Ever wondered why Africa’s underdevelopment impasse has lasted a crude 50 decades after independence? Well I have been wondering and wondering aloud at that. The only common denominator that the African countries have in common seems to be the ‘African politician’. For the purpose of this post the African politician may be construed or misconstrued to refer to the African parliamentarian. I have a gut feeling that Robert Muslin’s ‘The Man Without Qualities’ had the contemporary African politician in mind, though from the onset I must acquiesces that I have not read nor made acquaintance with the novel but then again a fail to see a title more befitting for the inept ‘the African politician’ than ‘The Man Without Qualities’.


A look at the quintessential African politician reveals a very queer breed of person. African politicians’ possess at best superficial knowledge on most knowledge disciplines yet pretend to be authorities on almost all other disciplines. At least that can be deciphered from the quality of legislation and debate that comes out of African parliaments. There was comedy in Kenya’s parliament a while back when Kenyan MPs alleged that that Kenya’s territorial integrity had been breached because GSM cell-phones on the Kenyan side of the Kenyan-Uganda boarder registered MTN-Uganda rather than register Kenyan cellular providers. An African politician will proceed to make legislation on medical and health issues he will be devoid of knowledge that appertains to human anatomy.


The African politician will pretend to be an unadulterated repository of morals; staunch defenders of the family and the family unit, yet their proclivity for extra-marital sexual affairs have been documented. Aren’t these the same people who deflower who our young campus girls, and throw ravish parties in exclusive luxury apartments.  I mean some of them even have the luxury of cutting off the heads of the flowers they deflower as was the case when a promising Mercy Keino found her life cut short after attending a party thrown-out by Juja legislator; William Kabogo, who is also beleaguered with accusations of drug dealing.


African politicians are best at peddling hope more than any other politicians on the globe.  There cannot be any better hope mongers than African politicians. Their pre-election promises are as enticing as the allures of an afterlife in heaven. I mean  look at some of the things they promise; free health-care, free education, free water, as if mankind was not obsessed with free things already. Yet these are the same people who will send their children to the best and most expensive private international schools in the country and if possible their children will be shipped out abroad for education, they will regularly fly out to their personal physicians in; London, New York, Brussels or any other exotic city that they could think of ion the world. Come to think of African politicians have the luxury of choosing the cities of their death, as is evident in the number of politicians who’ve had their last breaths of life within the geography of the African continent.


Politicians on the African continent also have the uncanny habit of preaching equality more than any other place on earth. In their utopian vision the African demagogues promise a world where equality reigns, where the slates for the poor are wiped clean. Yet ironically African politicians are known for stacking up on largesse that comes with political power more than anywhere else on earth. In their secret bank accounts in Switzerland, The Jersey Islands or the Cayman islands they have stashed more wealth for themselves than the gross domestic products of their respective countries. Yet in their lucid desires to remain in power have ensured that they stoke up artificial divisions among people at times with disastrous consequences as is the case in Rwanda. Politicians have ensured that  a belligerent culture reigns among people, a culture where dialogogue is made impossible thereby ensuring that African people have till this day have not come to the conclusion who the real and shared enemy to progress is.  In their quest to maintain their tentacles on political power, anything goes and any sacrifice is not too big a sacrifice. Many Africans have lost their lives from the cross-fire between and politicians who are desperately trying to cling on power.


For Africa to progress and be in tandem with today’s global world, I am of the opinion that African leadership must change for the better. The archaic, negative and belligerent leadership forced up down our gullets must be incinerated and from the ashes; fresh, thrifty and objective leadership must arise for the continents’ development aspiration to be realized.


Kenya’s Alex Ndungu Njeru is a columnist on the AfricanLiberty’s Voice of Liberty

Alex shows the true face of the average African politician