It is certainly a strong part of Africa culture that the aged are revered and regarded as a great source for wisdom. That is why in many African communities, the old are the councils of chiefs and rulers. In some few instances when one of those rulers has died, and tradition requires continuity through blood ties, you can find some communities where a young man or even a woman is crowned to continue the monarchy.
Suffice this to relate that Africans are satisfied to have their old people ruling and guiding them just by custom. However, in the post colonial era with schooling and contacts with Europeans Africa has produced generations of sons and daughters who have become more educated than their parents. This is why it is becoming increasingly difficult for old African political leaders to continue to cling to power forever like their traditional counterparts.
Leaning more against Africa’s older population and leadership is an explosion at the rate of births in Africa after the era of independence. Feeling happy to be free from colonialism, Africa began to mirror this with over population.
The Old Generation
The generation that brought Independence birthed to excess, and sent their children to the best schools and countries around the world.
These children who received independence on a golden platter, now have their own children, and their children have more children to bring the issue of Africa’s population and over population to the attention of the rest of the world.
Africa is the second most populous continent in the world and over 60% of her population is young people under the age of 25 years. This population, who are generally in solidarity with the segment of the population aged up to 45 years old, are being ruled and dictated to by men of 50 to 80 years old who think that they have the right to continue to rule by virtue of having contributed to the fight and after fights of independence for their countries.
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These old rulers who started out with good intentions to help their fellow citizens become corrupt and drunk with power after tasting and succumbing to all its trappings.
Look at countries like Zimbabwe, from one old man to another, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, and Algeria.
Once these leaders are in power, they begin to work against the rest of their citizens, and even change the constitution so that they will rule forever. Anyone who dares to rise up against them is paid back quickly with brutality, incarceration or loss of life.
For this tragic reason, political opposition in Africa became rare and suicidal.
It was always a sham because the leaders themselves chose and paid for who would be their opposition.
So, there are never any demonstrations for change of leadership because these leaders have bought out the country, and especially the youth who are usually the nucleus of any national rebellion or revolution.
This is what gave birth to the radical opposition groups sometimes championed by radical musicians like Fela Anikulapo Kuti of Nigeria, Lapiro De Mbanga of Cameroon, or Bobi Wine of Uganda. Other radicals have taken up arms and gone underground.
This has only led to the creation of another class of African dictatorship, called “The Strongman”.