Monday, 13 December 2010

What is the use of Education to Africans: A Dialogue between Suntou, Yusupha Jow And Haruna

Will the Media expert Baba Galleh Jallow, law expert Dr Lamin J Darboe, writer Saul Saidykhan, Ethnologist Ebrima Kamara, Journalist FJ Manneh, Pro-Democracy advocate Haruna Darboe, Professor Dr Abdoulie Saine, Dr Alagie Jeng, Dr Malanding Jaiteh (Columbia University) etc etc be the real article in a tense democratic situation like the Ivory Coast or The Gambia? An informal chat between Suntou, Haruna and Yusupha Jow

We see a PhD professor Laurent Gbagbo openly refusing to respect democratic norms, double PhD holder Abdoulie Wadde wish to manipulate the democratic norms in extending his rule... what are the determinants which Africans can certainly say are the ingredients for a genuine democrat? Academic politics is not the solution because, scholars are none the wiser it seems.

Yusupha Jow says;
"I don't think the level of education influences whether one becomes a dictator or not. The problem in Africa is lack of solid and independent institutions that prevent such things from happening." Yusupha Jow

"A very pertinent observation Yusupha. But also critical when we evaluate the manner our own 'Professor' behaves towards his 'educated' cabinet. He says, it doesnt matter how much PhD one has, he is still the best. The higher the level of education, it is assume, one gets better, but as you said, the institutions must be there to support it." Suntou Touray

Shakespare may be right "education makes a fool become a bigger fool and the wise to be more wiser"

Haruna Darboe views
"It goes to show that a man's education is not as significant as the content of his character" Haruna Darboe

Suntou, while I'm here, let me share some ideas on democracy. Thank you for the opportunity:

I get the impression that quite a number of Africans supplant multi-party regimes with a democratic dispensation. This is troublesome and it demonstrates a lack of understanding and appreciation for democracy. It is a way of life. Within democracy are certain mechanisms to accrue and nurture a democratic dispensation. One of those mechanisms is the ability for citizens to exercise their freedoms of choice, expression, and association for industry, religion, and politics.

So the fact that multiple parties exist in a country does not really reflect the democratic health of that nation. The reason is that if you have 100's of political parties who contest elections but the elections are organised and certified by a hand-picked "Independent Electoral Commission" or a malignant "Supreme or Constitutional court", elections are rigged before they even begin. This is even if there was no electoral fraud, theft, or other chicanery. Besides if the campaigning toward the election is not FAIR, the election itself cannot be declared Free and Fair. I don't care how many international observers certify it thusly.

Just thought I'd share these nuances with us.

Thanx again Suntou for sharing. "Education is highly subjective. It cannot be a determinant of character." Haruna Darboe

"Education is highly subjective. It cannot be a determinant of character." Haruna Al-Mutawakil

Suntou's response:
Hence Wadda the accomplished economist don't see anything wrong with his intent to over stay, because he will use his education to rationalise it so. Therefore Haruna are we still at the infant stage of democratisation since our 'perssive educated elites' including you advance ideas that, might be at interlock with certain traditions we have? For instance, The late Micheal Baldeh (Rest In Peace) was able to mobiles large number of influential inter-ethnic votes in Basse area, whilst Dawda Jawara was snob simply because of his 'caste'. Hereunder, his arguments wasn't listen to, because he was a cobbler.
What is your advise in democracy harmonising such entrench traditions with the vital values you espoused here? There is a reason our PhD Gbagbo is declining to leave. Those underlying unreasonable reasons are antenna to democratic values he himself went to prison for. Why should a PhD Professor all of a sudden go blind?

On Wadda: "Wade was born in Kébémer, Senegal; officially, he was born in 1926,[2] although some claim he was born several years earlier, and the record-keeping of the time is not considered particularly reliable.[5] He studied and taught law at the lycée Condorcet in France. He holds two doctorates in law and economics. He was also dean of the law and economics faculty at the University of Dakar in Senegal.[3]" An Intellectual per excellence as well.........just like Professor Laurent Gbagbo, no joke he is a real University professor in History.

