble lie that a god created a devil to torment our lives, and that that devil could be expelled by bathing in sea water! We must certainly be the last species of humanity that still belief that barrenness could be cured by reciting some psalms and the tying of a talisman around a waist!
What is particularly galling is that our rulers continue to live far and above the poverty line they set for the rest of us. Or are our dear presidents going to bed on empty stomachs? Are they and their families lacking the facilities to cater for their health? Or when was the last time our dear leaders slept in darkness or failed to make an emergency telephone call? If our dear leaders are enjoying all these comforts without divine intervention, they have no business pulling wool over eyes by asking us to beg a god in order to enjoy what is considered basic in most of other countries.
Instead of telling us stupid lies about gods intervening in the affairs of men, our elected leaders should tell us why:
i. A HIPCed country like ours continues to pay fantastic salaries and emoluments to Ministers and special assistants. (To give an example, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, one of the world’s richest nations, live in his own house and drive his own car and so do all his Ministers)?
ii. An impoverished country like Ghana needed such expensive presidential cavalcade. (Again to give the example of the Netherlands, only the queen of that country travel with a motorcade and police escort)?
iii. A country like Ghana makes it her business to give car loans to parliamentarians. (In the Netherlands, a car loan for an MP is strictly the business of the MP and his car dealer and bank manager, period)?
iv. Our elite continue to import and consume beverages whose price tags look like telephone numbers. (To cite the Netherlands as an example once again, excessive consumption attracts excessive taxation, which is not the case in our dear land)?
v. Why a nation whose national airlines lack a single plane bought two presidential jet?
I have said it and I repeat it here that we in Africa will start to make headway in life only when we can compel our rulers to live on the same level they set for the rest of us. The recent spectacle of Ghanaian politicians awarding themselves fantastic salaries and emoluments is nauseating to me. Do these glaringly overfed and obviously over-compensated men and women have absolutely no shame at all?
PS: Would someone kindly tell me what, amidst our overwhelming squalor and general impoverishment is there to be grateful and thankful to any god about!