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Why I will not fight for CAR or any other country

Why would they ask me to put on a uniform and go to the heart of Africa to fire high-calibre machine guns and drop bombs on fellow Africans whose leader got into power through a coup and not democratic elections?

I will not draw guns and shoot bombs at the sight of marauding African rebel forces that are products of poverty, unemployment and neglect by African political elites who do not put the interests of the people first. Many of these men on the continent have got no option but to enlist into so-called rebel armies to find a job, food, shelter and security. If they refuse to join these armies that do not hesitate to rob, rape and kill women and children they are shot down like dogs.

No, I would not go into the heart of the African continent to fight against fellow brothers when they, too, are fighting on the instructions of some greedy man who wants to get into power by hunting down and trying to get rid of some man who got into power through crooked means. This cycle of absolute love for corrupt power that serves the interests of a few on the African continent must come to an immediate stop. I am tired of this unending war.

First, is there anyone here who can tell me how this man in the Central African Republic got into power? Was he chosen by his people or he, too — like the ones who want to depose him — used guns and bombs to get into power so that he, too, could enjoy the spoils for himself? What is it, exactly, that African leaders do for the little people of God?

I would not go into another African nation characterised by poverty, unemployment, hopelessness, famine and war simply to remove one dictator to be replaced by another. African leaders need to get their heads in order before they can get me to point guns at fellow Africans. Why do Africans continue to use fire-power to resolve issues when they should let the people decide for themselves through participatory democracy what they want to see happen in the land of the forefathers?

If I am going to be accused of promoting mutiny, lack of patriotism or defiance of authority, so be it. The time has come for African men, including little boys, to refuse to pick up arms to kill other African men and boys who are their blood brothers. Above all, they must desist from using guns to rob, rape and murder African women and children in the name of fighting for peace.

It is better to die disobeying unjust commands from big-headed military commanders than to live to carry out their unjustifiable orders that will not bring peace, justice and brotherhood to the African continent. War begets war. Above all, there are no winners in war.

I have been told by leaders of the African Union that the 21st century is the African Renaissance century. And I believed them! Now, where are they and what are they doing to make sure there are no more wars on the continent where brothers are fighting against brothers? Or should we look up to the super-powers of the US, France, Germany and others to come find peace on the continent? I believe in the African solutions for African problems approach. But why can’t we make it work? Where are our leaders, if we still have any?

Someone told me I can think and speak this way because I am not a soldier. Also, venting such views may be considered unpatriotic and a threat to the state. But I want to make it clear that patriotism is love for one’s country and people that avoids war at all costs. A patriot will not do or say things that result in war.

Also, the only threat to the state is when there is a lack of democracy and the people are neither consulted nor informed about the decisions that are taken by the leadership. To protect the state, we the people must participate, be involved and contribute to decision-making processes that are going to affect us directly, especially leading the lives of our fathers and brothers.

What we must demand is the restoration of power to the people. After all, no state can justly claim authority if it is not based on the will of the people.

So, I will say this for the very last time: I will not pick up guns and drop guns to maim and kill fellow Africans. If I were to do that, I would become an enemy of African self-determination, development and advancement of the African Renaissance agenda.

I will not fire a single bullet at any fellow human being, especially in Africa because all Africans are my family. I will refuse to be a tool of any man who promotes or uses war to find peace.

There will be no justice, peace, freedom and brotherhood on the continent until all Africans learn that we have to live together as brothers or perish as fools.

When you think about it, the real enemies of peace in Africa are the warlords who become state presidents and ministers to serve their selfish interests.

Will true leaders who put the people first, please, stand up! We need guns of peace!

Author

  • Sandile Memela

    Sandile Memela is a journalist, writer, cultural critic, columnist and civil servant. He lives in Midrand.