South African academician well-respected political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni says it is high time rights groups and youth movements across Africa genuinely rise up to bring to an end the awkward manner in which political and social-economic affairs are managed in their countries.
Fikeni spoke during the first African Parliamentarians Association for Human Rights (AfriPAHR) regional symposium held on Saturday in Lilongwe.
The symposium was aimed at developing strategies to promote democracy and human rights with a focus on war torn South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Cameroon, among other countries.
It drew Members of Parliament (MPs) from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Malawi.
“Africa is plunged in a leadership and institutional crisis which has resulted to the collapse of service delivery systems and poor human rights records. Leaders are coming to power essentially to enrich themselves and satisfy networks of their friends and relatives,” noted Professor Fikeni.
He added that even religious, traditional and civil society leaders are to blame for the sorry state of affairs in many African countries.
According to Professor Fikeni, African leaders can turn around the fortunes of the continent’s vast natural resources to everybody’s benefit if only they become people centered.
“However, it is incumbent upon the grassroot citizens and local movements to begin to play their rightful roles and pile pressure on their leaders to do things in the right manner,” he said.
Taking his turn, AfriPAHR Founder and chairman Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, MP said the association helps African legislators to share ideas on how they can mobilize resources to help the continent’s troubled countries and tackle other emerging critical issues.
“For instance, there will be elections in Zimbabwe this year and in Malawi next year. As an association, we need to send observer teams there to ensure that these elections are free and fair,” said Kwankwa.
Speaker of the Malawi National Assembly Richard Msowoya, who was the quest of honour at the symposium, observed that African countries would remain behind if they continue basing their development plans along tribal, regional and ethnic lines.
AfriPAHR was established in 2017.