There are many reasons being an African can seem like a complete joke at times. We live on one of the continents most enriched with subterranean and other forms of resources, yet boast the highest rates of poverty, hunger, and disease. It is an embarrassing paradox.
Of course, you do not have to dig as deep as you do for gold to discover why it is so. Historical reasons aside, we live on a continent extremely reliant on belief in the supernatural. We live on a continent obsessed with the benefits of the short term, and oblivious to potential harmful effects in the long term. We live on a continent of debauched, corrupt, yes men; only interested in their own advancements.
I am not surprised, at all; that any African leader would think such a course of action is a reliable means to tackle a real crisis. I am also not surprised that the populace does not seem to mind the stupid, worthless, and thoroughly irresponsible means their government has decided is the way to solve a real crisis.
I’ve used the word real, twice in such quick succession; because we live in the real world with real problems. I think the gods, inasmuch as we imagine them to exist at all; have proven time without number that the affairs of man are the least of their worries. Africa especially; the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, centuries of colonialism, war, and famine. I think we should have gotten the memo at this point that Africa is the butt of the joke of a very cruel God.
The President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, has ordered for a day of national prayer to ask god to halt the depreciation of the country’s currency; the kwacha. The President ordered the prayer last month, and it falls on this Sunday, October 18. All activities, including football games; are to be brought to a halt for this very important national day.
“Zambia will hold a day of prayer and fasting on Sunday, with bars shut and football matches cancelled, to seek divine help over the country’s currency collapse and dire economic woes.” Is how Yahoo reported the news.
“President Edgar Lungu last month ordered the national prayer session after the kwacha fell 45 percent against the dollar since the start of the year due to a sharp drop in the price of copper, the country’s main export.
“Food prices have soared and crippling power shortages have also been triggered by low water-levels in Lake Kariba, where hydropower plants supply much of the country’s electricity.
“God is a god of miracles and if we ask him, he will bless us and the kwacha shall be restored to its former strength and the prices of goods shall again go down,” Bishop Simon Chihana, president of the International Fellowship of Christian Churches in Zambia, told AFP.
“Let’s pray to God to have mercy on us. God has done that before and he can do it again.”
“A large prayer gathering is planned in the Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, where about 85 percent of the population are Christians.”
So, aside the falling currency, there is some dumsor problems as well as harsh economic conditions for God to work on. Why do I feel like we’re talking about Ghana here?
This is why Africa would remain the butt of jokes for a long time on the world stage. This is why I believe every constitution worldwide should contain an injunction for the separation of church and state. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but the government is not the place for it to be displayed.
And it’s certainly not best practice for the very precious few resources available to be used on organising such an incredibly futile exercise. Because we (Africans) genuinely believe in the power of prayer so much (except when it doesn’t work, then we forget about it), people often fail to take pragmatic measures to tackle problems, instead leaving it into the hands of father in the sky. It’s an incredibly juvenile approach to tackling real problems, and is undoubtedly a huge factor in the misery we continue to wallow in.
It seems it should go without saying, something like this; but apparently it isn’t. Taking the wrong option each time seems to be a specialty of the African. How about some solutions grounded in reality? You never hear of those.
And to be clear, you could substitute Edgar Lungu for John Mahama and and nothing about this story would be implausible. That’s the real depressing thought for me, I think.