Agomo Atambire – A Social Commentator

I may not be one hundred percent sure about many things but if there is one thing I could stick my neck out and say I am sure about it would be that Technology has always won. Change is inevitable and Technology wins at the end of the day. No person/persons have successfully rebelled against new technology and successfully won a lasting victory.

The tools we use today that shape our modern life were the tech of yesterday. When they first came to the scene many were those who said they were evil, today they enhance our livelihoods. Think about electricity, the rise of the Automobil, airplanes, mobile phones, the Internet, vaccines. Throughout our history there have always been scaremongering about any new invention we came up with. There has always been that group of people who say “let’s stick to what we know”, their plea often ends with a special appeal to stick to what nature has endowed us. They forget that everything that makes our specie great are what nature did not give us by default, we had to make it ourselves.

Technology is not just a new way of doing things, it strikes at the core of our existence, it is about power and it is political. When a new tech arises the creators and those who adopt it early are those who get to shape the direction in which this new tool would take. Those who reject this technology effectively remove themselves from any discussion or conversation concerning the future of such technology and this brings me to Africa and whoever is concerned about the future of the continent.

When the atom was split it was clear then that humanity would never be the same, there was going to be a change in the future of epic proportions. That change alone has effectively shaped what my future and yours would be even before we were born. Today we live in a world led my nations with nuclear power to power their industries and for defence in the form of bombs. The permanent members of the security council are chiefly made up of nations with such arsenal and they can veto security resolutions and no matter how we feel in Africa what they say is final and they have the power to enforce it so when Mugabe says Africa deserves a permanent membership I believe he is right, I have always felt same but let us be real, diplomacy or politics isn’t about playing nice, fairness is the first casualty, power is what counts. I mentioned Mugabe here because on one hand he seems to want an Africa that has the power to determine it’s future but on the other hand doing the opposite and that is his stance on GMO. GMO is not just about modifying organism, it is also a power tool especially when it comes to Agriculture.

Our planet is undoubtedly on a disastrous path by way of climate change. This threatens our collective ability to feed ourselves and GMO is one way we could mitigate some of the problems arising now and those we are likely to face later. The population of Africa is growing and that even makes it important that there is a favourable attitude towards GM technology. Henry Kisinger said “control oil and you control nations, control food and you control people”. As much as I dislike him there is no denying the truth in that statement.

The likes of Mugabe are not doing us any good. You may stand in front of a crowd at the AU general assembly and give a passionate speech to the applause of all in the building and still gain nothing internationally because you don’t have the power that would be respected and recognised as a global player. You don’t want to be still hanging around fifty years from now still complaining that Africa is not being treated fairly because global Agriculture is being dominated by foreign corporations whose GM products are everywhere because mark my words, it shall come to pass. GM will be the norm in a couple of years, in fact they are now. Mugabe and those who think like him should understand that their argument is not even a moral one let alone a politically wise one. It is not too late to change their stance. Like it or not genetic engineering is here to stay, it is not as if we could all go to sleep and wake up the following day without a memory of what Genetic engineering is, if that were possible we would gladly wipe our memory of how to make nuclear or biological weapons but the world does not work that way. The tech is here so what is left is a question of who controls this tech and who writes the rules on how it would be used. Fighting against it won’t help, you won’t win, I just told you why. You may think you have no stake in this but guess again, you are in the middle of it. Some of your fears are legitimate and are of important concern but it doesn’t help that you trash the entire tech, let’s talk about it, refine it and make it better. Saying NO GMO won’t make it go away. It is here with us and it will stay that way.

Written By: Agomo Atambire



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