…the women farmers who are ensuring the survival of sustainable and environmentally positive African family farming systems and who are opposing the attempts of Bill Gates and Kofi Annan to chain them to the agro-industrial corporations through AGRA (Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa),…
How do you define a political leader? Without looking to the encyclopedia this is my understanding. Briefly, it’s someone [or a group of individuals] who embodies the aspirations of many, – not of a self-centered minority out of a bigger community -, and take responsibility to change for the better their general conditions of living. I am sure you may find something different in your search for the definition, which I certainly encourage.
In African colonial and post-colonial history, there is a number of names of political leaders that any African proud of their motherland will and should be able to recall easily. These are people such as Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, Augustino Neto, Kwame Nkrumah, Abdel Nasser, Steve Biko, Samora Machel, and so on.
In recent decades, the only name that ultimately resonate greatness among a significant fraction of Africans is the former leader of Burkina Faso, Captain Thomas Sankara.
When it comes to contemporary African leaders to emulate, you look around and don’t find any. Instead you find a sort of collective leadership of citizens who take jointly responsibility to bring change where it is needed.
This is how Firozi Manji, former editor of Pambazuka, explains in an interview reproduced on Pan African Visions website this new type of leadership which is worth emulating and could shape the future of the continent if rightly supported.
“The leaders who inspire me are those whose hard work led eventually to the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions; the young people in the ghettos of our cities who have taken to the streets with great courage to demand a better future; the women who have organised and fought against oppression and violence against women; the women farmers who are ensuring the survival of sustainable and environmentally positive African family farming systems and who are opposing the attempts of Bill Gates and Kofi Annan to chain them to the agro-industrial corporations through AGRA (Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa), the communities that have fought to prevent the decimating environmental impact of natural resource exploitation such as the Niger Delta, the workers who organize to defend their interests against the exploitation of international corporations – such as we have seen recently in the mining industry in South Africa; those brave activists from LBGTI and queer movement in Africa who show immense courage in asserting their humanity against the most terrible threats; those who organize to ensure that the struggle for self-determination is not lost, such as those in Western Sahara, Diego Garcia, etc. These are some of the leaders that inspire me and whom I believe we should consider as models for the rest of the continent to follow.”