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.

Political deception by the instrument of constitution.

Constitutions in African countries, like all other [political] power instruments such as the government, the military and the police, are a colonial instrument of power, through and through; but the least understood by the public. In fact, constitutions in African countries serve more to cause the sort of political constipation (tension) that’s common across the continent whenever matters of constitutional goal post moving(changes) are mooted to accommodate the desires of those in power than anything else.

This is majorly because, in many African countries, the political chameleon class – politicians – has lied and succeded in getting the public; especially the majority dispossessed, to believe that a constitution is something sacred that must be protected by all means, including dying for, if necessary. And above all, that the constitution is in the interest of the people and it’s there to protect and serve them; and not merely a political weapon for those in power, with the power to manipulate it to their political advantage.

This kind of political deception is made possible because the African political chameleon class coalesce with their ‘educated‘ enablers and hangers-on to conspire against the public and write constitutions that do not serve public interests except lull the public into fairytale illusions. Consequently, and unsurprising, the majority of the public in many African countries put so much, and potentially fatal faith in a document many have likely never read, do not really know and understand its content; but are told and persuaded to believe it’s ‘sacred‘.

No one dares ask: what is sacred about a document written by a handful of individuals who feel highly noble, highly privileged to write guidelines on how society, through a political dispensation, should be governed or ruled and to whose ultimate benefit?

But this is because, a constitution by its origin and nature, is a colonial concept and instrument of [political] power imposed on Africa and therefore, the apparent lack of critical interrogation of its purpose in general affaires of society, let alone political life, from the public is in itself confirmation of how little it is understood although blindly revered by the public. It’s an indictment of the lack of understanding of fundamental colonial political principles and how colonial politics deeply influences politics in post-so-called independent African politics.

However, every action, carries with[in] it, appropriate reaction to it. So it is with political deception by and from the African political chameleon class to their public about the importance, and sacredness of constitutions. Their own lie is exposed and soon comes back to bite them hard in the back; when they, after constantly lying from one end of their politically fattened mouth to the other that they will protect the constitution, to the chagrin of the public, plot and work to desecrate it.

When people who have been sold the lie and persuaded to believe the constitution is inviolable – shocked to see that the same lying political chameleons who sold the them the lie, are indeed, the same people intent on desecrating the constitution – stand up to defend it. It’s at this point the African lying political chameleon class suddenly realise that their political mass deception about the sacred nature and importance of the constitution, is in fact in stark contrast to and works against their constitutional desecration agenda.

If the African lying political chameleon class told the public, who constitute the majority dispossessed, that constitutions are political weapons used to the advantage of those in power; with power to use them in their advantage, and too often against the public – the majority dispossessed – then people would not put so much faith in them. And constitutional desecration by the political chameleons wouldn’t cause the kind of chaos it tends to cause in African countries.

If those who write national constitutes, and are mandated and entrusted with the responsibility to protect them, to ensure they aren’t violated; do not respect them and are the same people who violate them; why should the ordinary people – the public – respect them?

Ultimately, you can’t lie to others without lying to yourself. In the same way you cannot destroy others, without destroying yourself; without planting the seeds of your eventual destruction in the long run.

Foreign investment in Africa is false investment

When foreigners, especially North Americans, Europeans and from Asian countries, whether rich or not, under the guise of ‘business‘ or merely for personal use, buy some property in Africa; that automatically qualifies them to label themselves as foreign ‘investors‘ in Africa. They tell Africans, ‘we’re investors‘; and Africans repeat after them; ‘you’re investors‘. So, the lie is not only sown but, importantly, perpetuated by those who stand to be exploited and victimised by it.

Many pretentious foreign ‘investors‘ in Africa are, in fact, poor economic opportunity seekers – they are economic migrants. For example, the White European community in Africa commonly known as ‘settlers‘, were poor economic migrants who moved to Africa in search of economic opportunities.

When rich, wealthy Africans — who form the African political and business elite — buy high-end real estate, not on mortgages but with cash, in North America, major European cities and Asian capitals mainly as a form of capital flight; they aren’t considered or counted as ‘investors‘. Too often, they are quietly suspected of corruption and spoken about as ‘corrupt Africans‘ or ‘corrupt dictators‘. Although it’s almost always true that most such Africans have either gotten rich and wealthy through corrupt means or are dictators with a monopoly to plunder the resources of their countries.

Put simply, rich, wealthy African investors – with high liquidity – in foreign countries, particularly North America and Europe, are (called) corrupt (rich and wealthy) Africans. When such Africans buy multimillion dollar houses (apartments) in North American cities, major European cities and Asia capitals; they are thought of hiding (their) stolen money.

When poor, economic opportunity seeking foreigners go to Africa; they are welcomed by Africans as ‘foreign investors‘. When poor, economic opportunity seeking foreigners buy a small property (real estate) in African countries; it’s lauded as an ‘investment‘ by both such foreigners and Africans; particularly the African political (government) and business gang who worship foreigners, accord them preferential treatment over their own kind and are too happy to hand them everything and all their valued resources for as little as to make it appear almost as handed out for free.

When rich, wealthy Africans – who are the business but mainly the thieving political class; park their stolen money in foreign bank accounts, mainly in North America, Europe and Asia, helping foreign banks with free cash while receiving nothing in return; they aren’t considered [as] investors. They are told and convinced by such banks that they are doing them a huge favour and they should be happy and count themselves lucky to be allowed the opportunity to access such invaluable service. These African fools nod in gratitude and go back to steal more to stuff away.

The African political and business elite steal and plunder Africa – their respective countries and economies – in the service of (to benefit) foreign economies. While foreigners go to plunder and steal Africa– African countries– to benefit their home economies and build their countries.

