Top notch deadly naivety

To think, and worse, sincerely believe that someone else other than yourself has your best interests at heart before theirs and thus invest your hopes and emotions in the goodness of their hearts and wait for things to work out well for you; is top notch deadly naivety. Human life revolves around relationships; relationships are about human interaction. Human interaction is integral to our relationships; how we interact fundamentally defines, dictates and shapes our relationship with each other and has great impact on our society.

Therefore, it becomes imperative to understand relationship dynamics, that is to say, the patterns of interaction in any relationship at any [given] moment. Patterns of interaction range from the communication, i.e, the way we communicate with (to) each other, the motive [reason] of communication as well as the relationship.

Understanding relationship dynamics helps clarify many things in any relationships and make interaction a lot more cordial even where differences are apparently stronger and people have divergent interests/views. But understanding relationship dynamics helps understand one fundamental characteristic of human relationships, and that’s that, human relationship is fundamentally and purely transactional.

It’s better to understand and accept that in any relationship and interaction with others; you’re possibly a convenient bridge on which the other person needs or has been looking for to cross from one end to another end of their [present] mission. Or that you’re [potentially] a pawn they [desperately] need to move to clear the way or test the waters, if not the convenient human shield to protect themselves; or tool with which to advance and achieve their goals and objectives.

Understanding and bearing this in mind; means one knows where one stands, i.e, one’s position in any relationship and interaction with others; i.e, what one should not only expect but also do. In other words, how one should play the relationship game because it’s ultimately a transactional game in which ending up with the short end of the stick might mean and have disastrous consequences. So, it’s better to not be naive to think and, worse, believe that others, no matter what they say or claim to be – authority or not – than yourself alone, have your best interests at heart and not primarily theirs in any relationship and interaction.

To think that foreigners have Rwanda’s and the Rwandan people’s (best) interests at heart more than Rwandans; suggests Rwandans are incapable of self-determination.

There’s something fundamentally flawed in a mindset of those in power, in Rwanda, to think that foreigners – foreign mercenary experts – can and will speak and advocate for Rwanda and its interests better than Rwandans; wherever they are. You can hire as many extortionate foreign mercenary experts on this or that aspect, such as foreign PR agencies and other so-called communications ‘experts‘ to do a PR campaign on your behalf; but the reality is that the best spokespeople for any country, are essentially and always its people.

Why? This is as obvious and straightforward as black and white; it’s a no brainer: because the people – any country’s people – call them ‘nationals/citizens’, have a strong connection, historical and otherwise, to the[ir] country. They mostly have a deeper understanding of it, its sociocultural, economic and political matters than [most] foreigners can possibly claim. It’s in their DNA and the connection is deeper and, without a doubt, genuine and not based on some quid pro quo relationship as that with foreign mercenary ‘experts‘ preferred and hired to speak and advocate for Rwanda – on behalf of Rwanda and Rwandans – especially by those in power.

Rwandans of all persuasions, socially, politically and otherwise, are genuinely concerned and interested in what happens in Rwanda, wherever they are and whatever they may be. They are genuinely concerned and interested in matters of national affairs and governance; because they ultimately have skin in the game. This should be obvious: no foreign mercenary ‘expert‘, however professionally brilliant they really are or pretend to be, can speak and advocate for a country, a people, articulate its issues, people’s lived experiences with passion more than its people. This can’t be emphasised enough!

It is needless to mention that the relationship with Rwanda, between foreign mercenary ‘experts‘, no matter how much they’re paid; and its own people – Rwandans, wherever they are, is incomparably different. When people speak for their country, (from) wherever they are and on whatever the subject; they speak with passion and genuine concern, for obvious reasons. Whereas foreign mercenary ‘experts‘ will speak in relation to how much they’re paid to speak and it’s always devoid of passion.

To underestimate the voice, the capacity and the determination of someone to speak for his/her country; in preference for foreign mercenary expertise; or worse, to underestimate someone’s voice and capacity to express concerns about his/her country, is an act of political immaturity. To think that foreigners have Rwanda’s and the Rwandan people’s (best) interests at heart more than Rwandans; suggests Rwandans are not only incapable of loving themselves but are also incapable of knowing what is and isn’t good for them. In other words, they’re incapable of self-determination.

Similarly, and on that basis, to further think that foreigners can and will develop the country and its economy and not Rwandans; or to attempt, whether through/by policy (mechanism) or otherwise, to develop the national economy for foreigners and not Rwandans – a national economy that does not cater to the capacity of nationals and therefore systematically excludes them in preference for foreign capacity; is simply self-delusion.

The national economy should primarily be in the interests of and thus benefit Rwandans as it might benefit foreign interests. But, more importantly, not to the detriment, or indeed, systematic exclusion of nationals through economic policies that clearly favour foreign interests in form of ‘foreign investment‘ more than they favour nationals with similar if not the same or more investment interests.

