Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Frankfurt, Germany uses the story of the Kenyan minister to reflect on the African obsession for that which is foreign.



My interest was aroused by a sentence in the report below, which read that the Minister went to London to treat his fall. I asked myself whether there were no hospitals in Kenya or whether there were no physiotherapists there. It baffles me because I know that long before the colonial masters came, that traditional Africa boasts of an overabundance of good native orthopaedic doctors, that performed non-invasive setting of fractured bones. This guy was not the first to fall in bathroom. Africans have been falling off palm trees, with fractures to the hips which have been treated and cured by the hands of these native alternatives.


An African minister falls in his bathroom, and he is ferried to London, most probably at public expense to get some physiotherapy! Is this not laughably stupid?  How many American or European Ministers or politicians have ever come to Africa for any treatment whatsoever? None because they spent those resources setting up qualitative centres of medical excellence in their backyards, that they needed not travel the world to get some physiotherapy and the likes.


But in Africa, everything that has semblance of “foreign made” enslaves the imbecility of our colonized minds. This is the kind of mental slavery that has manacled African development. This explains the absence of incentives to develop our local resources or maintain our existing structures. Hospitals across Africa lie decrepit, and the governments charged with the people’s welfare turns a nelson’s eye to it, because non of its officials patronizes those hospitals either as patients or as visitors. Their medical tabs and those of their relations are picked up by the State, while the services are delivered in some Western capital. Why is poverty of ideas dominating the leadership corridors of African politics?


This very same ideological poverty diffuses across the social spectrum. If not the case, can someone give me one justifiable reason why the Nigerian Football Association is grovelling after a foreign coach with a chest full of cash and incentives, which she denied their local alternatives who have the skills it takes to excel?  A foreign coach is made an offer of over $900,000 dollars, while Samson Siasia had to go begging bowl in hand for a paltry 7 million naira to kit his wards to represent Nigeria in the U-21 World cup. Christian Chukwu as a coach of the Super Eagles was paid 1 million naira with a lot of arreas owed him, while the same NFA was ready to cough out $30,000 monthly for a foreign coach, that is over 200% increase on what they offered a home boy. The homeboy spends his funds at home, while the foreign guy repatriates his home, and our economy loses. Those guys have really no heads. Are we so cursed that we can never have thinkers for leaders in Africa?


I think that many African leaders are not coconut heads a la Ayittey, they are simply slaves to colonial mentality. What we need in Africa is simply conceptual decolonization. Bob Marley saw tomorrow and begged Africans to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. That is the greatest problem manacling African development.


Another example of this is seen even in the criminal sector. Our kleptocrats steal our cash and deposit it in foreign countries, where they bear interests and create jobs for those nations, while their countries are abandoned like a jilted lover. Chinweizu was right when he observed that colonialism destroyed the African in the mind, with a miseducation, which confers upon us a stupid propensity to mutilate a perfect left foot, because the Whiteman canonizes the right foot.


I think that any African president who goes abroad for treatment should resign his office. I wonder how a man who has passed a vote of no confidence on the country he presides over, can still feel himself qualified to continue ruling that country. When they would not resign like many African political accidents are wont to do, the people should rise up and stone them out of office. The Orange revolution in the Ukraine and the Rose revolution in Georgian are historical precedents. Africans should rise up and banish irresponsible and shameless leadership from her firmament. The followership must be vigilant on what concerns them, as tyranny and bad governance are testaments to a disembowelled and eviscerated followership.