In his ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’ Karl Marx wrote: ‘Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.’ If leaders knew how to determine the outcomes of their conduct and their deeds, Robert Mugabe, former President of Zimbabwe would behaved differently to prevent what has happened – all that he built is now up in smoke. Marx also wrote the end of history is always a tragedy, like life has to end with death. The events that unfolded in the great Zimbabwe in the last two weeks are nothing short of a tragic ending of a life spent on building and later destroying the honour of the country that was once the pride of all Afrika, and the lives of millions of men, women and children who had to bear the brunt through no fault of their own. Zimbabwe, the House of Rocks of Monomotapa, with its great connections to the Mapungubwe and which was once the breadbasket of Southern Africa, is now all but wasteland and a monumental basket case in the region. That country’s leader, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, has been reshuffled by the fair arm of history from being a hero to zero, and his insatiably ambitious and avaricious wife is now a fugitive in search of refugee papers that will reduce her to a curiosity-raising shopper. Here are the few critical lessons that we as Afrikans have learned from this sad saga. Even though history does not repeat itself, it does repeat itself and what goes around does come around. Afrikan liberation movements invariably are incapable of reinventing themselves to adapt to change and in that way they become like good medicine – they have an expiry date as they heal in the beginning and kill after their expiry date. Despotic leaders are incapable of seeing or hearing about the dangers coming their way and are good at walking straight into them when they could have avoided disaster. The militaries that guard mighty leaders are a double-edged sword that can cut badly when they are not handled with great care. When leaders get very self-impressed and allow their wives to be part of state affairs, disaster is inevitable. Political loyalty is not a very reliable commodity as people who pledge undying loyalty, ululate and cheer today, will tomorrow either apologize that they were misled or simply deny that they were ever on your side. We always regret not so much the things we did but the things we now know we should have done or avoided at all. Sycophants who surround and sing for their lunch to hurtful leaders by feeding their ever expanding egos with cow dung are the worst culprits of regime change. Leaders who thrive during their reign on hurting other people are likely to end up in life with all that they would have had as a legacy in ruin. Leaders who create dynasties with spouses and families write recipes for their own collective downfalls. Leaders who corrupt systems and those around them last or are safe for as long as they keep the lid on top of the truth, which is unsustainable. The longer leaders cling to power the more enemies they make and have no soft landing in the end. Leaders who create or rule by fear are likely to receive unkind treatment in return when they become vulnerable. When change comes, it arrives very abruptly such that there is no time to close accounts or pack all the luxuries accumulated during the days of rulership. When the mighty fall, they fall very hard and their friends are very few and far between. After disastrous ending of dictators, everyone is eloquent about where things went wrong but could/did not say so when they should have. With the wisdom of hindsight, even the fallen dictators know that it was possible to avoid what had happened. We can say that it is through the treatment of other people, not the accumulation of power or things, that leaders fall and be remembered. Fallen leaders always blame their close advisers and spouses for misleading them or not telling them the truth, and forget that while they ruled, they themselves took people for granted. It takes a shorter and less effort to destroy what has been built over a long time with lots of endeavours. In Afrika we remain unevolved to manage our differences and plan political succession to obviate trouble. Most Afrika leaders are incapable of putting the interests of their nations above their own self-interests and would rather drag the whole country down with their ill-fortune in life. It is a matter of time before people stand up and act in defence of their values and justice, no matter how powerful and how good a paymaster the leader is at any given time. A leader can fool some people sometime but not all the people all the time. Most of our problems in Afrika are the result of the poor leadership we have. Sometimes it takes a storm to clean up the filth in the road. In most cases, Afrikan leaders blame the outside world or those who speak the truth for their failures and never accept that they are wrong. Leaders or political parties they lead come and go but their countries stay and life goes on. Afrikan leaders, with a very few exceptions, hardly worry about the future as much as they worry about their themselves and their families and the propaganda about their past. First ladies should learn to stay in their lanes and not usurp roles that are not listed on their marriage certificates. Justice, however long it is delayed or denied, eventually prevails and the people always triumph over despots. In spite of the fact that we have been governing ourselves for a while now, we remain the laughing stock of the civilized world, mainly due to our leaders who never learn to play by the precepts and prescriptions of democracy and the rule of law. If the Zimbabwean leadership under Mugabe paid attention to the truth, the cries of their people instead of just their stomachs, things could have been different and better for themselves and all Zimbabweans and all of us in the region and on the continent.
2017-11-17 10:19:56 10 months ago