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Sunday, September 20, 2020
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African youth and women leadership in shambles

Hitherto Africa’s economic decolonization and political stability remains a contentious issue. A mostly related message is that Africa is under-developing. That it is a third world which is best characterized and defined by

intellectual deficiency, fetishism, racial defeats, persistent wars in the middle-east and so forth. Speaking of such, the World Bank once correctly attributed all Africa’s problems to that of governance.

 

The youth and women are a majority in the population of this continent, yet remain the most vulnerable and underrepresented. Leadership (with respect to governance) is one of the locus where the underrepresentation of youth and women is more evident. To be young has always been tantamount to being a ‘societal scapegoat’ (perpetuators of social ills) than being a newly found hope in society, no matter the leadership capacity and competence one may possess.

 

Just as knowledge, intelligence and wisdom are being treated as the prerogative of the old, so is leadership. Age has always been seen as the barometer of knowledge, and for as long as this premise remains unchanged, youth leadership will continue to be a distant possibility.

 

On the other hand, Patriarchy has always been the order of the day in the traditional system of government. Women were object material fit only for domestic and other menial duties. When colonialism succeeded this traditional forms of government in Africa, women became what our former president Thabo Mbeki acutely capture as “to acquire a certainty that you will forever be a minor and an object owned by another”.  

 

Therefore on must concede that It is however utter-dejecting that even in this post-apartheid era, where any kind of discrimination of some sort is discouraged, women are still underrepresented in leadership positions. Patriarchy is still one of the uphill battle that Africa ought to fight with all energies in her disposal.

 

Our leadership in the political stratum for an example, prefers cadre deployment than merit employment. Without denouncing the good of cadre deployment one must concede that to a certain extent it has led to a tragic waste of talent and untapped potentials that the youth possess. What we continue to witness is what Alexander Parker once alluded of, that “In times of spies and counter-intelligence, trusting the wrong person could see you dead or imprisoned. Our elected representatives (leaders in governance) continue to prize loyalty over probity in office as they did in exile”

 

This proclivities are the reasons as to why the current youth (because they were not imprisoned or exiled for political reasons) are overlooked and brushed aside.

 

The old leadership continues to surround themselves with people whom they feel can be trusted, to cover their backs in the expense of surrounding themselves with competent people irrespective of age, struggle credentials or gender.

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