A Gambian scenario:
Controversially, what should we expect of our own (Dr Malanding Jaiteh

Baba Galleh: (Baba Galleh Jallow is former editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer and Founder Editor and CEO of The Independent newspaper, which was forcibly shut down by the Gambian authorities in March 2006. With a BA in Political Science from Fourah Bay College and a Masters in Liberal Studies from Rutgers University, Baba is currently a PhD student in African History at the University of California, Davis. His other books, also published by Wasteland Press, are Dying for My Daughter (2004), Angry Laughter (2004), and The Anatomy of Powercracy and Other Essays (2006). His latest book is Mandela's Other Children.)
Dr Alagie Jeng
Dr Lamin J Darboe
( Double LLM one is said to be in international criminal justice, LLB, Dr Jurisprudence)
Mr Haruna Darboe (
Dr Abdoulie Saine
Ethonologist Mr Ebrima Kamara

Mr Saul Saidykhan (Excellent writer)
Foday Samateh (book editor)
Fatou Jaw Manneh (Publisher and Journalist)
etc etc.
Education is the high point we see some of you guys, but is that enough to be sure that, the values Gambians are crying for, which is the bucket loads of tears in other parts of Africa will for sure be taken care of? I wonder, but the circles that engulf us matters i believe.
Just a thought

Haruna Darboe's response:
SUntou, you're a very funny man.

FWIW, there is no exception to the quote: "Education is highly subjective. It cannot be a determinant of character."
In amicus of education, I will offer the following:
The discipline inherent in learning, study, and research, enhances the character of a GOOD man (human).
The people you mentioned below Suntou without exception, I hope you will refer to their character rather than their educations. Some of them were already good and continue to be good despite or inspite of their education. Snme have never been good but desired to dress-up their characters with oodles of useless educations.
For Wade, the trick is not to look at how many PhD's or titles he holds. You look at what he does with whatever education he get. If I were Wade, I'd demand a refund for both PhD's from whatever university sold them to him. A bad bill of goods. PHD economics, PHD political science, PHD law. Neemang bondaala. Look at the economics, politics, and Law. Not the PHD's those subjects wear. Can you share Wade's schools with us and some of his professors??

Bye Suntou. I hope you're not gonna vote for me as President of Gambia because I'm founder of The GDP? If you would, I encourage you to vote for others instead. Haruna Darboe

Suntou's Response
Bear with me Haruna. Why is that, the intelligentsia or intellectual Africans are more likely to spark in an IMF building than in our central power basis? Is it our attitude to learning, knowledge or is it the fact that, what we learn has little use for our traditions, societies or institutions? Here I mean, what you learn is as important as where you learn it.
The average African scholar is likely to be detached from the wider community, enigmatic to be precise. I wonder if this is because the educational programming they/we undertake is relevant to our discourse or social settings hence, the African scholar is confuse in his/her own terrain.

The sample of brothers I listed are a test case. I know the character traits they possess will dictate what their 'future' attitudes become to the wider roles they are to play in African/Gambian settings. Can we safely then say, we cannot take any single person's word to effect that, he/she will respect, abide by and practise the dictates of democracy until after the person assume office and do as the rule book says and then leave office an honourable fellow. Then one can pat himself as to the accomplishments ala ATT, the former Botswana President, Kufo of Ghana, Diof of Senegal, Arab Moi of Kenya. Some of the brothers, former leaders aren't perfect examples but left office peacefully.
The detachment culture found within the 'intellectual' community results in the lack of care to society, the people and the laws. The fault line isn't just to Wadda, Gbagbo, Mugabe and so on. The fault line could be you, LJ, Galleh, Dr Jeng, Dr Saine, Dr Jaiteh, Mr Ebrima Kamara, the list goes on. Education plays a central role between pursuant of powerful offices and being right for the job. Therefore, we cannot place it any lower when those with horse cart load of certificates to their names misbehave.

