Is the climate change leading us to a dooms day? One hates to think so, but signs of the time give no cause for equanimity, especially Southern and parts of Western Africa.
Dr Ibrahim Hassane Mayanki, Nepads chief executive officer, has commented on climate change negotiations in the New African magazine of December 2015. He tells us that though Africa is not a significant source of greenhouse gas, it is or is bound to suffer disproportionally the effects of climate change.
He has a sad story to tell about Lake Chad, once the largest water reserviour in the Sahel Region with an area of 26 000 square kilometres, the size of Burundi. As a result of climate change, Lake Chad is today less that 10 percent of the size it covered in the 1960s. It provides livelihood to 30 million people belonging to Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
Dr Mayaki also tells us that the World Bank in its 2013 report titled Turn the Heat Down has predicted that by 2030 dry and arid regions will expand by 10 percent particularly in southern and parts of West Africa. African farmers are said to risk losing 40 to 50 percent of their croplands which grow maize, millet and sorghum due to global average change of temperature by 1.50 to 2 degrees celcius by 2040.
These climate changes are affecting the economy of Malawi. We have heard that the generation of electricity is being frustrated because of low levels of Lake Malawi. There is no doubt that the shortages of electricity are contributing to deficiencies both in the home and workplace.
To those of us not very knowledgeable about the engineering profession and water availability, it is a bit of puzzle that in the very year Malawi suffered excessive rains, the level of its water sources should go down. When and how will our engineers prevent the heavy rains falling on the Upper Shire from descending like an avalanche on the Lower Shire and wreaking hovoc there?
In the world as it is at the present, the big nations are prone to double standards. Those that contribute most to global warning are reluctant to discipline themselves in the world interest. They are the same nations who will not allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try their nationals who have engaged in atrocities at the same time they compel African countries to surrender their nationals to ICC.
While most governments are greatly concerned with the onset of climate change, nationals of some countries launch civil wars to topple their rulers. This is the case where some leaders have overstayed in power.
The so-called Arab spring which erupted in North Africa five years or so ago affected exclusively life time presidents. Those statesmen, who devised periodic elections for both presidents and members of parliament, provided for a safety valve in politics.
Admittedly, some presidents are more competent than others, but this does not mean they should be made permanent rulers of their countries.
Even life president has life-time acolytes or associations. Those nearest to him or her engage in all types of Machiavellian tactics to shield them from influences other than their own. In most cases, they are responsible for brutalities which are later attributed to the president.
President Nkrurunzinza of Burundi wants to impose his third term on millions of his unwilling fellow citizens. Some world statesmen have warned President Kagame of Rwanda that the referendum on changing the constitution in favour of his perpetual rule will bring a repeat of the 1994 genocide. Both presidents won’t listen to anybody except their loyal followers.
Potential trouble exists in those countries where despite regular elections the constitution is devised in such a manner that only certain regions or tribes win the elections and perpetual losers get frustrated and restive.
The other day, two students of journalism called at my office and asked if they could have an interview. After several questions, they asked me whether minorities are well treated in Malawi. The student said: “I mean gay people do they enjoy rights?”
I pointed out that just as gay people have rights the majority of the people who practice normal sexual relationships have also got rights. When the majority talks of marriage they mean a relationship in which a man and woman have entered into exclusive rights towards each other. n