I am very sure that many Africans, especially those affected by the South African xenophobia and afrophobia would not want to be told that President Jacob Zuma of South Africa could be right on something, at least not now.
However, having gone through the speech President Zuma gave during the commemoration of South Africa’s Freedom Day on April 27 2015, I am compelled to applaud him for acknowledging the need for the African Union to live up to its mandate and “promote peace, stability and democracy…to reduce the need for people to migrate to the South.”
Zuma also called for “the promotion of intra-Africa trade, regional integration, infrastructure and other economic interventions” to improve African economic status and politics.
I believe it is high time that Africans brought their leaderships, especially the African Union to book. When you spread your eyes across the African continent, you will understand that the South African xenophobia is not the problem, on the contrary, it is only a result of the problem.
The African continent is rocked from coast to coast with a pandemic of uncontrollable and illegal migration of thousands of African economic migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. While South Africa is struggling to cope with the influx of migrants down South, Italy and the European Union are struggling with same up North, along the shores of the Mediterranean.
With Libya politically and economically destabilized after the death of Muammar Gaddaffi in 2011, the Libyan shore along the Mediterranean has become a very porous border through which poverty and war-stricken Libyans and several African migrants from Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Mali and other African countries have been fleeing to Europe through the Mediterranean waters. Unfortunately, the Mediterranean has become a death trap for the migrants, as thousands continue to drown especially since last year causing a serious humanitarian crisis, which the European Union (EU) is struggling to handle.
Recently, the EU held an emergency summit in Brussels on April 23, where they agreed upon a ten-point action plan to contain the Mediterranean crisis. But when one analyses the points, and the words of the leaders of the EU countries like the British Prime Minister David Cameron, who did not hesitate to hint that the rescued migrants do not have guaranteed asylum and stay beyond the European borders, it is easy to notice that the EU is mainly interested in protecting its borders and destroy the migrants smuggling network on the Mediterranean waters.
Therefore, the real solution lies within African leadership. After all, the perishing migrants are Africans that are escaping from problems created by African leadership. The migration crisis is rooted in the very failure of African governments to bring political stability and economic opportunities to the African people.
Africans have only reaped from the democracy they had so much idealised, chronic poverty, institutionalized corruption, political instability and civil wars. And even when they have had enough, and begin to run away from their homes in search of greener pastures in the better South Africa and across the Mediterranean, to the better Europe, the very leaders that have failed them don’t really care that thousands are drowning up North, and some are butchering each other down South.
There is no bold and policy-based action taken on national, regional, and continental levels of African leadership, to curb the migration crisis, pacify the war-stricken nations, and economically empower the African people.