by George B. N. Ayittey (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
Controversial and confrontational, Ayittey doesnï¿œt pull punches when describing his theories of what has gone wrong with Africa and what might be done to fix its problems. The blame, he says, lies with an older ï¿œhippo generationï¿œ that, on the pretext of fighting colonialism and Northern exploitation, has itself grown fat off corruption and complacent about the challenges the continent faces.
On the other hand, Ayittey places much hope in the emerging ï¿œcheetah generation,ï¿œ who are more interested in seeding an African renaissance through transparent government and indigenous models of entrepreneurship than in rehashing the battles of the past. Whether he is right or wrong is a subject of great debate, but thereï¿œs no doubt that anyone who reads him will learn a lot about Africa, its future, and the value of transparent leadership.
ï¿œThe cheetahs know that many of their current leaders are hopelessly corrupt, and that their governments are ridiculously rotten and commit flagitious human rights violations. They brook no nonsense about corruption, inefficiency, ineptitude, incompetence, or buffoonery. They understand and stress transparency, accountability, human rights, and good governance. They do not have the stomach for colonial-era politics. In fact, they were not even born in that era. As such, they do not make excuses for or seek to explain away government failures in terms of colonialism and the slave trade. Unencumbered by the old shibboleths over colonialism, imperialism, and other external adversaries, they can analyze issues with remarkable clarity and objectivity.ï¿œ