African leaders urged to improve good governance | Africa | DW | 26.05.2017
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African leaders urged to improve good governance

As African countries commemorate more than 50 years since their liberation from colonialism, the Africans Rising Movement in Germany is calling on leaders back home to abide by the rule of law and respect human rights.

With a guitar in his hand, Jimas Sanwidi, a musician from Burkina Faso calls for unity and peace in Africa with his song 'Mama Africa.' He and several other musicians entertained guests at the launch of the Africans Rising Movement in Bonn, Germany. Africans Rising is a mix of civic society groups, NGO's and artists in Africa and the African Diaspora. The movement was formed in August 2016 with what has come to be known as the Kilimanjaro Declaration. The document calls on leaders to promote justice, peace and dignity across the continent with an emphasis on empowering young people.

Sanwidi left his homeland 25 years ago due to political reasons. At that time, the West African nation was under the autocratic rule of President Blaise Compaore. He came to power in 1987 after leading a military coup that killed President Thomas Sankara . He was considered by many as one of the greatest proponents of Pan-Africanism. Compare led Burkina Faso until 2014 when he was removed by a popular uprising.

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Burkina Faso: Struggle for Democracy

Africans need to be brave like the Burkinabes, Sanwidi told DW: "The young people have to come together, not only in one country. They have to get connected and fight for their freedom, for their development to build their future. That's what happened in Burkina Faso."

Le Balai Citoyen or The Citizen's Broom, a civic society organization made up of young people, mobilized people across the country and forcing the 66-year-old leader who had been in power for 27 years to flee.

Fed up with oppression

Musician Sanwidi says he and other members of The Africa Arising movement are outraged by the oppression in Africa. "I'm asking the leaders to be fair and think about people," Sanwidi said.

African musicians sing at the Africans Rising Movement Event in Bonn, Germany. (DW/F.Muvinyi)

Jimas Sanwidi (in red shirt) says African leaders need to do more for their citizens

"In most of the [African] countries, 80 percent of the people live in rural areas with less while few people in cities have a lot. They [leaders] have to make sure that everyone enjoys life." For Sanwidi, enjoying life means getting the basic needs such as health and education. "These are the most important things."

According to Kumi Naidoo, who spearheaded the launch of the Africans Rising campaign, African youth should play a central role in reforming the continent. "We need to put young people at the center of public life," Naidoo told DW.

"Africa is the youngest continent in terms of age and we have a problem because most of our leaders almost exclusively men reflect the demographic age that's very different from what the majority of the continent is."

Bad grades on good governance test

Naidoo said they want to encourage African leaders to do significantly better than they're doing with regards to good governance. "With a few exceptions, most of our leaders are failing the governance test," he said.

Burkina Faso's young people protest against the presidential guard. (Reuters/J. Penney)

Young Burkinabes held several protests that finally ousted President Blaise Compaore

"However, it's important that we recognize that bad governance is linked to the deals that African governments make with their international allies."

Africans Rising Movement in Germany said it was aware of the vast natural resources the continent is endowed with and wants that wealth to be equally shared by all people and not just a narrow political and economic elite.




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