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Friday, 15 June 2007

AFRICAN BROTHERHOOD.....AN EXCUSE FOR DESPOTS TO RULE!!!


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AFRICAN brotherhood. A magnificent outrage!

That's what I call it.

What is wrong with African leaders?

No, it's not President Mugabe I'm talking about yet.

Would you believe that in 1927, incumbent President Charles D B King of Liberia won the presidency by 234 000 votes? Yes, only 234 000 votes separated him from a determined challenger. That was too close for an African president, wouldn't you say?

Well, King was "duly elected" President of Liberia. Oh, I forgot to mention that the total number of registered voters was only 15 000. The African was a genius after all! Better than our very own resident manufacturer, Tobaiwa Mudede. King turned 15 000 eligible voters into 234 000 votes for himself.

The poor challenger seems to have unwittingly voted for his opponent thousands of times over. Could Mudede have been in Liberia in the 1920s? But that's Africa! Those are the kind of precocious presidents we have always had.

Is modern-day Africa's best the likes of Olusegun Obasanjo, Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki? Is this the best this continent can produce? Why are African leaders despots, oppressors, cruel, uncaring and why do they choose to live in their respective Finance ministries instead of State Houses?

Why is there so much brutality used on Africans by Africans? Is it in our genes that once we are rulers we are not happy with just oppressing our own citizens but look around us to find, encourage and protect other African leaders who brutalise their hapless citizens?

French President Jacques Chirac must have had nightmares staring into the eyes of all those dictators amongst whom were murderers, adulterers, sadists, polygamists, girl-snatchers and, yes, thieves.

Chirac knew but did not care about what some of these men did for Mugabe and to us in Zimbabwe last year during a charade called presidential elections, an odious election that Mugabe now impetuously uses to literally keep up appearances.

Chirac should also be aware of how faulty Obasanjo and Mbeki's entente cordiale on Zimbabwe is. True to the norm of dictators mollycoddling each other, Obasanjo and Mbeki can only hear Mugabe's complaints and mumblings but not the screams from the millions of people in Zimbabwe.

African leaders' attitude towards last year's elections is not surprising. It was the betrayal of a nation, but more importantly, it was the first salvo fired in salute of the birth of the African Renaissance.

It was a luminous flare in the African skies to inform all and sundry that no African president will fault another. Yes, it was the African Renaissance, African dictatorship by a new name.

Now we know what this renaissance is all about. It was not by accident that even the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) was launched in South Africa by Mbeki having been bankrolled by a notorious dictator from up north who is only African at his convenience but is otherwise an Arab throughout the year.

Qaddafi can spot talent.

He sees dictatorial potential in an individual and cultivates it. Mbeki is part of the new breed of ineffective and inexperienced youngsters who, as Moi said, "can be guided".

At its launch hardly a year ago, Mbeki announced that one of Nepad's aims is to provide African solutions to African problems.

On 23 February, 2003, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that South African President Thabo Mbeki had asked French President Jacques Chirac to help resolve Zimbabwe's deepening political and economic crisis. Oh, dear!

But surely Chirac must have heard how the despots who were gathered around his table recoiled when "good governance" was thrown into the political stew called Nepad.

Chirac should proceed carefully; these despots mean business. Look what havoc they are causing in the Commonwealth. But if Chirac wants the respect of African leaders, he should start by killing several French citizens, haunt opposition MPs and for good measure bring Le Pen to trial for lese-majesty.

But closer to home, it must have taken tremendous soldierly courage for General Vitalis Zvinavashe to momentarily forget his comrade-in-arms Mugabe to acknowledge that we have a crisis in our country as of January 2003. He surely must have been enjoying Rip Van Winkle's 20-year-long siesta.

Who woke Zvinavashe up, I wonder?

Zimbabweans acknowledged this quagmire years ago. At one time even Mugabe fired his under-performing Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa after realising that things were just not going well.

Zvinavashe should have made this acknowledgement years ago. Only last year, Zimbabwean nationals recoiled in a pre-emptive defensive cringe when Zvinavashe and his armed uniformed cowboys broke out of the cattle pens and undermined the electoral process by intimidating the people through a declaration of unwavering support for an unpopular incumbent who was heading for an embarrassing defeat.
Now Zvinavashe is at it again. He was praised in editorials for his bold admission that we have a crisis. I beg to differ. Zvinavashe does not deserve any praise. He is part of the rot. Was it not his soldiers who shot dead citizens demonstrating against high food prices several years ago?

