This week, the Nobel laureate and icon of the anti-apartheid struggle, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, withdrew from a leadership seminar that was scheduled to take place in South Africa, protesting former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s support for the 2003 Iraq invasion.
"The archbishop is of the view that Mr Blair's decision to support the United States' military invasion of Iraq, on the basis of unproven allegations of the existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, was morally indefensible," said Roger Friedman, a spokesman for the cleric, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1984.
"Morality and leadership are indivisible. In this context, it would be inappropriate and untenable for the archbishop to share a platform with Mr Blair," Tutu’s spokesman added.
How many Tutus do we still have in Africa? The answer is obvious -- there are very few of the likes of Tutu -- especially after the deaths of courageous leaders like Julius Nyerere.
Today, some African leaders are even summoned by the so-called powerful western leaders anytime, and none of them dare question the ‘invitation’. The very same individuals whose nations are willing to fabricate evidence just to invade other countries today lecture African leaders on good governance, democracy, corruption and development.
They condemn corruption in Africa, but at the same time shelter the banks that keep billions of dollars stolen from Africa annually—whose estimates now put this combined loot at $146 billion.
They condemn dictatorship just when their interests are targeted, not otherwise. Today Eritrea is the most brutal regime in the Horn of Africa, but since it plays host to US soldiers in the region, no one questions that brutal regime.
In Angola, the man who has been in power for about 33 years still has the opportunity to vie for presidency, but the very same ‘western masters of democracy’ cannot stop him because ‘he is their boy’ who allows them to access the country’s vast oil resources.
But in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe is routinely attacked by the very same Western countries, with many calling him a dictator and a president for life. Mugabe might be a dictator, but he is under fire just because he dipped his fingers into the interests of the West when he introduced the land policy aimed at redistributing land to locals.
Today, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame is under fire with Western donors suspending aid simply because of a report by the United Nations’ Group of Experts. But, the very same countries were silent and helpless when one million people were massacred during the 1994 genocide, which some western scholars today even doubt whether it really happened.
But as they condemn the Rwandan regime, some of their hands are full of blood because of their controversial policies in the Middle East and some parts of Africa including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Today, 98 percent of those taken to the International Criminal Court are blacks from Africa -- as if the West never committed any crimes against humanity during the past three decades.
Western leaders -- not all of them, though -- tend to see African leaders as ‘schoolboys’ who need to be lectured on development and good governance. This is because African leaders have positioned themselves in a situation that justifies how they are seen by their masters from the West.
Africa — home to a billion people and stronghold for vast natural resources—needs strong leaders with the tough stance exemplified by Desmond Tutu when it comes to dealing with Western countries. In their absence, the continent will continue to be ‘a looting pond and a home to imported, failed policies.’