Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaPatriotism and African Leaders
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content
Patriotism and African Leaders Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Enyioma Anaba, Nigeria Sep 10, 2003
Human Rights   Opinions
 1 2   Next page »


Some of us are familar with “Africa my Africa,” a famous poem. It is quite apparent that the writer really loves Africa as much as we do. However, what is not clear is the fact that it seems everybody who loves his/ her continent or country is someone not in possession of political power. It is not an overstatement to say that the person who really loves his/her country is a common person like you and I, who have not been contaminated by political gimmicks, and not those in power and authority. This poses the question: is it that they do, and never showed it or they once did but the minute they take hold of the mantle of leadership, they could not help but commit atrocities?

It baffles me and to my utter amazement, it does not only stop in Africa but in most parts of the world. Nevertheless, I will restrict my self to Africa because I am African. Tyranny is still present in the world today amidst democracy. This is an issue that seeks redress and need not be ignored. Please do not get this wrong since there are some political leaders who are very patriotic. Consequently, we set out to examine the reign of some African leaders.

Captain Strasser, former Sierra Leone military ruler swept into power in a 1992 coup and at 25 became the world's youngest national leader. He ruled Sierra Leone with bloody consequences from 1992 to 1996. At 26 the world's youngest head of state. Moreover, despite widespread criticism of his human rights record from organizations such as Amnesty International, the young leader quickly ingratiated himself with world leaders including Bill Clinton, John Major and Nelson Mandela. But only eight (8) months into his leadership, Strasser's armed forces executed 26 political opponents on a beach outside Freetown, for treason, citizens of the country claimed there was no trial but he claimed they faced trial and were convicted for treason. In January 1994, Strasser's government began an army recruitment drive, enlisting children from the age of 12. The international community was appalled, and Britain immediately suspended aid to the country. He was ejected by a further coup in 1996. He fled to UK, and has lived in London since 1996, as his application for asylum was being considered but this was rejected in the year 2000. Now at age 34, he fled to Gambia, changed his first name to Reginald and has been unemployed. He stays with his mother in a town near the capital.

What bewilders me is how someone so young and who had such great opportunity could be so heartless and irrational to waste such opportunity, leaving such a legacy. Is it that power is that intoxicating that they show contempt for their country and the citizens?
This means our age cannot be a barrier to us making the difference. We have already seen that this man was only 25years and he made so much difference in peoples’ lives, even if it was negative, it was a difference and it affected many people.

Take Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya for example, he became the President of Kenya in 1978, at the age of 54 after the death of President Kenyatta. In 1982, President Moi declared Kenya a one-party state, for his party, Kenya African National Union (KANU). Anyone forming an opposition party would be charged with sedition or treason. There have been many instances where people have been executed because of this law. This ban extends to other forms of organization such as trade unions. The Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) is affiliated to Moi's party and it is the only trade union organization allowed. Moi leads COTU himself and chooses its leaders. Any new union has to affiliate to COTU if it wants to organize nationally. Any genuine trade union has to work underground. In 1990, Moi’s foreign minister, Dr Robert Ouko was assassinated, after he had approached the US State Department with evidence of the Moi government's corruption, this was made public and it tarnished the image of President Moi. Arap Moi then decided to invite Scotland Yard detectives to investigate Ouko's death. He hoped for a whitewash, but the investigation held him responsible. Amnesty International reported in 1993 on the cases of a number of journalists who were arrested and charged with sedition for publishing criticisms of the government. The list of atrocities is endless.
He was president for 24 years and never wanted to relinquish power. When he finally decided to do so, he wanted to replace his protégé in that seat, the son of the former President Kenyatta. It is sad that some sycophants would still parade such a megalomaniac as a hero.
We can go on and on to mention dictators like the late Idi Amin of Uganda, Eyadema of Togo (who has ruled for over 38 years) and General Sanni Abacha of my great country Nigeria. These people were ordinary people before they attained the seat of power. Valentine Strasser was a captain, Daniel Moi was a teacher. So where did the devil come from?

Let us now bring the message home by pondering on these questions. What would we do with the mantle of power? Can we avoid killing and being corrupt? Can we avoid doing the wrong things? Can we really do all these? Can we entrust everything to the Almighty God? We could go on forever with the questions. I am inclined to think we should all learn from all these and know that even if we consider ourselves as common now, we might end up with the mantle of power in our hands and the lives of millions of people in our hands. What will you do with it?

 1 2   Next page »   


You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile
Enyioma Anaba

This user has not written anything in his panorama profile yet.
You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.