We Start, God Finishes

We start, God finishes. That is the mental disease crippling progress in Africa. 

People start things but never finish them. They expect God to finish their work, obeying to their order through prayers, miraculously accomplishing their wishes.

The name of the disease is “noterminutus  lazinus”.  The cause is unknown, but the main symptom is a mindset characterized by a singular way of thinking and behaving: “we don’t have time for hard work, if only someone else could do things at our place, and we only enjoy the benefits.”

With such a mindset, our people are easily excited by new ideas and projects. They would volunteer or join a project team, but once the excitement of the new idea vanishes, they would also disappear, become idle, move to something shinier, or stop responding to any call to action.

Their involvement and dedication to push the new  idea or project to become reality evaporate as fast as the light of thunder in the sky. Excuses and apologies replace actions, and nothing, and I would say nothing will ever succeed again to get them back to contribute, except an invitation to eat, drink and dance at the launch or closure ceremony. 

With such a mindset it’s enough to pay lip service to a cause, and then leave it to others to make it reality. We Africans are too busy watching tv, hanging out with friends in bars, managing two or tree mistresses or girlfriends, spending countless hour on  Facebook, twitter, sleeping tree times a day, to get involved in anything. We don’t have time. We are busy. We are sick.

We all wish for change, but it’s God responsibility to make it happen. We pray, we wish, we pronounce incantations because we don’t have time for the hard work required for change. Can anyone help us doing all the hard work at our place? You know we are only Africans, poor, miserable. Just do it for us, we will chant and dance at the opening ceremony!

The disease pervades the public administration, the private sector, associations, nonprofits. 

For our leaders, it’s enough for them to make loud speeches and send begging letters for humanitarian help or the IMF/World Bank.

After the speeches, it’s up to NGOs, Chinese, and whoever wish to make things a reality. Our schools are built by NGOs, our public toilets are donations from the European Union, our airports are built by foreigners, our seaports are managed by foreigners, our softwares are built and maintained by foreigners, our roads are built by foreigners, our critical infrastructures are all in hand of foreigners. 

We want all these things, but you know what we don’t have time for doing it ourselves. Too much work, too much trouble, too much thinking. Let’s the foreigners do that, while we enjoy life. 

In our public administrations, new buildings or equipments will be delivered but it’s up to God to do the maintenance, do the regular checkup, plan for obliteration and provision budget for renewal or new purchase. Anything which crashes or stop working is left to rot. Maintenance is a foreign mindset.

In the private sector if the work is complex, they call in the white man or some external savior. They don’t have time to think, plan and go through the pain for building something great themselves. The solution to any problem is to buy, not build, create, innovate. 

In the nonprofit sector, the main competency of the leaders is to write grants request projects, and then steal 80% of any fund received, fabricate false reports and invoicing papers, then buy local journalist for fake or dubious reportage about results. 

Of course, this is a large brush painting, but one can’t help but noticed abandoned building where people are still working, unmaintained materials while they people who need them are sitting next to them with tons of excuses to convince themselves it’s not their responsibility to make things change. 

I surveyed my city area recently. Old building are not maintained, repainted regularly, or refurbished. Only new building shines. if you’d wait few years later these new buildings will be no different from those unmaintained ones. Kids inherit the houses from parents, but they won’t carry on the work of their fathers. they will only see them slowly rot or dilapidated.

if a project is larger than our lifespan we don’t start it.That disease alone is the main cause of our pitiful conditions. 

Generational build up is nonexistent.
Each generation comes and repeat the errors of their fathers, ignore lessons learned, abandon the foundations built, and start from zero again. 

We are going nowhere with such a mindset. This my rant mood, keep reading, because you have to.

We need a new mindset.
The new mindset we need is the one of “no excuses” attitude and environment. When we start something we finish it. We don’t give up when things become difficult. We have a code of honor. when we give our word, we commit to achieve no matter what. We build up by carrying on the work our fathers and grandfathers with honor and dignity. We keep preciously the book of lessons learned from our ancestors. We pride ourselves because we are the best in the world in what we do. Excuses are for losers and we are Africans, descendants of the pyramids builders. 

We have fallen, but it’s time we resurrect. 

Maybe there is nothing we could to with the current generation, but we have to make sure the old diseases does not infect the new generations. We have the duty to plant the seeds of a change we would not see. 

Ok, If you are not too old to change, this a call for you, finish what you have started. Respect your words, deliver on your commitment. Be an example for the new generation. 


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About Mawuna KOUTONIN

Mawuna Koutonin is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background. He is the Editior of SiliconAfrica.com, Founder of Goodbuzz.net, and Social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. If you are interested in learning more about this venture or Koutonin’s other projects, you can reach him directly by emailing at mk@linkcrafter.com.

4 Responses to “We Start, God Finishes”

  1. Angoua Yoboua

    Hi Mawuna,

    I just discover your blog through your high publicized article on expats vs immigrated!!

    I would like to praise your job, your engagements, and also the interesting litterature that underlies your articles.

    Bon courage!!

  2. firas

    Maybe thats we hot colonised.. They came and saw us like that… We r easy to ride no?

  3. Jesus Quintana

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. As you’ve closed (and deleted) comments on the original article I will reply here.

    I have a Multiple Entry Visa. And an Employment Permit. The Federal government refers to people of my situation as an expatriate in a number of official documents.

    The skills I have are not available in the country I work in. The highly skilled nationals who have them decided to migrate to the west, leaving a skills shortage. All my foreign colleagues are referred to as expatriates, irrespective of their race or “ideology”.

    Different countries have different terms for visas. I’m not sure what point you are trying to make on being issued an “expat visa”.

    Here are several instances where African government departments refer to expatriates:

    Nigeria Department of Interior: Expatriate Quota Approval Certificate.

    Uganda Ministry of Internal Affairs: “Foreign nationals intending to enter Uganda for purposes of employment should comply with requirements for expatriate employment in Uganda.”

    Zambia Ministry of Health: “To mitigate the shortage of public health staff, health facilities are supported by expatriate and volunteer staff. As the current annual production of medical officers is too low to meet the country’s need, the MoH has appointed expatriate doctors throughout the country to alleviate the shortage.

    Ethiopia: Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Report on The Study of Expatriate Work Permit Service in Ethiopia

    I would have referred to something from the Togolese MoH English website (http://goo.gl/pHKOPG)…but they had plagiarised everything from the Singaporean MoH website (http://goo.gl/UtUzwl) and didn’t link through to anything of any relevance…

    If you moved to the USA as an expatriate would you use the term “Alien” to refer to yourself if you are on an ‘Alien of extraordinary ability visa’?

    Here are some articles where African people are referred to as expatriates:
    CNN: http://goo.gl/IzwM0h
    UN: http://goo.gl/vLzFhW
    Time: http://goo.gl/ztj4vo
    BBC: http://goo.gl/Yi9Tw9
    Guardian: http://goo.gl/igvV24
    ABM: http://goo.gl/7PYOgc

    Very few highly skilled African professionals remain in Africa. Have you asked yourself why?


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