- Only this time, we are selling not just the bodies of our brothers and sisters, but also their heritage, birthright and resources. In a way, this is even more egregious than the slave trade.
Africa’s leadership stories have been one amusing yet disturbing comedy after the other. From Mobutu to Eyadema, from Yahya Jammeh to the recently deposed Al-Bashir, a very interesting pattern of leadership is developing that is easy to see, but also not very obvious to a casual observer.
The longer African leaders stay in power, the less they trust the systems that they themselves created.
Almost all of Africa’s biggest dictators get their healthcare from outside the continent. Together with their Ministers and agents, they even do their X-Rays abroad, not to think about the doctors and nurses they import for personal care.
If we look at the children of African leaders who have stayed in power for more than 10 years, you would realize that at least 80% of them studied both at the secondary and tertiary levels abroad. A few people will argue that these are because their children are safer abroad, but then again, what’s the real question? They don’t trust the systems they superintend over to protect their own children?
Do they not trust their own systems to educate their children adequately in the nation that they are making decisions for on behalf of countless millions?
Of the last 10 sitting African rulers to die in office, 7 of them were in hospitals abroad, and one was assassinated or shot by a mob (Gadhaffi). Our own dear Amissah-Arthur died in a pickup on the way to the 37 Military Hospital.
I have sat back and looked on bemused at how often African countries led by their presidents are spending countless amounts of money on roadshows to lure “investors” yet treat indigenous businessmen worse than criminals and petty thieves. I have seen how government monies are spent in plush hotels abroad, yet these same spenders are unwilling to recycle their local economies with their loot.
Indigenous people who even want to benefit from their natural resources are barred from doing so and yet foreigners are allowed to come in and exploit these for royalties that are next to nothing, only for the ruling class to be showered with first class tickets and shareholdings stacked in tax havens under numbered accounts.
Folks, this is not new. What we are seeing is the 21st century version of the slave trade where Africans sold out to the west for mirrors, guns and gin. Only this time, we are selling not just the bodies of our brothers and sisters, but also their heritage, birthright and resources. In a way, this is even more egregious than the slave trade. In the slave trade, we were just culling our population, and in some cases getting rid of undesirable elements. However, in this case, we are giving out our wealth for nothing in return, and the champions of this are commoditizing greed in all sorts of grandeur right in our faces.
We are being deceived of an ability to intervene through “elections”, which are just stage-managed events to fund the beasts of corruption into legitimacy. It is funny, across Africa, to see how suddenly well-intended edicts to check executive power are morphing into licenses for authoritarian rule by incumbents in a bid to hang on to power.
These so-called leaders are nothing but worshippers of money, hoarders and financially illiterate plutocrats. It is difficult to differentiate all of these African government leaders from the likes of the Latin American drug lords; private armies, kill squads, bribed policemen and judges, large stashes of US Dollar denominations in their basements…
Sometimes you ask yourself whether you are being ruled by the mob or by elected statesmen
We deserve better than this. But we can only start now if we decide we don’t want to be influenced by the lure of free and easy cash made via sycophancy. It will only start when we begin to think of ourselves as agents of the change we want to believe in. I believe that we have now all seen that the African ballot box only brings out the worst in us. We haven’t been able to use the ballot box to select the right people.
Perhaps, we need to disrupt democracy, not by violence, but by reimagination of what the nation-state means to us. I believe a new form of governance run on different principles in a connected world such as we have today is the way forward.
Maybe, just maybe, we need to outsource governance. Maybe, we need to crowdsource leadership. Maybe, just maybe, we need to redesign what governance structures exist to suit what we see. Maybe, just maybe, we need to begin to see that the western concept of democracy that has been superimposed on us, is not the way to go.
How will we begin the blueprint for the new paradigm of governance? Ideas, please?