Power, Purpose, and necessity of Protest Culture in Africa
Man has been described as a political animal and it has also been said that when one refuses to take part in the politics of his people that he will end up being governed by his inferiors. To invariably say that this is the case in Africa is not a bogus claim and you won’t be wrong to affirm that the illiterate rules the educated in Africa. However, there is a way out of this mess and that can solely be found in the use of constructive criticism via adequate and un-politicized protests.
The right to protest is the prerogative of the citizens and if the government refuses to be civil and humble in power then they should know no peace because to whom much is given more than what he is given is also expected of him. There is no gainsaying in the fact that African leaders have failed the populace and there is also no doubt that the masses have lost hope in their leaders who at most are visionless, clueless, inept, greedy, and corrupt and you cannot develop a continent with this set of vindictive and selfish leaders who care more about themselves and their families and less about the masses.
The struggle must continue until Africans obtain freedom from their leaders and until then Africans must litter the various streets in their country until the various governments of their countries heed their call.
The Importance of Protest to the Liberation of Africans
It has often been said that Africans are treated as people without a stake in their nations and the oligarch who rule them never intends to stop the maltreatment. But the big question here begging for answers is would we continue like this and if we do for how long? There is also another question and it is, is there a solution? Answers to both questions will most definitely be subjective to individual views and that depends on individual societal status.
However, in over two decades protest has ended a few governments and there is the belief that if the youths in other nations can summon the courage to go into the streets that the same victory may be experienced. The most renowned of these governments changing protest in Africa has been tagged as the Arab Spring.
This started in the northern parts of Africa where the people found the courage and saw in protest a weapon that can change the authoritarian leaders in their domain. In 2010 the protest in Tunisia ended the 23 years rule of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali who caused his people economic, oppression and was largely corrupt. The protest crossed the border and continued in Egypt and Libya and this ended the rule of the then presidents. Recently in Sudan, we saw another change of leadership due to the resilience of protesters.
If there is anything that African leaders fear it is protest and we saw that in Nigeria during the Endsars protest that littered across the face of the country. It was reported on various social media platforms that some of them fled the country for the fear of protesters even though the mainstream media hid this from the masses.
Thursday is Thursday
Thursday is Thursday has no doubt become a historical phrase among the Nigerian youths. It is one phrase that kick-started the famous Endsars protest. A Nigerian celebrity picked Thursday on the 6th of October 2020 after another celebrity chickened out of an organized Endsars protest. That famous Thursday was on the 8th of October 2020 and the protest went on as planned; however, it was led by another celebrity that goes by the stage name Runtown.
It was alleged across various social media platforms and the mainstream media how members of the SARS unit of the Nigerian police force brutally murder innocent Nigerians and stripping them of their belongings in the process. It was alleged that they killed at will, kidnapped Nigerians, and even asked for ransom from relatives.
Nigerians were patient until they could not take it anymore and decided to voice out their disdain for the unit. The protest took place in all the states of the federation. The government was numb at first but they couldn’t keep quiet for too long as they caved into the demand of the masses. The SARS unit was soon disbanded, the people won and the government lost. This shows that coordinated protest can change a lot in Africa.
Activists often time are expected to be the sponge between the government and the masses. They are expected to listen to the demands of the populace and take them up to the government via protest. Activism when not politicized is a great virtue to a nation. However, in Africa, we see activism and counter activism all in the light of political correctness. We see protests and counter-protests in Nigeria almost every day.
African must create and imbibe in them a protest culture without fear or favor. The human rights records of African leaders are poor, there is so much poverty in the land, so much hunger and the people cannot continue like this for long. However, as has been portrayed above, the only thing African leaders fear is protest and if that be the case then the masses must cultivate a protest culture that will put an end to misgovernance and the cruelty meted out to the populace by their corrupt leaders.
Cultivating a protest culture will ultimately make it difficult for Africans not to protest when their leaders become dictators and against hardship, suffering, and poverty.
However, in light of the above summation, Africans must as well beware of political protest as this tends to give the government of the day more power. They must learn to stop praise-singing and avoid counter-protest all the time. They must at all-time keep their conscience in check and avoid handing more power to the government.
Conclusively, much has been said about the power of protest and the fact that African leaders fear the power of the masses; however, for a protest to be successful it must be un-politicized and everyone must be at the forefront and rooms must not be left for hoodlums to high-jack the protest. There is power in unity because it breeds strength in the weak and voices in the voiceless. The government knows this and will do whatever they could to truncate unity among the masses.
Little wonder Africans are usually divided along ethnic and religious lines by their leaders because they fear a united people. However, Africans must protest the ills of the society because if there is anything that could bring change to Africa, it is organized protest.
Written by Simeon for CoolAfricanMerch