The African political so-called ‘elite’ will cry foul and shout “neocolonialism”, “imperialism”; when western powers condemn their political mischief while accepting loans from western financial lending institutions.

When western powers act upon their privileged power to project their noses into the (national) affairs of African countries; the nationally powerful but internationally powerless African political so-called ‘elite‘ make noise about western interference in their affairs. They scream and shout at the top of their voices against what they call ‘neocolonial’ interference and agenda in Africa. They are quick to accuse western powers of ‘imperialist‘, ‘neocolonialist’ or ‘colonialist‘ agenda.

They vehemently condemn western interests in Africa and African (national) affairs as ‘imperialist’, ‘neocolonialist’ or ‘colonialist’. No one denies the fact that there is, indeed, truth in their condemnation of western powers and western interests in Africa. The irony, however, is that the African political so-called ‘elite’ is a bunch of politically lying hypocrites. A bunch of self-serving, greedy and interminably corrupt but devious individuals who ride on the plight of their poor masses, to live their multimillionaire lifestyles.

While the African political so-called ‘elite’ are quick to accuse western powers of ‘imperialist’, ‘neocolonialist’ interference in African affairs; they are too quick and happy to allow western powers, through their financial lending institutions, to load Africa with debt. The self-serving, greedy and corrupt African political so-called ‘elite‘ will not hesitate to coalesce with western powers, in service of western interests in Africa for a few kickbacks, to conspire against Africa and African interests in Africa’s relationship with Western powers.

The African political so-called ‘elite’ will, for example, rarely, if ever at all, condemn mounting foreign debt in Africa as ‘imperialist‘, ‘neocolonialist’ interference and/or agenda; not because they don’t know and/or understand it is: they are well aware of the danger it poses. But largely, their conspicuous and concerted silence – which should amount to treason – is because mounting foreign debt forms and provides a funds chest (an inflow of funds) in which they; using their privileged political and power positions, dip their grabby hands and steal as much as they can get their hands on.

They, using their privileged political and power positions, steal and divert debt funds to their personal foreign (western) bank accounts, and to buy their foreign luxury real estate and other ridiculously expensive foreign luxury goods such as their high-end SUVs and private jets. What’s interesting and sad, however, is that the same individuals will shamelessly claim to be (more) patriotic than their poor masses. They will shamelessly and publicly bang on about national values, make false claims about working in national interests while loading and overburdening their countries with massive foreign debt, a significant chunk of which they will appropriate for personal use while their masses remain poor.

They will have no shame to publicly wax lyrical about and emphasise on the importance of national sovereignty and independence; while their countries and future generations are overburdened with and choking on foreign debt, and the extortionate debt repayments. They will shamelessly preach about national values, the importance of national sovereignty and independence while happily mortgaging the young and future generations for their present multimillionaire opulent lifestyles that do not benefit their own economies but foreign economies.

No wonder they tell and lie to the young; and get them to believe they are the future. The future overburdened by foreign debt that is not used prudently and productively, to develop the young such that they are able and capable of servicing it (foreign debt) in the future; but to largely fund the opulent lifestyles of the present self-serving political ‘elite’.

No country overloaded with foreign debt; with 50% plus of foreign debt to GDP, should ever claim to be sovereign or independent. It’s a colonised country; colonised by the instrument of debt.

CP Scott’s centenary essay: A Hundred Years. What individuals and, collectively, organisations, i.e, management, can learn from it regarding character.

CP Scott’s centenary essay: A Hundred Years, is timeless, powerful, compelling, seductively liberating mentally; or at least, seductively calls and challenges one to seek for mental liberation. It offers valuable lessons on business and organisation management. And above all, it stresses on the importance of character, for instance, how self-respecting individuals in any organisation, irrespective of their station, ought to comport themselves.

Beyond its apparent critical concern on running a newspaper and how to do independent journalism; it’s cross-sectional in terms of its immense relevance to and lessons on business and organisational management. It must be required reading in business courses (studies) and business schools as well as public governance schools and studies, and other forms of social education.

Those who run public (government) and private institutions and other organisations, particularly African governments and other organisations run – rather on personal whims than on public policy and public interest – would benefit greatly from(by) reading this powerful piece on unfettered business and organisational management as well as individual and organisational character building.

It always fills me with great joy rereading it, trying to make sense out of the nonsense – the garbage – spewed out dressed in fancy garbs of officialdom; using unintelligible business jargon to project a superior grasp of the theoretical business and organisational management nonsense they do not understand its origin, let alone remotely understanding its proper application.

Character and integrity.

Character and integrity are critical components to the development of both the individual and organisation. Character and integrity not only make an individual a great person, but it’s what makes and defines a great organisation. Organisational character and integrity are critical factors to the longterm sustainability of any organisation, public or private.

Nothing can compensate for the inadequacy or complete lack of character and integrity, in an individual, demonstrable in the willingness – and possibly desire – to self-dehumanise to appeal to – and appease – the whims and fancies of another exalted individual who equally lacks in character and integrity themselves.

We are faced with a new and enormous power and a growing one. Whither is the young giant tending? What gifts does he bring? How will he exercise his privilege and powers? What influence will he exercise on the minds of men and on our public life?” CP Scott, A Hundred Years.

Without character and integrity, it’s impossible to have a sense of duty to oneself: to live one’s ideals and beliefs. One risks living on others’ whims, being tossed back and forth, left, right and centre, much to their delight than – even as reprehensible but at least – to their service.

To the man, whatever his place on the paper, whether on the editorial, or business, or even what may be regarded as the mechanical side– this also vitally important in its place–nothing should satisfy short of the best, and the best must always seem a little ahead of the actual

It is here that ability counts and that character counts, and it is on these that a newspaper, like every great undertaking, if it is to be worthy of its power and duty, must rely.”  CP Scott, A Hundred Years