A national investment policy that neither recognises nor respects nationals – the national/local business community – as investors in their own (national) economy; but favours, prefers and cajoles ‘foreign investors’ – who are vultures seeking for opportunities – with generous incentive schemes that cannot be equally extended to national/local business people, who are the local investors with more skin in the game in national matters and affairs; is not and cannot be pro-sustainable national development.

It’s national political hypocrisy to pretend to be interested in and therefore spend national resources attracting ‘foreign investors’, handing them national resources for free in form of generous incentive schemes, while not supporting or in some cases, wilfully destroying local investors, i.e, the local business community who have more stake in national life than ‘foreign investors’ whose primary and perhaps, if not almost certainly, only interest is maximisation of profit at the minimum cost possible.

Until we learn to recognise and respect our own people, their effort – our collective contribution; we’re only lying to ourselves to think that we can simply swing our national doors open to foreign investors to bring in their resources and develop our country for us. They’re vultures coming to feast on us; and we’re welcoming them with open doors!

There is no enemy in politics; only competing and divergent interests.

Ultimately, there is no enemy in politics; only competing and divergent interests. When interests converge; it’s no surprise, therefore, that once seemingly political enemies coalesce and work together for their common interests. It is obvious that politics is purely about interests; it’s a means to an end and not by any means, an end in itself.

It is also evident that temporary hostility is one such many means that constitute politics as a major means. Permanent political hostility is the reviled antithesis. But what’s also obvious and true about politics as a means [to an end]; it’s a means without boundaries and without exceptions. It’s a means of and with all means!

Why, then, on an individual level; should (we), non-political people, naturally with individual interests; be so obtuse as to create an environment with irreconcilable competing interests and differences, moreover, accept to be irreconcilable enemies with each other? Why don’t we learn from politics that uses us, how it works to align to achieve its common interests; and use politics as a means and political strategies and tactics to achieve our individual aspirations and interests?

What does it serve to be so radical in our convictions, aspirations and interests as to be deplorably blind to how those with competing and different convictions, aspirations and interests are, in fact, our best allies; and how that dynamic helps to validate our purpose in that regard?

I play no enemy politics but I also recognise and understand the reality of politics; the reality is that politics is a means to an end. I also recognise that, if politics is merely a means to an end; then there are strategies and tactics by and through which such means is applied; hostility is one such tactics. Hostility is a tactic in politics; not a strategy, but it wears off and/or it could be misused.

It’s my responsibility to use and apply my mind and judgement to assess whether or not hostility is the only and best means that can serve interests; especially by asking, whose interests? Outsourcing hostility seems both preferred strategy and tactic for and by many with the means to hire hostility conduits while projecting a false image of neutrality; or worse, pretending to be concerned with the hostility.

This is how the politics of “make my enemies, your enemies by any and all means” is played out; especially by those with political power and means. They hire other people to “hate” on their behalf those they, for reasons they don’t communicate and aren’t willing to make public, deem as “enemies” but want to project as a common “enemy“; an “enemy” to many and therefore a threat to collective interests; and not their own interests; interests of the few.

African dictators are created by and within the socioeconomic and political circumstances (conditions) they consciously create

African dictators are created by and within the socioeconomic and political circumstances (conditions) they consciously create in their determined pursuit for power. They are created and aided by men and women of good character, of conscience but who have consciously elected to suspend their critical faculties and sign a pact with dictatorship. These men and women of good character have consciously chosen to suspend their critical faculties, to desecrate their conscience and find comfort in the warm bosom of the dictatorship they aid and consciously create.

If it’s of any consequence, although not surprising; these men and women of good character who have consciously elected to suspend their critical faculties to violate their conscience, so to create and aid a dictatorship; are often relatively well ‘educated’ and diversely informed.

While African dictators are or may be single-mindedly determined in their pursuit for power and therefore find and think it appropriate to keep their foot on the necks of their people; they obviously do so with the help and use of State machinery, State resources and their facilitators: those who ‘hero-ise’ and venerate them as ‘heroes’; defer to the them as ‘excellencies’ and ‘honourables’. There’s nothing excellent or honourable about killing your own people for power.

The colonialists killed Africans who were courageous enough to dare resist colonial brutality; and they became and were heroes in the eyes of their own people. Because they were killing Africans who, in their eyes, were savage creatures standing in their way of life. It made sense to the colonialists to eliminate the Africans; after all, they were not their own; not theirs.

Judging by their actions and brutality, African dictators seem to be unencumbered by the thought of the consequences of their choices, decisions and actions. That is, if indeed they ever at all entertain such thought.

What’s surprising is that the ‘educated’ and diversely informed men and women of good character who aid and create these dictators have chosen and decided not to learn from world history littered with tales and examples of dictatorships and their eventual demise. What happens thereafter, especially to those who ran (administered), worked for and/or directly or indirectly were involved with dictatorships.

They’ve decided to suspend their critical faculties and consciously chosen not to learn, for instance, from Nazi Germany and what eventually befell the Nazi regime members and operatives everywhere, all-over the world; or indeed, from previous African dictators and their enablers.

