IT IS a disgraceful and a grave disaster that Thousands of African migrants are risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean sea to escape poor governance and harsh economic conditions says veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga.
The migrants, he said, were using unsafe small boats to get to Europe through Italy because their countries are no longer safe havens with prospects of growth and prosperity.
Dr Mwaanga said African leaders should take responsibility of the numerous economic and governance challenges their respective countries were facing and which were forcing citizens to seek economic refuge in European countries.
Dr Mwaanga said poor governance, deplorable economic conditions coupled with poor human rights were an indictment against African governments and their leaders. He said there was need for leaders on the African continent to address the many economic and governance challenges and save the lives of thousands African citizens who were fleeing from their countries but ended up drowning in the oceans.
In a statement, Dr Mwaanga said that Africa was beset with many challenges such as internal conflicts in countries such as South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia and Libya.
Dr Mwaanga said Africa had suffered from extremist terrorists in the name of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad while the Al Shabaab had been terrorizing East Africa and other countries.
He said the political and electoral problems in Burundi had led to more than 120 000 citizens of that country voting with their feet by running away from their country to neighbouring Tanzania, Rwanda and DRC. Dr Mwaanga stated that Africa had witnessed growing racial discrimination in many parts and that it was a shame that its leaders were not confronting the challenges with the seriousness they deserved.
“African leaders should take seriously the problems of thousands of African immigrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea using unsafe small boats.
“The people are running away from their countries mainly because of poor governance, deplorable human rights records and harsh economic conditions in their countries. This is a grave indictment against African governments and leaders must address these problems which have brought shame to the people of Africa,” said Dr Mwaanga. He observed that projected economic growth rates in the Sub-Sahara Africa had been downgraded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which he said was going to aggravate the poor economic conditions of many African countries. Dr Mwaanga cautioned that the high unemployment levels in African Countries was a time bomb adding that it was saddening that the education standards had continued in Africa were is a state of crisis. He said the better lives African leaders promised their people at Independence had remained an illusion as shelter, clean water, better health, roads and food security could not be afforded by many citizens on the continent.
“The desperation on the faces of African Mean, women and children fleeing their countries tells a sad story. I appeal to our leaders to address these issues seriously and restore African dignity. African leaders should not wait for European leaders.