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The New African Order - The Times, They Are A-Changing

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Author: Gbenga Badejo
Posted to the web: 5/18/2006 4:20:23 AM

Gbenga Badejo


The times are a-changing, the world is upside down, and this is evident in every area of modern society.  There is now a new kind of war internationally; 9/11 has seen to that. The world faces threats without borders. No longer are wars necessarily fought between nation states – (it’s too costly and the results unpredictable) - wars have taken a new dimension in the 21st Century - they are now fought by individuals fuelled by ideologies. In this type of war, awesome weapons and massive troops are largely redundant, soldiers are recruited often remotely using the latest technology and religion; they are then primed to carry out terrorist activities in the name of crooked ideologies.

In World economy, roles are being reversed. China, previously the sleeping giant has woken up big time. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, China was the second-largest economy in the world after the US in 2005.  Through a combination of a fast-paced move into a market-oriented economy and manipulating its currency to make its goods cheaper for US consumers, China is now a major player in the global economy.  It may eventually eclipse the US as the dominant nation economically and militarily.  The once sleeping giant is now suffering from acute insomnia.  The times, they are a-changing.

In the West, civilisation has gone completely barmy.  In Europe, the traditional institution of marriage has been seriously undermined in the name of equality and diversity.  In England, civil partnership between same sex couples is now law in line with many other European countries.  Tony Blair has seen to that. His government has emasculated parents, and stripped teachers of any authority.  The irony is that the Conservative Party which used to be the guarantor of traditional values is swimming in tandem with Tony Blair so that it too can appear modern. Since November 2005, God’s name has been completely obliterated from the prayer at the annual Christian-led Remembrance celebration in the UK.  There is also a little irony to this development – the change was approved by ‘Churches Together in the UK’ which is desperately striving to appear modern and inclusive.

The face of politics in the West is changing too.  In Europe there has been a swing from right to the left and now the centre ground of politics is crowded with every political party claiming it as their natural territory. 

In many African countries the changing times is noticeable in one of the most thriving institutions - the Church where many Pastors do the exact opposite of the teachings of Christ. Whilst Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and mandated them to do likewise, few, if any of our Church leaders follow this example.  In reality, the opposite is done. Members of the Church are cajoled, hypnotised, surreptitiously threatened and sometimes forced to wash the feet, belly and body of the Pastors.  People are drugged with a dosage of a gospel that is modern, painless and religious at the exclusion of the simplicity of daily following Christ. Endless breakthrough prayers and fasting are substituted for the greater yet simple obedience that God demands. Pastors have become modern day Pharisees demanding tithes of every dime and everything else whilst neglecting the weightier societal issues of social justice, help for widows, the challenge of corruption and the savagery of poverty. Church leaders have cottoned on to a virulent strain of a strange gospel that embraces style and self over trusting God and loving our neighbours.

I have no doubt that many people in Africa are coming to a deeper and meaningful relationship with God, however, the Churches have mostly successfully manufactured half-baked, jelly-baby, namby-pamby, spineless minnows, not the spiritual giants able and ready to confront the issues of modern day society.  There is certainly a serious disconnect between the people that proclaim Christ and what Christ stood for. The times are really a-changing.

On the political scene, things are changing at a fast pace too. People power has delivered new and improved democracies in Ukraine and Georgia in Eastern Europe. Ghana, South Africa and a few other African nations have fared well in their politics. Nigeria too has been able to sustain democracy (with all its difficulties) for seven years and counting. It is also increasingly becoming difficult howbeit rather slowly to carry out corrupt activities in Africa and get away with it however big a fish you may be.

Some may argue that these are flashes in the pan, we are however beginning to see politicians and top-shotters answering to corrupt and criminal charges. South Africa’s Deputy President Jacob Zuma, who was widely expected to become South Africa's next leader, was forced out of office in June 2005 after being accused of corruption by a South Africa court. Kenyan Finance Minister David Mwiraria resigned early 2006 after being linked to a corruption scandal that has shaken the Kenyan government. In Nigeria former Head of Police, Tafa Balogun, former Education Minister Fabian Osuji and former Housing Minister Mobolaji Osomo are a few examples of people who have been sacked and/or tried for bribery and other misdemeanours in recent time. Cursory these may be, they are however hitherto unthinkable scenarios in Africa. I certainly cannot remember any minister sacked for corruption in Nigeria before now. So the changing time is not completely bad, it presents an opportunity for change and a new order in the nations of Africa.

This New African Order could be expanded to rid our nations of the many shibboleths that plague our society such as poverty, inequality, and wanton injustice. We have to continue to apply the pressure on leaders and expose all form of injustice in society.  Peaceful but relentless people-power can deliver what successive governments have been unable to do.  Many revolutions have been built on the back of simple, yet powerful efforts such as this. Both the Velvet Revolution in the old Czechoslovakia and the Solidarity inspired Polish Revolution of the 1980s happened because of a determination to take advantage of the general swing in peoples’ mood. No one could ever have foreseen that within ten years, Poland will leave the Warsaw Pact (named after its capital city) and become a member of NATO.

The mood is changing in Africa.  The people will soon be completely wary of flashily-attired governors, senators and loaded cabals to demand for better roads and functional hospitals. People are increasingly horrified about the prospect of failed nation states and clamouring for radical changes, bringing leaders to account on corruption and governance issues.  They want to see the benefits of technology transferred into better standards of living. This is the beginning of a New African Order.  The times, they truly are a-changing.  

The following few steps are ways of anchoring the new order for ever:

·        Currently African leaders are not familiar with being pressured by the electorates; this is the time to let them know the tide has changed.  Get involved by petitioning your representatives at every opportunity.  Keep the pressure on and they will start to get the message.  People can come together to set pressure groups in churches, offices and make their voices heard on societal issues. Don’t be put off by temporal disappointments, the Solidarity Movement in Poland succeeded because they kept at it. Pressure your representatives on the issues that matter to you and your locality.  Email me to request for letter templates if you require any assistance.

·        The media must be brave in carrying out investigative journalism, exposing corruption in local, regional and national governments and at the same time rewarding and celebrating those that are making a difference.

·        This New Order will demand sustained partnership between businesses, churches, clubs, Africans abroad and the media in highlighting, fighting and addressing all forms of injustices and societal problems.  Peaceful protest rallies are a useful way of implementing this type of partnership. 

·        If you know of any injustice or fraud anywhere, make noise about it, write about it and forward to media houses, get your group or church to do something about it. You may also register it at www.notawastedgeneration.com which will soon be up and running.

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