The second stark reality is the privatization of land in some African countries to foreign firms to produce food for their home nationals. Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan are renowned for entering such agro-colonial investment. In 2009, Kenya was in the process of leasing over 100,000 acres in the Tana River delta to Qatar to grow food for its population. It is sad to note that while African countries are leasing their land to foreign firms to produce for their nationals, Africans are going without food and depend on international relief agencies to feed them. The question is; why are African governments able to do something that violates the lives of their people? It is just because of lack of Economic Justice.
The third force behind proposing Economic Justice for all Africans is the fact that since her independence, Africa has been producing goods for western markets at the expense of her own people. Africa is forced to sell goods at a throwaway price under the so-called international trade.
While all this exploitation has been going on, Africa is awash with all sorts of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) for various civic and political rights ranging from Human Rights, Democracy, Equality, Education - you name it. Worse, when it comes to Economic Justice, something is amiss—nobody cares about it or agitates for it. Africa lacks vocal local and international standing on the matter. Why? The African mindset is not directed to this very fundamental right and tool for Africa’s full emancipation. When we talk of democracy and Human Rights in Africa, we mean the right to shout and bicker but not the right to have food on the table or decent life for our hoipolloi!
While many African countries’ constitutions provide for various rights, they are silent on Economic Justice! In Tanzania, for example, the constitution stipulates that all humans are equal and deserve dignity. The same constitution does, ironically, provide for the rights of a cabal of rulers, their families and bureaucrats but not for all citizenry.
The continent’s presidents, ministers, MPs and all the high and mighty have the right to medical care, security, housing, clean water and other amenities but the hoi polloi only have one right – the right to pay taxes to enhance the comfy of the high and mighty.
If all countries in Africa shall enshrine Economic Justice for everybody, chances are that the inert and uncaring government Africa has ever had would not remain in power to do what happened in Liberia and other above mentioned countries. How would one, for example, lease land while his people are landless? How would the government offer lip service, embezzle public funds, and stay in power if Economic Justice would be everybody’s right constitutionally as the rights of rulers are? If this was so, all people involved in vices and impunity dogging African governments would be in jails.
Back to NGOs and their role in cultivating the culture of Economic Justice, instead of fighting for the rights of gays, lesbians and other minorities, they should spearhead the fight for the rights of the majority. Western donors should stop the hypocrisy of funding unnecessary rights. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) should be forced to see how they condone the exploitation of Africans by financing corrupt and irresponsible regimes. They'd incorporate Economic Justice in their policy.
Recently President Barack Obama secured a landmark ruling on the provision of Healthcare to all Americans. Who thinks about or proposes the same for African regimes? Who makes noise about something so vital like Healthcare in Africa? NGOs should be making noise about such issues.
Economic Justice, if accommodated in Africa’s constitutions, penal codes and substantive laws would likely erase all anomalies that have enabled corrupt African elites to abuse and mismanage the economies of their countries. Embezzling of public funds and entering bogus and impoverishing agreements would be considered a criminal act under national saboteur laws.
Africans are suffering gravely, especially economically, due to the lack of Economic Justice. The time to incorporate Economic Justice in our systems is now. With it, for example, the morass in the making in South Africa due to the lack of Economic Justice can be avoided. Economic Justice will not only enhance accountability in the upper echelons of power, it will also enable workers to enjoy pay rises and a conducive working environment. Students will get loans without hustles or delay. Businesspeople would operate competitively and legally to avoid being at loggerhead with the government. This will lead to improved living standards. Economic Justice will emancipate everybody where other means have failed.
Source; African Executive Magazine Sept. 19, 2012.