THE AFRICAN PRESIDENT AND HIS BEAU MONDE


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We have to understand each othe, once and for all, about the reputation of liar which the West has given to the African leader. An African leader does not lie, he makes mistake.  He does not always say the truth, but he think he does… His lie are not a lie, it is a type of mirage. *

I think this phrase sums up the thinking element of an African leader.  He is not a liar when he tells you that the schools in his country lack books and teaching material. It is a mistake when the money given by a European donor was looted by members of his Education Ministry.  It just happened like a mirage.

You can change books and teaching material with infrastructure, medical drugs, famine, energy, roads, fertilizer, transport and the story I usually the same.

After the mirage the donor country, like an oasis, will hesitantly re-issue funds with nicely worded speech and a bit of Public Relations to show concern.  All the members of the guilty ministry will point the fingers at others or bluntly say “I don’t know all the facts, let me look into it”.  The media demands the resignation of the assumed culprits; the assumed culprits will answer “No! I am not resigning”.  Time passes and everyone forgets like a mirage.

The carousel of mirages turns, turns and turns. The president and his “beau monde” purchase lavish houses, fancy cars and upon query pondering how they afford such luxury, will reply, and I quote” It is a gift of God”

Then the “Godly” people fire live bullets at their subjects when they riot due to hunger and cannot afford basic necessities, find flaws in elections or harassed by the élite’s armed machinery.

The NGO’s business goes in third gear, now they have another place to go, another reason to get money to fund their projects. Someone’s must show compassion for these poor oppressed people, while the president and its élite look. It just happened like a mirage.

Isn’t expensive? Why the international community fuels this carousel of mirages?

Well, it is ethic, to show a good reputation on the international scene and it feels so good to be a savior.

Donor fatigue is real but “the African president” said that he will give us the ores that we need and we do not want China to take everything.

I saw Chinese, on their knees, laying tiles of Government offices to benefit an African President.   China is so good it does not ask questions, it believes in mirage

The first time I saw child’s labor was in an African forest.  The first time I saw a Hummer was in Africa.

The fist time I saw a child belly stretched by hunger was in Africa.  The first time I saw food donated by USAID sold in a market was in Africa.

I know what a machete is.  But the first time I saw one stuck in someone’s head was in Africa. I understand the man was a curious activist or a journalist.

I have been insulted before.  The first time I was overtly insulted because of my origins, mind you I preach no religion, was by a member of the entourage of an ex-first lady which I recently seen interviewed on BBC.

I know a prominent person close to a former African president.  I ask him “why you don’t write your memoirs for history sake”.  The reply was “I cannot, I would be killed”.

So, I think that you have to go back to the African president, the horse’s mouth.

An African leader does not lie, he makes mistake.  He does not always say the truth, but he think he does… His lie are not a lie, it is a type of mirage.

Patrick-Bernard
*Adapted from a sentence from “Tartarin de Tarascon” (1872) from Alphonse Daudet (1840-1897)

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