Wel­come to the AU where cor­rup­tion has changed name

Sunday Trust - - VIEWPOINT - Tun­deasaju@ya­hoo.co.uk with Tunde Asaju

This is a great time to be an African. I know the en­e­mies of the black race work hard at ob­fus­cat­ing and oblit­er­at­ing the his­tor­i­cal ev­i­dence of our great­ness and place as the ori­gin of hu­mankind and home of its civilization. Liv­ing on past glory alone we should hold our heads very high and pay no mind to Don­ald Trump.

I am proud to be African. It may be true that be­fore Mungo Park, the peo­ple of Jebba had no clue that the Niger River flowed in their back­yard. When Han­ning Speke dis­cov­ered a big lake in the south­ern part of Africa, he did not wait for the eighth day to name it Vic­to­ria Falls.

In 2018, 54 lead­ers of my con­ti­nent have just com­pleted a meet­ing of their union. All but three of them were decked in their na­tional cos­tume – suits and tie. While some peo­ple are mak­ing ex­pe­di­tions to the moon, some­where in Africa peo­ple are snatch­ing the corpse of an al­bino. They hope its body parts would bring them more wealth than Mark Zucker­berg could see in twelve lu­nar months and more in­flu­ence than Bill Gates. Some­where in a grotto in South­ern Naija, ba­bal­a­wos keep a zoo of kid­napped hu­mans con­vinced some­one would want them slaugh­tered for power and wealth. In Mozam­bique be­ing bald is not a badge of hon­our to be wan­tonly dis­played; it could be a death sen­tence to those who feel that bald­ness hides wealth even when the wealthy are poor.

In spite of it all, the African Union has just put up a big show in Ad­dis Ababa. En­e­mies of progress tried to di­gress by claim­ing that the new AU build­ing, do­nated from the bot­tom of Chi­nese gen­eros­ity was all the while, a Greek gift. They claim the Chi­nese rigged the build­ing with hid­den cam­eras and ca­bles har­vest­ing ev­ery slap of the but­tocks of bu­reau­crats by randy Heads of State and of­fi­cials. So, the of­fi­cials hired a firm with Chi­nese equip­ment who de­clared it pure hogwash.

We are ob­vi­ously not aware that the com­mies would buy in­for­ma­tion at any cost; they won’t bother us be­cause we are trusted friends. They have no rea­son to har­vest our se­crets through the walls when they could get any clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion over cups of tea, wine or by pass­ing over wads of dol­lars to the AU en­voys seek­ing favour. They have di­rect ac­cess to our Heads of State that go to China cap in hand sign­ing all sorts of con­tracts for what is left by Euro­pean and Amer­i­can ma­raud­ers.

Why spy when you are in con­trol? The Chi­nese are in charge of tech­nol­ogy, they con­trol our roads and ports, our homes and its dé­cor, the hair on the heads of our women, the clothes be­hind our backs, the toys our chil­dren and we their par­ents play with and the shin­gles over our heads. They have more claims to African land­mass than we care to ad­mit and make no claim to colo­nial­ism. We must be proud to have them as friends in Ad­dis Ababa and from Cape Town to Tim­bouktu.

My pride stems from the fact that Africa has the AU the same way that Europe used to have the EU un­til Theresa May’s Brexit broke it down. Africa has the AU while Don­ald Trump is dec­i­mat­ing North Amer­ica’s NAFTA and UN agen­cies. Walk tall Africans, you have the AU.

Once in a while, we have the wan­ton dis­play of op­u­lence at these jam­borees. We don’t have to worry about cli­mate change as we drive some dig­ni­taries in the fu­el­guz­zling lim­ou­sines while oth­ers dis­play their I-pass-my-neigh­bour re­fur­bished planes. We do all these in Ethiopia, a na­tion in the vice grip of a bru­tal dic­ta­tor­ship, which for­bids its cit­i­zens from us­ing text mes­sages or so­cial me­dia, im­pris­ons ac­tivists and ran­domly blocks the In­ter­net.

We have the AU, ever proud to have di­nosaurs like Muham­nadu Buhari sell­ing the same an­ticor­rup­tion blue­print he pitched 30 years ago and got tossed un­der the bus to a hood­winked con­ti­nent. He is in good com­pany with Paul Biya, has noth­ing new to teach Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mba­sogo. He is bound to envy Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni and the sur­vival in­stinct of Idris Derby Itno. He is a buddy of the Moroc­can King.

Africa is mak­ing progress in re­verse gear. Paul Kagame the new helms­man is re­puted for im­pris­on­ing a young woman who chal­lenged his life pres­i­dency. One is dis­ap­pointed that this all­male ex­clu­sive club did not once men­tion Robert Mu­gabe. They must have toasted to the si­lence coup of Emer­son Mnan­gagwa and felt com­fort­able with Faure Gnass­ingbe and Joseph Ka­bila the demo­cratic princes of Togo and Congo who suc­ceeded their par­ents in power.

Com­fort­ably chew­ing the khat of demo­cratic adu­la­tion would have been the likes of Omar al-Bashir, deadbeat fugi­tive at large. Some­where doz­ing would’ve been Ab­de­laziz Boute­flika whose modus vivendi is keep­ing his cit­i­zens guess­ing whether he is alive or dead. With Boko Haram and ma­raud­ing herds­men dec­i­mat­ing West Africa, al-Shabab in So­ma­lia mak­ing fre­quent in­cur­sions into Kenya, Joseph Kony still at large and Tuareg rebels wreck­ing havoc in the desert, while xeno­pho­bia thrives in South Africa, there is rea­son to adopt cor­rup­tion as the great­est threat to a con­ti­nent which pa­rades the likes of Ja­cob Zuma as leader. If you won’t do any­thing about this can­cer, at least ad­mit it ex­ists and the world would pay you at­ten­tion and even a few dol­lars.

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