With the close of 2015, the world’s governments under the prefect-ship of the mighty United Nations have been pushing and singing The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) song. Whatever has happened to that song, it is now a new version, maybe a re-mix—The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With renewed hopes and energies, the world awaits to see whether replacing ‘M’ with an ‘S’ in the acronym will make all the difference in the coming 15 years. Living in Africa for the last 35 years does not simply give me age-ability, but I have been a student on the continent and beyond the continent. As a result of my Research, Reasoning and Relating what I have studied here in Africa and other parts of the world, I am able to put it on Record that Africa (and of course everywhere else) needs stronger families not stronger civil government systems. With the song on MDGs and now SDGs, one hears a lot of good-sounding intentions sung for 15 years—but I want to submit that good intentions are not enough. We need not just good intentions, but great ones, equally so we desperately need great means to achieve these intentions, and at the end of the day, a great ending is necessary.
Many times, the responsibility of achieving Africa’s developmental goals has been removed from the Africans themselves as people and has been placed on impersonal schemes and means in the names of African state governments, and most times, under the tutorage of Global Governments such as the United Nations. As a result, this concept of civil government has increasingly become BIG and is even growing BIGGER in the name of achieving development for the African person. The end of the matter though has not only been a steady expansion of governments, but also a correlating expansion and increase of an irresponsible populace on the continent. A populace with an ‘I don’t care attitude’; one who survives as the fittest at the expense of the rest; a corrupt, violent, chaotic, diseased and of course poor populace in society. This is not to mean that there are no exceptions, but exceptions are not the ones who shall bring about the development Africa needs.
When we grow, support, and encourage and invest in the authority of natural institutions, such as the family, and have parents nurture their children in the way they should go, without the micro-management of so-called civil national entities that are influenced by global governments’ intrusions in family affairs, Africa shall realize a populace that is self-governed. It is only natural that God placed little children in the hands of the parental authority, knowing that this is the place where children’s tempers, manners, and habits needed for usefulness in their future stations shall be inculcated. No civil government on earth can create a sense of self government in a person; instead, all these forms of external governments create slavish and dependent mentalities in the populace. This populace looks up to such external sources for their survival all through life. An independent, mature, responsible, and productive citizen for the nation is not produced through these means. It is only families that are structured in such a manner that after sometime, a child moves on independent of their parents. Governments do not have an exit strategy for a person to live independent of them.
Africa needs MDGs and SDGs that shall empower and not curtail the family institution and let it be the family God intended it to be. A family where parents are responsible for the nurture and admonition of their children; a family where parents take full responsibility for the education of their children; and a family that takes full responsibility for its own economy at the family level without looking to external civil government.
People have always told me that this sounds ideal, but not practical. How can it be practical if we don’t work towards it? Since when did we start focusing on things which are simply practical—but wrong and ignore turning our ideals into practical? It is very possible for us to focus on what we consider to be practical and indeed we end up being practically wrong.
What we need is civil governments to shrink and begin to expand the authority of local governments, from individual-self-government, to self-governed families, to local-voluntary-self-governed-associations up to the top civil government, but following the triangle strategy, where the base is bigger than the apex. It cannot work upside down. We need big families, not big governments to solve Africa’s development problems.
Godfrey and Olga Kyazze are homeschoolers in Uganda and curriculum writers. Send them an email.