Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos – State capture and lessons for African politicians and their spouses.

There are many things about which African politicians, that is, those in power – the powerful – can and should learn from Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos, especially about State capture and their lavish lifestyles . But here are a few.

Learn that power is toxic. It’s an intoxicating substance.

Don’t allow power to intoxicate you, that is, don’t get intoxicated on it.

Power obviously corrupts but only if you let it corrupt you. It corrupts the already corrupt, that is, only if you are corrupt. So in that case, it is only an excuse [trigger] that ignores the desire and habit or addiction. Much like a drug or alcohol addict, they are addicts before they use [abuse] the substance.

Once you (start to) kill for power, to protect and/or to maintain it, you’ve embarked (gone down) on a dangerous path, one that (likely) has no end and in most cases, as history shows, one that does not end well at all. There’s only how far that [strategy] path can take you. And there are only as many you can kill until [the] people say enough is enough and turn the tables on you.

As for Imelda Marcoses of Africa; and there are many, remember what happened to Marie Antoinette in France?

Everything that starts will finally come to its end. Nothing and certainly no one lives on forever. No system, social, political – monarch, empire, dynasty, however strong it apparently is or appears to be, lives on forever. It finally crumbles, and comes to its end.

Ferdinand Marcos thought he had America, that is, the strong backing of the Reagan Administration and even bolstered by his apparent “cosy” personal friendship with Ronald Reagan.

This illusion of friendship had allowed Ferdinand Marcos to falsely overestimate his importance to Ronald Reagan and his administration, hence taking liberty to stretch his iron hand and its reach, engaging in political and power mischief.

The assassination of his then main political nemesis Benigno S. Aquino Jr who was shot dead when he arrived at the Manila airport from the United States of America where had spent three years in exile, was a defining moment for Marcos’ political life and his regime.

The death of Benigno S. Aquino Jr caused widespread resentment in the country. Ferdinand Marcos, fearing that his legitimacy was in serious trouble and in his attempt to shore it up, called for a snap election in which Corazon Aquino, the widow to Benigno S. Aquino Jr, was his challenger.

The Philippine National Assembly announced that Marcos was the winner – the straw that broke the camel’s [Marco’s] back – a rebellion broke out in the Philippine military as a result.

But “when the shit hit the fan”, so to speak, and hundreds of thousands of Filipinos marched in the streets, and Ferdinand Marcos called [telephoned] Ronald Reagan seeking for his urgent help, requesting that Ronald Reagan makes the final word [decision] on whether he should or should not leave power, Reagan had only contempt for him and his behaviour.

And what better way for Ronald Reagan to show deep contempt to, apparently, until that time, his “friend” Marcos than silence by ignoring his constant and frantic phone calls – instructing his staff to redirect the calls to one junior source who told Marcos, in no uncertain, unambiguous terms, to “fuck off” and face the people’s wrath. To accept to be roasted by the Filipino people as he had done to them and his opponents – real and/or perceived – during his 20 year dictatorship. It was payback time.

What is on record, however, is that President Ronald Reagan advised his “friend”, Ferdinand Marcos, through Senator Paul Laxalt to “cut and cut cleanly“. In other words, to quickly find ways out of the country,  to avoid what was believed could have been a military confrontation between pro- and anti-Marcos troops.

What goes around, so the the saying goes, will finally come back around to bite – in your own backside. For Ferdinand Marcos, it surely came back and bit his backside so hard and deep, unseating him from his power comforts. It was time up for Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos; the “chickens had come home to roost”.

Ferdinand Marcos was cast adrift by his “friend” Ronald Reagan and his Administration when the hour beckoned, at the most critical and defining moment when his dead horse regime was frantically kicking and gasping for life saving breath of help, for its survival.

Subsequently, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos fled the country, Ferdinand died three years after he was deposed from power.

PS: Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, are famous for holding the Guinness World Record for the “Greatest Robbery of a Government”.