Professor Sisay Asefa of Western Michigan University responds to No. 306, a continuation of reactions to the editorial by the New York Times.
Political and economic reform is only possible with a combined effort of internal and external forces. In some countries there is no civil society or independent intellectuals that can move the process along what you suggest.
Leaders of world's democracies such as the United States must speak with a clear voice that they stand with African people in their desperate quest for better life, liberty and freedom. Look at what happened in the Ukraine, when a US President spokes clearly that his government and Americans stand for free election and liberty. Also, look at the Sudan, where the vicious 22 year old war that have costed over 2 milllion African lives and destroyed natural resources, primarily due vicious dictatorship based on the ideology Islamic Fundamentalism imposed by Khartoum Government over Black Africans which has just been settled, due to a strong stand of world leaders for human liberty and freedom better life for Africans.
I reject the implicit notion of racists that seems to suggest Black Africans cannot be democratic or do not seek liberty. Look at the quiet Southern of African country of Botswana which has sustained a vibrant democracy in the midst of vampire neighbors such as neighboring Mugabe of Zimbabwe. I am lucky to spend one year as a visiting scholar in this Country, which changed my intellectual perspective on African Development. I am sure Mr. Mugabe will love your suggestion of "only internal solutions" so that he can continue the destruction of Zimbabwe's economy. Ask another eminent intellectual of Africa, Nobel Prize Laureate Wole Soyinka of Nigeria. He will tell you the truth, more or less, similar what I am saying.
Until the so called African leaders and their intellectual apologists, put their house in order and come out to defend the true freedom and democracy for Africans, and bring about equitable economic growth and massive reduction of poverty, I am afraid what I am proposing is the only way to free Africa.
So, to say that "only internal solutions" can free Africa and bring about sustainable development is a wishful thinking that is not workable in the long-run.
Peace, Freedom, and Progress for Africa and African People!
Sisay Asefa, Professor