Friday, September 7, 2007

African dictators

I recently heard of the new twist in Zimbabwe's economic crisis after the introduction of the 200,000-dollar bill the food crisis has entered a significant phase. Zimbabwe has only two weeks of wheat supply left, while citizens are faced with soaring bread prices. A loaf of bread in Zimbabwe currently costs $66,000 Zimbabwean (66 US cents), having risen 30% in just one week... yeah bread and predictabely President Mugabe denies that his land reform programme has contributed to the crisis, blaming the effects of drought instead. The country has suffered increasing food shortages, rising unemployment and runaway inflation since the government began redistributing seized white-owned farms six years ago. As always a lot of dictators bring things back to colonialism and Mr Mugabe is an expert at diverting attention from his horrific management of Zimbabwe by bringing up European colonialism and the post-colonial white farmers. White settlers in Zimbabwe
So, if you ask Mugabe what he is doing about AIDS which infects 1/3 of the country, he will talk of British colonialism, if you ask why half of his country is impoverish, he brings up the white farmers. This guy has a brilliant evil game, played with serpentine precision, and if one's attention span is short,he will seduce you, making you forget that he is running Zimbabwe into the ground, and that he operates in the interests of his own wealth and continued power.

Kenyans must count themselves one of the luckiest countries in Africa not to have gone through dictatorship as some of our African counterparts. Yeah yeah I know you will probably say the former President Moi was one but really think about it and compare him to other dictators. I am not trying to justify his deeds and I would be the last person to support the evils he did and after his regime Kenyans have certainly grown politically despite the few tribal hitches here and there unlike a few of our African counterparts .

Acquiring dictator-ship is not a piece of cake and there is a transition that takes place progressively before you wake up one day and BAMM!! you are a fully fledged dictator wreaking havoc and not understanding why The Commonwealth is all up in your corrupt tyrannical ass.

If you pay a little attention to our long list of current and past African dictators, you will notice a similar trend. African dictators tend to dress -- oddly -- after the manner of the Edwardian dandy, circa 1898. If not Edwardian it will be Martial-style. It is never entirely inappropriate to let the hoi polloi, those unwashed uneducated masses, know just who is the Commander in Chief Or, in the lamentable case of Idi Amin, "His Excellency, President for Life Field Marshall Al Hadj Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC. Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular" ....even Jaluos can't hack.
The effective African tyrant wears big colors... Ghadaffi fears the color green, loves vermillion and pink. Everyone knows that dictators had ruinous, broken childhoods, like porn-stars and psycho killers. No psychologically healthy and well integrated adult personality would decide, on a whim, to take control of an emerging country's GDP and declare it to be, henceforth, his own checking account. Even if you grew up in a war-ravaged bush, learned that "power" is achieved through throwing the biggest tantrum, stealing the most food, bullying the most boys and organizing them into his subordinates and even eating human flesh in the hope of obtaining some supernatural power. This is essentially a regression into animal and not human behavior and if the future dictator is successful as a child in this endeavor, he will continue, through military channels, eventually taking over his host country and what makes you think you can turn a lion into a lamb over night.

Even though a few African countries have managed in the past to oust dictators, Some of them have new leaders who unfortunately carry a whiff of dictatorship. One of them, President Laurent Kabila of Congo, is already dead....assassinated by his own bodyguard after several years of corrupt, tyrannical rule. In Rwanda, Congo's neighbor and occasional invader, the austere Paul Kagame now presides over a ruthless police state. Isaias Afwerki, the first leader of independent Eritrea, has degenerated into a drunken, paranoid hermit. He has canceled elections, arrested critics, and abrogated the constitution while intermittently warring with his larger neighbor, Ethiopia. That country's president, the brainy Meles Zenawi, a one-time confidante of Tony Blair, has lately taken to imprisoning opposition politicians and shooting at protesters who accuse him of stealing recent parliamentary elections.

Museveni was always the most promising: charming, smart, willing to speak hard truths about Africa's failings, permissive of dissent, and enlightened on many issues of public policy. Foreign governments showered the country with millions in aid. Everyone from Bono to President Bush came to see the Ugandan "miracle," as it was called. Bill Clinton, when he visited in 1998, saluted Museveni as the leader of an "African renaissance."

Museveni, to one degree or another, has engaged in bad behaviors. He has attacked and looted Congo; he has allowed fantastic corruption within his inner circle; he has harassed journalists and cracked down on political dissent; he has amended Uganda's constitution to allow himself to serve indefinitely. In November, he jailed his strongest opponent in this month's presidential election, charging him with rape and treason.
With peaceful change in neighbouring South Africa and Mozambique, Swaziland has been described as an island of dictatorship in a sea of democracy.Many Swazis live in chronic poverty and food shortages are widespread. Aids is taking a heavy toll with more than 40% of the population believed infected with HIV....you could almost where a space suit if you go there.
As a conclusion to this post, despite all the African hullabaloo and even though Africa dominates the list of The World's Worst Dictators for 2007, I think Europe still has the worst record acts against humanity. There is not a single evidence of an African people leaving the continent of Africa to murder and destroy other peoples in other continents. And what has been the history of Europe since the 15th Century? Massacres, disorganizations, displacements, looting, subjugation and oppression of other peoples in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. More destruction has been caused to others by Europeans. Slavery and colonialism are the best known examples of European greed and bloodthirstiness. These facts have to be borne in mind whenever one raises the spectre of African bloodthirstiness which has been conveyed over the centuries by colonialist and racist propaganda and which unfortunately survives today.

1 comment:

Gary E said...

Thanks for the well written and informative essay. I hope someone can train a younger African group to find power and use it in good judgement. It's time to see an Africa run by wise rulers of it's own kind. I fear no kind has ever run it wisely.

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