To Nigerians who hold a romantic view of the military adventures of Jerry Rawlings in Ghana, Ghanaian-born Prof. George Ayittey said Rawlings was not good for Ghana. He made the assertion in an interview with SaharaTV over the weekend.
“If you believe Rawlings was good for Ghana, then I will tell you that Abacha was also good for Nigeria,” Prof. Ayittey said “You cannot praise one dictator and condemn another. This is just wrong. I mean, get this, no military dictator, in fact no military man has brought last prosperity to any African country. None. Never.”
The professor of Economics at American University in Washington DC made these statements while analyzing last week’s election in Ghana. George Ayittey condemned the idea of the Africa strong man and the politics of exclusion in an interview with SaharaTV’s Rudolf Okonkwo.
“The problem with today is that all political power is concentrated in the capital cities, making it a treasure to be captured. Once a group captures that power, they use it to enrich themselves, their cronies, and families while excluding everybody else. It becomes something of a political apartheid.”
The economist and president of the Free Africa Foundation was very harsh in his criticism of these dictators.
“One has to be careful about these undemocratic leaders who are praised to the sky when they come into power. Look at Kagame from Rwanda, look at Museveni from Uganda, remember when these leaders came to power, we praised them. What happened to these leaders, and also Zenawi of Ethiopia, Afewerki of Eritrea, Kabila of Congo. These leaders simply turned out to be old wine in new bottles, you know crackpot democrats. They have been a huge disappointment in my view.”
He was also not favorable of the influence of the US and the West, whose track record does not speak well for their ability to bring positive change in Africa.
“Look, the US gave money to Ethiopia because Zenawi claimed to be fighting terrorism, money to Uganda's Museveni for the same thing, and Mubarak of Egypt, Ben Ali of Tunisia and so, on. The West and Obama are pushing their own geopolitical agenda. While they make overtures to Africa for development, the fact, however, is that if you look at some of the leaders that the US has backed in Africa and other countries, they have not been the best for the people.”
Dr. Ayittey ended on a note of inclusion, stating that this is what will bring peace and development to the continent, but Africans must learn to do it themselves.
“We Africans have to solve our own problems, instead of each time there is an issue in Africa, we run to the international community for help like crybabies. Nobody is going to save Africa except ourselves.”