Please, I am not being maddeningly elliptical but personally, I do not want to see Zvinavashe's nose steaming the window panes on rooms in which the people are electing a leader. Stay in the barracks, Vitalis! The people will choose the leader, your boss, by themselves. You can vote like any other civilian it is your right, but when you hold a news conference in full military fatigues telling people that you can only accept a president you were with in Mozambique then you are setting a dangerous precedent and stripping the citizens of this country of their rights.

Now the heart of this matter is that those who fought to liberate this country have failed dismally. You yourself acknowledge that. Our liberators are now our oppressors. But our liberators do not want us to mention this. When we do, your so-called war veterans beat us up, maim us and kill us. This, I am sure, is part of the crisis you were talking about. Now that you recognise the crisis caused by your kind, what are you going to do about it?

Press reports say you are part of a team that is trying to impose a leader on us after sending your erstwhile colleague Mugabe into exile. No chance, my friend! That is not going to happen again. We believed in you people once and you not only betrayed us but killed some of our kin.

Stay in the barracks, Vitalis.

We are aware that you are manoeuvring to endear yourself to both the citizenry and whoever is our next leader. You are now saying these things because your friend is said to be negotiating for an exit package. Your comrade-in-arms reportedly wants to leave. He doesn't like it here any more.

Didn't Mugabe know all along that when he turned tyrant, it was his own freedom that he was destroying? You didn't say anything to him then. So why now? I will accept Josiah Tungamirai and Solomon Mujuru's utterances because they may be party loyalists but they are not civil servants any more.

I personally do not wish to see the army anywhere near civilian politics. This country is not going to breed failures like Obasanjo, who is a far greater and sadder disappointment than Mbeki, the African Renaissance man. Mbeki is just Mbeki. He has no history by which his presidency can be measured against, except his first term as president.

Mbeki's presidency so far has been a disaster to Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular. Even South Africa's Sunday Times says Mbeki is unable to confront difficult issues (16 February, 2003).

But Obasanjo is a one-time president of Nigeria having used blazing guns to attain that post. The international community could not praise him enough for "handing over power" to an elected government. He became a darling and was appointed a member of the Eminent Persons Group, troubleshooters in pre-independence South Africa. Obasanjo helped to get Mbeki, among others, out of the abyss that was apartheid. Now he and Mbeki have teamed up and formed their very own North-South axis, to make sure Zimbabwe is kept oppressed with no food or hope of political plurality.

Obasanjo has proved beyond doubt that he is no democrat but just another African reactionary who performs for his wallet and the paymasters elsewhere. He has let us down. He has ruled Nigeria twice and yet can never criticise the worst offenders on the continent. "If there are points to be raised in Zimbabwe, like brothers we put ourselves into a room, we lock the door" (Obasanjo: Daily News, 10 February, 2003).

Lord have mercy!

The "brothers" lock themselves in a room to shut out our screams! Talk about a trade union of African despots! They do not like their people to be free. Freedom is the ultimate empowerment and that is cause for concern to any African leader. If people in a neighbouring country are free, they are a threat to the despot in the adjoining country.

Similarly, Europe and the West do not like popular, strong Third World leaders because they are difficult to control or influence. That is why our dictators get support from them. What I have learned from history is that nations watch while one nation cannibalises itself. It starts as a murder here, a couple of murders there. At this stage the murderers are dubbed "unknown assailants". We have seen it recently in Rwanda and Yugoslavia. The world stands by as they did when famine hit Ethiopia and only jump into the fray when corpses can no longer be ignored. Now public funds are being spent bringing "war criminals to account for their actions".

Now picture this: While serving a term for "war crimes" the accused writes this to a relative and he ends by saying, "Oh, there are things, you see, for which one has to carry the blame, even if purely factually one might find excuses; the intensity of the crime precludes any attempt at self-justification" This accused, however, went on to accept only "co-responsibility" but never "guilt". This is an excerpt from a letter written by Albert Speer, Hitler's former Minister of Armaments. He was writing to his teenage daughter from Spandau Prison. Enough paranoia and suspicion have been cultivated in our country to easily lead to our self-destruction.

How many people have to be killed in any country before leaders recoil? And is Africa really hoping for a revival, a renaissance of any sort when we produce presidents like Mbeki, Mugabe and Obasanjo?

Look what Mswati of Swaziland is doing in the name of African tradition. And then there is the incongruous Sam Nujoma!

Can any one of these men do anything for their countries, let alone for Africa? Africa and its leaders!

They are a magnificent outrage, aren't they?

(Tanonoka Whande - The Daily News, Zimbabwe)

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