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The shithole continent in an era of Western populism

A prime ministerial misadventure played into the hands of populists and nationalists shattering, perhaps irrevocably, an already imperiled dream of a European super-state.

A Clinton misadventure safely delivered a swearing nationalist and closet racist to the White House.

A French copycat effort blew up spectacularly, momentarily dazzling a world reeling in shock at gale force winds of populism battering both sides of the Atlantic. In Germany, Merkel’s fate hung on by a thread.

The politics of globalism and inclusivity are fast losing appeal as the west loses ground to the right. As German elections unfolded, it became clear that Merkel, the angel of immigration empathy, was living on a wing and a prayer.

The price for inclusivity and integration would be counted in lost votes.

Populism, fueled by anti-immigration sentiment, is gathering strength by the day.

Barring divine intervention, it is only a matter of time before Western Europe and America are virtually an impenetrable fortress. The message is on the wall; western jobs and opportunities for westerners. African poverty for Africans.

Not long ago, you would have to go to a sports stadium to find a celebration of nationalism at the scale now seen in Europe. But alas, the streets of Europe are teeming with hostile, tattooed, slogan chanting and swearing European young and the old. Populism is on the march; brazen and vicious.

Election after election, right wing parties and candidates are giving the right a bloody nose. Populism is slowly asserting itself as the new European normal.

There is no longer a European escape to African misery. Africans must find solutions to life in their continent or accept the reality of their hopeless condition.

In the midst of all the ejection, the rejection and the dejection, the faltering economies of Africa; Russian bombs; American bombs; and the failed hopes of a Syrian democratic state churn up more immigrants causing the cup of discontent to overflow and further, supplying fuel to the vile eloquence of nationalists, closet racists and out-and-out racists.

Even as this spectre unfolds in Europe, overloaded African boats continue to brave the Mediterranean, aboard them thousands of men, women and children whose chances of landing on dry land are only as of landing on the ocean floor.

On the other side of the short, watery arc of the globe that separates Africa and Europe, a fatigued Italian coast-guard stands bent beneath the crushing weight of wave after wave of African immigrants.

Some arrive aboard makeshift boats; some coastguard vessels; while some are delivered ashore by foamy Mediterranean tides.

In the midst of its misfortune, the Italian coastguard has become emblematic of the finer virtues of humanity and compassion; feeding and clothing terrified and hungry survivors. Thanks to far eastern TV sets, news

of disaster is received daily in Africa.

To the thousands of victims of African poverty and political unrest and the many that daily follow in their footsteps, an unmarked grave along a European coastline is a more dignified and preferable end to the oppression, disease, poverty and dejection that defines African life.

As more boats make the perilous journey towards the southern coast of Europe, European jets fly in the opposite direction to fortify a desert African coastline wasted by terror, ravaged by poverty, writhing in political turmoil and plundered by a resurgent and brutal slave trade.

The above is a tale of an African dreaming of a life in a European continent living an African nightmare. And it is not even half the story. The plight of East, Central and Southern Africa is hardly distinguishable from that of North and West Africa. Poverty and political misrule are two sides of the same coin.

In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni wants to rule forever. In Rwanda, Paul Kagame seeks to rule forever. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the son of a dictator is living his father’s example. In Kenya, an election truant swears himself into presidential office whilst an election rigger smiles in his father’s seat.

In Ethiopia, prisons overflow with political prisoners. In Zimbabwe, judges draft orders in the dead of the night to legitimise a military coup and an accomplice to murder and rapine ascends to power promising an end to his own legacy. In Lesotho, political turmoil is the new normal.

Around the tiny African nation, the fate of Africa’s second largest economy is hostage to the enterprises of a wealthy Indian family and to a president who will not let go of power for fear of meeting his demons at the door.

Botswana, a nation more likely to be invaded by locust than by a foreign enemy buys de-fanged Swedish jets for P16 Billion whilst little children learn under open skies and thousands of citizen’s wallow in abject poverty and unemployment.

In the midst of misrule, war, poverty and disease, Africans must find a way to survive or to forsake the land of their birth. But as poverty increases, jobs become scarce and tyrants tighten their grip on power, Europe and America are tightening their borders.

Meanwhile, African leaders sleep as they have always done; old, feeble, clueless and bent beneath the weight of loot, murder and the debilitating effects of old age and overfeeding. 

Don’t tell Trump I said this. Much as I don’t like him, I must agree that mine is a shithole continent.

Chief On Friday



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