It seems, these relatively ‘educated’ and diversely informed men and women of good character who choose to suspend their critical faculties to create and aid dictatorships; have equally consciously chosen not to think of their relations, lives and legacies in a post-dictatorship world. Or they perhaps do seriously reflect on and think about their choices and actions; try to imagine how their lives would possibly be like once and if the dictatorship they’ve aided to create eventually falls, and are too uncertain and insecure about their prospects in a post-dictatorship world. And that, therefore, may well motivate them to stick with – and explains why  they decide to keep aiding dictators to their eventual downfall; ultimately going down badly with them.

However, this points to one thing about history and people, particularly the human mind. Contrary to the saying that “history repeats itself“; it is men and women of good character who have chosen to suspend their critical faculties and desecrate their conscience; who, in the prevailing circumstances and conditions they’ve largely created – directly or indirectly aided to create, repeat history.

History is made by people; and it is therefore people who (will) repeat history by repeating events of history. If ever history is repeated; it’s because men and women of good character, of conscience have consciously worked and continue to work to repeat events of the past, or events indistinguishably similar to those attributed to the past, and therefore history. That is why – and how – there’s a continuous vicious cycle of dictatorships in Africa.

The perpetuation of African dictatorship and the African dictator

Recent and still ongoing mightily bloody conflicts in Ethiopia, the bloody battles on the streets of Uganda in the wake of the periodic but predictably fraudulent presidential confirmation, misnommered, ‘election‘ campaigns; the bloody social (popular) resistance and decampaigning against police brutality in Nigeria before; the ‘genocidal’ massacres in Cameroon and other similar atrocities, whether stealth and hidden away from broadcast or public view across the continent; all point to one thing: determined dictatorship.

The current crop of African dictators are determined; they aren’t ready and willing to let go. Not without giving a hard and bloody fight to those who are equally determined to dislodge them from power by any and all means necessary and available, although extremely limited compared to the abundant State means and machinery available to the dictators in power.

While the current crop of African dictators can be blamed for all their transgressions, political and others; and their obvious determination to put their foot down and press on, crush anyone and anything that dares get in their way to life presidency and other mischief; it’s not by their own effort alone. They have conscious facilitators, supporters and not to forget they have privileged open and unfettered access to State machinery (government and its power and other means) and the treasuries. Unlike those who are decidedly determined to fight and end their dictatorship and impunity.

These dictators are, by themselves alone, not as powerful as they appear to be. They are mere individuals and as weak as everyone else, individually. They are made powerful by those who, for their own opportunistic agenda, facilitate, support and lend them their resources and energies. They are made powerful by those who accept and take commands from them; execute their commands accordingly without critical analysis of the intention and objectives, the possible short and long-term consequences – on both them individually, their target victims and on society in general – of executing such commands from a mere mortal, as vulnerable as all of us.

These dictators are not born; they are made and defended by people who are invested in and profit immensely from their dictatorship. A political dictatorship is a consciously coordinated and collaborative, heavily resource-dependent project (agenda). A political dictatorship is not a single individual’s project; although the individual must be in full and strict charge and control of the project, oversee and closely coordinate its operations because, and as such, the individual benefits more and ensures his protection.

Note, I deliberately refrained from using ‘his or her‘, because African political dictators have so far been predominantly male. African political dictatorship has, historically, been a predominantly male turf; hence why I wrote ‘his protection‘ and not ‘his or her‘ protection.

I have written and argued before, that one of the various ways to consider, to at least minimise the possibilities of political dictatorships cropping up in Africa; it is imperative to examine the concept of political power in Africa; particularly its colonial root and influence. This is not, however, an attempt to excuse African dictators and justify their dictatorship. Far from it! It is merely to suggest that African dictatorship has strong roots – or is deeply rooted – in colonial attitudes to power by Africans in power and those who have ambitions for and seek to acquire power.

It is important to observe that, the power structures and instruments of power in Africa are all colonial structures and instruments of power; they were inherited from colonialism (colonial powers). These inherited colonial power structures and instruments of power were never designed to work for Africans. But rather, they were designed to work – and worked – against Africans using Africans in the service of colonial regimes and wider colonial interests both in Africa and outside; mainly colonial Europe.

Equally imperative, is to consider the attitudes to power, particularly the socioeconomic backgrounds of those who have power ambitions and seek to acquire power. Because these factors have a significant influence on their behaviour once in power and with access to State means. Too often, they get accustomed to State power and State privileges that accompany it such as State luxury. Many, due to their impoverished backgrounds, use State power and positions to engage in primitive accumulation of wealth motivated by what appears as the urge and attempt to compensate for their past socioeconomic deprivations.

They become terribly grabby, like starving vultures at a butchery undergoing a thorough cleaning. Often that inevitably involves committing all manner of mischief, including potential crimes.

Reflecting on that, and realising the implications of their behaviour, especially what it might mean to them personally once out of power; and without guaranteed protection against the vengeful behaviour of their successors, sensing possible danger ahead and waiting for them; it becomes necessary for them to use State power to defend not only their ill-gotten accumulated wealth by defending their positions in power, but also to maintain power.