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Xenophobia: Mirror in the Face of Africa

It has been a difficult time for Africa. In Nigeria, the Oba of Lagos threatened to throw the Igbo into the lagoon, if they do not vote his preferred candidate. In the north of Nigeria, for six years, Boko Haram waged a war to establish an Islamic state and drive Ndigbo and non muslins from the region to pave the way for homogeneous North that would vote a Muslim in elections. In Central Africa Republic, Christians and Muslins are locked in sectarian violence fuelled by religious and ethnic prejudices. In South Africa, the Zulu king motivated by prejudice and ignorance, directed his people to drive out foreigners from South Africa, scapegoat them for the woes of the country, and unleashed xenophobic violence against Africans from other countries. In the Mediterranean Sea, thousand of Africans are lost at sea in their desperate effort to escape the continent’s poverty, intolerance and injustice. All these, amid the echoes of Rwanda and Nazi genocide
The sad tragedy of the African situation is that, it is happening in the richest continent. Its leaders cannot even tax the profit of the companies that exploit her natural resources. In Europe company tax starts from around 20%, while Zambia set the tax on royalties from her natural resources at 9%. Any wonder why Africans endanger their lives on rickety boats to Europe to become willing slaves
While countries like Norway and Britain have used their oil resources to transform their countries and lives of their citizens, you hear about the curse of oil in African countries like Nigeria and Angola, where greed and corruption have destroyed whatever real gains that would have accrued to the people. The Niger Delta is an environmental disaster with land air and water polluted and contaminated by oil.
Ethnic and religious prejudices have become the two most serious problems facing Africa. In Nigeria, the Igbo seem to the main target. In South Africa, the focus is on migrants from other African countries. Instead of the ANC government to work for equal opportunities and wealth distribution, it has enmeshed itself in corruption and failed to empower, give hope and better the lives of the black population.
Africa is in the midst of an existential crisis. Obsessed with religion and tradition, a greater majority of people seem to still have the savage idea that the their fellow human beings, simply by the virtue of the accident of birth in a different geographical location, or believing differently about an unknown God, are their enemies. They are unaware that it is not whether the leader is from their ethnic group or religion but whether their fundamental human rights are protected and defended in a civilised society. Whether they have the freedom to pursue happiness or are consumed in violence and led by men of corrupt minds and profligate government. No people are free, when their old people have to work or starve and youth cut down in their prime for crimes or must become willing slaves to survive. This is the lot of Africa. There is poverty and deprivation in the midst of plenty.
The continent is passing through an age of barbarism, characterised by ignorance, greed and religious delusions and superstitions, which have enabled the religious leaders and traditional rulers to exploit the people. The people seem oblivious of the fact that hatred of man against man is usually instigated.
Africa must seek peaceful coexistence in atmosphere of justice and equality. The emphasis on indigenousness must end. It should be possible for a Zambian to become South African, just as a Pole can become British citizen. It must be possible for an Igbo to become Yoruba and an Hausa to become Igbo, just as a Welsh can become an Australian or Romanian or French.
Africans must wedge a war against ethnic prejudice, and religious delusions and intolerance, review their understanding of God, and end the divisive influence of religion and ethnicity. The obsession with God, while the continent is consumed by hate and corruption, is the clearest evidence of her backwardness and ignorance.
Without wedging a war against xenophobia and irrational beliefs about cosmos dualisms, sooner than later, Africa will be consumed in a tit for tat, violence that will destroy whatever remains of her unity and make her even easier to exploit. The future of Africa is bleak, unless the leaders wake up and begin to shun corruption, nepotism, religious intolerance and xenophobia.

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