Haruna Darboe's response:
I'm sorry I have no idea what you're saying. I will share another idea with you, perhaps that will help your anxieties:
The idea for learning is discovery and optimal growth (self-improvement).
So again, education is not a determinant of a man's character.
You cannot draw sociological conclusions on that. It is a fact not a theorem. It does not mean that an educated person is not of good character and it does not mean that an uneducated person of a good character. I will also refrain from drawing conclusions about one or more humans. Each human is unique. What you may consider good for society, tradition, and institution, could be markedly different from what I may consider good for society, tradition, and institution. And we could both be living a democratic lifestyle. For example, I do not follow all traditions. I cleanse myself of bad and odious traditions and enhance good traditions as I grow. If you happen to be a strict traditionalist, I will appear to you to be ungood for your traditions. Do you see what I mean? It is all in perspectives.

Given all this, as long as you are willing to accord your fellow their inalienable (intrinsic) human rights of free choice, speech, and association for religion, industry, and politics, within the constraints of your society's constitution, you should be fine. Don't worry too much about how your fellow behaves, what religion he/she chooses, the nature of his/her politics, what his/her customs and traditions are, etcetera, until he/she encroaches on your human rights.
Governments are expected to manage the relationships among their citizens. The citizens vote for those managers. You don't necessarily have to vote for your fellow citizen with the greatest number of degrees or no degrees. There is greater calculus to voting for someone than their level of education. It is very shallow to vote for someone on the basis of the number of degrees thay have or whether they have a degree or not. Where education and training becomes critical is in the area of Engineering and Medicine.
Let it go Suntou. Let it go. It will lead you to a cul-de-sac. Every human must be judged by the content of his/her character. Those, like Yahya, who lack the requisite base faculties to affect their own characters, we reserve to the insane asylums of our societies. With help and assistance from the rest of us. Haruna

Suntou's Response:
I get you Haruna, however still you're way of the mark with regards to the intrinsic value of education ie in our use or application of it in executing our every day administrative affairs (democracy as well).
We don't elect uneducated individuals as Governors of banks, clerks of national assembly, or even as Presidents of the country. There is an exception in our case because he hijacked the normal democractic route.
Therefore, attaching lesser value to education and it resultant impact on individuals outlook in live is a significant undervaluation.

The quest here is not to say, educated people should be good in the public and private spheres of live. Because, someone can be a consumer of alcohol yet be good at his/her job. Some traditions and religions view that as bad. That is not the argument at all.

My focus is on the African scholar or intellectual. Why does their performance fare less when compared to South East Asians, Europeans or Americans? We cannot overlook the fact that, in credible western institutions, you find African graduates doing well, yet place them in an African institution, they will disappoint you. It is not inherently their faults I believe but other overriding short falls contributes. The question is, can we rely on the African intellectual who keeps forgetting about his training and values whenever the slightest of pressure is apply (Gbagbo, Mugabe, Wadde etc) to fix the problems we all aspire to be sorted so that, our democracy can work towards global standard?
Education to me should encompass (awareness, using the local languages, traditions, cultures to uplift the whole nation) but elements of Gambians or African (intellectuals) looks down on this and rather glamorise cultures they don't understand. The American educational system is American-centric, it contain items of patriotism, the values of the founding fathers, the holidays, the whole socio-cultural systems of the country.
Can we say the same for the Gambia? Why is it that, when a President lost an election he can dare refuse to leave and the Military will back him? Why is that, a Yahya Jammeh can commit undemocratic acts yet rely on the military to defend his rule? Is it because they are uneducated in the values of democracy, human rights and good governance?

The intellectual scholarly class cannot drive the change because they don't know how. They wallow in their titles and status, therefore sacrificing for the common is less of a priority. Whilst in the South East Asian sphere, the intellectuals are the ordinary citizens. People know their rights and leading figures cannot polarise the nation to their end without facing a fight. There are less wedge between the two camps.

"When war breaks out, the poor visit those who don't invited them, they invite themselves to places with guard dogs, iron gates and Mansons".
It is for the interest of the African intellectual to work for the social improvement of the citizenry, because they will leave them alone.
How many more Gbagbos do we have out there?

the discussions took place the Gambia L and Gambia post mailing list.........

No comments: