AFRICAN DEMOCRACY – A BOGUS DEMOCRACY
AND MOCKERY OF THE PEOPLE
August 7, 2020
Your Excellency Sir/Madam,
I conjoin this edition with my 4th Edition, in which I, in resume retort that most of our African democratic regimes in our respective nations are generally bogus, disingenuous and hypocritical; hence a mockery of the peoples’ will and confidence reposed in their leaders, to serve their aspirations and ameliorate their plights. My opinion and position is informed by the systemic crack-down of state security apparatus on armless and often times peaceful, demonstrations, over very legitimate concerns and abuses meted out on them by some state authorities and multinational or local actors – and against rampant corruption with impunity and reckless abandon of the affairs of the common man and the generality of the citizenry.
As such, it is disheartening to observe that the appalling rate of abject poverty and destitution is mostly not as a result of the lack natural and human resource capacities, but rather artificial impoverishment caused by extreme greed and opulence of our national leaders (governments) and public servants.
I would also like to end this review of my last edition by highlighting a notable clamp-down on “free speech and freedom of Assembly” by the George Weah regime in Liberia. Mr. Emmanuel Savicks, a prominent Liberian civil rights advocate for “War and Economic Crimes” in Liberia, (who is currently based in Canada), was grossly intimidated and incarcerated by state police, by what is believed to be by the directives of the CDC led government in March 2020; for his sustained proponence and mobilization of citizens towards a peaceful March in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. Thus, with several of these incidence of police brutality and forceful crackdown on peaceful, armless and disaffected demonstrators, across many nations on the continent, it seems to me that most of our African governments narrow down democracy to the holding of national elections – they do not freely embrace the other democratic principles, tenets and provisions. And even to date, political tension and instability still looms over Guinea (Conakry), due to Professor Alpha Conde’s continual manipulation of the constitution and political maneuverings. Now, western nations that have originally adopted and generally successfully practiced democracy, define it as “government by the people, of the people and for the people.” They have, over the centuries carefully followed this definition freely and practically, (regardless of some common and understandable limitations) – thus, have translated it into popular and national development for over five centuries. This has made countries like Poland, Greece and Italy that were seeing a flurry of youthful emigration, at this moment content to stay in their countries, (except for the pursuit of academia, trade and tourism) and contribute meaningful to their personal, popular and national developments. This unfortunately, is not the case with most of Africa, which continually see many of their productive youthful populations shinning away into Europe and the Americas, in search of “greener pastures” or better opportunities to maximize their potentials unto their zeniths, in order to attain better lives and future. This, as your good selves are aware, have led to the death of thousands of youths in the Mediterranean sea and a lot of excruciating and unimaginable inhumane treatments of Africans and Asians, at the sinister hands of heartless human traffickers.
At this juncture, contrasting with the original meaning of democracy, as practiced by its proponents and exponents, I would try to define “democracy” as our African leaders see it.
For them, “democracy” is seen as, “government by the people, of the people and for the top and corrupt government/public functionaries and their cohorts, families and cronies. As such, these unscrupulous politicians can go to any length and display of false humility, during political campaigns and electioneering processes, just to attain state power. But just after they clinch power, all their vehicle glasses are dark tinted and fully raised, while access to them and robust pushing of laws and multilateral concessions that favor popular and national interests are systemically relegated to endless and inconclusive parliamentary/legislative debates. While bills, laws and debates that bother on their salaries, benefits and personal interests are always accelerated. What a crop of selfish patronage leadership Africa is inundated with!!
In view of the above, I am of the firm opinion and observation that most of our presidents and politicians have mortgaged the popular and national prosperity of their respective nations, upon the altar of greed and extreme callousness – as of a scoundrel of dastardly leadership syndrome. Thus, the “Herculean” monster of rampant corruption with reckless impunity is the major cause of the continent’s grotesque and gruesome civil wars and avoidable abject poverty that have meted out so much untold mayhem and carnage in several nations across the continent.
Your honorable self Sir/Madam, having succinctly presented Africa’s perennial problems in (resume,) do for bear with me as I examine two other monstrous visages of this Herculean monster of corruption; “the African ‘patronage’ system and’ legitimate corruption.’”
What I refer to as the “African Patronage system” spans from pre-colonial to post colonial Africa (including the present day). The patronage system in Africa is one that inherently considers its leaders as “lords,” (and not servants) of the people. It further invisibly and practically renders these leaders as though they were glorified super humans, coming from a glorified or superior planet, whose subject are subhuman, subservient and inferior men intrinsically made to serve at the behest of their “superior lords.” The former were thought to have no reason to complain, question, detest or resist any inhumane treatments of their “lords.” Those so-called lords could be either individual “survivor of the fittest” conquerors, or endless trails of dynastic regimes. With this patriarchal and discriminatory system of governance therefore, it was quite comfortable for them to accede to the sub human Trans-Athletic Slave Trade, because servants and war prisoners were considered properties of their conquerors and masters; thus could be sold out and/or used in anyway deemed right by their masters.
This notion and posture of the patronage leadership system and mentality has, unfortunately not changed, even after the independent struggles and attainment of independence of the various African countries invariably. So, one would observe that with the onset and popularization of “western democracy” in Africa, during election campaigns and the electioneering procedures, representatives (parliamentarians) and presidential candidates could stoop so low in order to win the support/votes of the electorates in an election. But no sooner do most of them win elections, than they become “lords and demi-gods to their constituents. Even worse, they end up using their public positions of trust to exploit the masses and enrich themselves, at the expense of the common people -they then go on to deprive the peoples and nations they have promised to serve and represent, for the betterment of their lives and livelihood. I am giving extensive coverage to this in my conceptual African novel entitled, “African Egalitarianism – the Pathway to the Glorious African Renaissance 2050 Onward.” So, as Prof. P.L.O Lumumba would say, “African leaders generally see governance, as the easiest and fastest means to amass ill-gotten wealth.” To them, public interests and aspirations are always relegated to the back stage, while bills, actions and provisions that bother on their personal interests and benefits are given accelerated priority concern.
Furthermore, “legitimate corruption” is an oxymoronic term I have personally coined to mean, “our African leaders’ style and system of governance, whereby they legally (through parliamentary procedures, allotments and provisions,) accrue very unreasonably huge amounts of salaries, allowances and benefits to both the legislative and executive officials and functionaries in their governments, regardless of leading and operating in very dare and crunched economies; without any reasonable sensitivity to the deprivation, abject poverty and destitution of the masses and nation. For example, in an economy, which GDP is not even up to $ 1 billion (U.S); such patronage governments and lords/demi-gods make sure their presidents, legislators and cabinet ministers would be comfortable to accrue an average of $ 10,000.00 (US) per month, (aside allowances and bloated budgetary allocations). While low cadre police officers and civil servants, who receive an average of $ 200.00 (US) without allowances, would be required to use it to service their daily roundtrip transportation fares to work, lunch at work and also take care of their housing, health care bills, children’s educational needs, feeding, etc. – what an insensitive, sinister and exploitative system that even inadvertently enforces “unavoidable corruption”; a system that could turn even the best angels into devils.
How can any reasonable person and servant leader justify being allotted, for example $ 500,000.00 (US) just as “presidential entertainment” budget, in an economy which GDP is less than $ 1 billion/annum? That is also aside other exorbitant budgetary allocations that do not depict any form of sacrificial and fiscal prudence. In my opinion, both our executive and legislative arms of governance in most of Africa, practically operate by “paying themselves huge, non-sacrificial salaries, allowances and budgetary allocations, just to siphon needed donor and locally raised funds – not least to mention their huge overseas travel allowances and per diems.
This is unlike a biblical role model, sacrificial, patriotic and nationalistic Governor (president) I had deliberated an in one of my editions last year – President (Governor) Nehemiah of Judah (Israel), who had this to say (and do), as a trail blazer of the exiled Israelites and returnees from Babylonian/Persian deportations; “for the entire twelve years that I was Governor of Judah – from the twelfth year to the twenty second year of the reign of king Arterxerxes, neither I, nor my officials drew on our official allowances. The former Governors and forerunners in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily provision of food and wine; besides forty pieces of silver” (Nehemiah 5:14 & 15 – Africa Study Bible/ASB). What an exemplary role model for our corrupt, greedy and opulent African leaders and economies!!
It is also rather heart-rending and an aberration that the “world’s poorest region/nations could be found in sub-Saharan Africa, with very naturally endued coastal nations like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea; which have vast arable land, green vegetation, huge and high quality mineral and marine resources and very favorable tropical climatic conditions. As such, I would hasten to put forward that our trumpeted poverty is only artificially imposed on us by bad governance, gross economic mismanagement and institutionalized corruption in our governance and public sectors.
Guinea (Conakry), as a nation has, for the past five years been bedeviled by manipulated democracy and a continual attempt by the Alpha Conde administration to subjugate the will of the Guinean people and impose his extended regime on Guineans – hence the intermittent demonstrations and clashes with the stooge state security operatives.
The African Union (AU), unlike the relatively proactive ECOWAS actors, operates by and large like a “white elephant” that is almost rendering itself redundant, at a time it needs to be more engaging, robust and proactive in Africa’s governance, economic and global political affairs.
LONG LIVE THE IMMINENT AFRICAN RENAISSANCE!! LONG LIVE THE PEOPLES’ POWER!!
Apst. Dr. Abraham J. Williams