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Painful moments for Africa, close those slave markets
Janet Otieno-Prosper
Posted: 1 week 1 hour

A lot of bad things are happening in pockets of Africa that are really painful to imagine.

In Kenya, there is the brutal killing of unarmed opposition supporters, orchestrated by the ruling elite. The killer goons do not even spare women and children. Teargas canisters are thrown at peacefully sleeping babies and people are flushed out of their houses and killed, if the videos in a cross section of the media and stories are anything to go by.

It is interesting that the Kenyan media is not showing it all, perhaps they are under a gag order.

What is happening in Kenya is painful to imagine. At one moment I thought the images I saw were from Afghanistan. It is so heartbreaking.

Then there is this Libya slave market where our fellow brothers are sold or butchered, which sent shockwaves around the globe.

The capital

According to reports: "Starting the bidding at few hundred dollars each, buyers purchased 12 African migrants at an undisclosed location outside the capital city of Tripoli in a matter of minutes.”

What we read in history is now unfolding before our eyes!

It reminds me of the wise words of Mr Ali Mafuruki, the Chief Executive Officer, Roundtable of Tanzania.

He asked the young people in a room to tell him the richest man in world’s history. Names like Bill Gates and John D. Rockefeller came up.

Nobody in the room imagined an African could possibly be the richest man to have lived. Mr Mafuruki said it really pained him when he saw Malians being auctioned as slaves, while the richest human being in world history came from Mali.

The poor

Mansa Musa Keita – the 14th century African king's fortune stood at $400 billion. He ruled Mali in the 1300s, making his fortune by exploiting his country’s salt and gold production. The rest of the world got wind of his fortune in 1324.

According to the Independent of the UK, many mosques he built as a young man still stand today. Mansa Musa Keita was so rich that one day on his way to the pilgrimage, he caused inflation to the Egyptian economy since he gave so many people who had lined to greet him on the way gold bars and so much money to the poor.

It thus pains that Malians can today be so poor and sold off as slaves since civil wars depleted those resources.

Ironically, right now many African immigrants try to go and look for green pastures, thereby falling in the traps of slave masters or drowning in the sea. During Mansa Musa Keita's time, Europe was poor while most African kingdoms were thriving.

It makes me really angry when Africans are sold as slaves and have their organs harvested. That is what some Libyans have done to Africans who were on transit to Europe.

Being detained

Europe has been training Libyan coastguards to stem the flow of people, thus many of the desperate Africans end up in the troubled North African state.

The slave trade in Libya is a crime against humanity and needs to stop immediately.

Of course Europe, which is crying louder than the bereaved, has a hand in this. It would rather have Libya detain African migrants than let them in.

The tragedy is also a mockery of unity that African leaders have been talking about. And for countries whose nationalities were being detained, they need to speed up facilitating their return and equipping them with vocational skills to be self-reliant.

Africa is rich with resources, if only we shared them equitably among our citizenry!

Twitter@JanetOtieno