Democracy, Western Deception and the African Buffoons

By Paul Japheth Sunwabe

The Perspective
April 6, 2001

The bipolar international political system promptly ended in the 1990s, thus setting the stage for a new international political system with new sets of demands: democracy, freedom of the press, freedom of expression and economic reforms. Since then, democracy continues to develop in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin; South and Center America. The rejuvenated political leadership of Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America with vibrant political oppositions, and viable political institutions are turning past economic failures into success. And, true to their commitments, the World's wealthiest nations are rewarding these regions with sustainable investment and economic assistance. Meanwhile, democratic and economic reforms are stagnant, or nonexistence on the African Continent.

Much to the chagrin of the beleaguered African population, the promised economic reforms of the 1990s continue to elude the continent while the surge in despotism, corruption, military vandalism and civil wars continue unabated. Civil wars and the evanescent presence of political oppositions and democratic institutions have made the continent unattractive to potential investors, prompting the Economist Magazine to call Africa the" lost continent." Although Africa's social, political and economic problems are immense, it is not a lost continent. But, it is fair to say that, the solutions to Africa's problems are long term, thus incisive leadership with the right implements and resolve are needed to strategize and extricate the continent from political conundrum. However, to do that, democratization which is the catalyst of political and economic reforms need to be taken seriously.

Having said that, true democracy, as we know it, is yet to become a reality in Africa. On the eve of his ascendancy to the Zambian Presidency, Fredrick Chiluba summed Africa's quest for participator democracy in these words," In Africa today, the era of dictators, of hypocrisy and lies is over In this present crisis, government alone is not the solution to our problems" (Africa Betrayed 1992 p. 362). One would expect President Chiluba to live up to, and honor the above statement in the discharge of his duty. However, the opposite of the above utterance is the sad reality of Chiluba's Zambia. His cabinet is filled with drug dealers, gangsters and men with questionable credentials. President Chiluba's son, Castro Chiluba continues to flog innocent Zambians, assault police officers, and intimidate women and rape girls. Yet, there has been no indictment against Castro despite wide spread public outcry for justice. In Zambia, the elite is above the law and egalitarianism is almost nonexistence. It is the poor, the peasants and political activists that are incarcerated for minor crimes and offenses.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, and other Western Capitals, the corridors of foreign policy departments are lit with the success of Chiluba's democracy to the consternation of his victims. Millions of dollars are pouring into the country to buttress democracy. Thanks to the (Almighty God), the US State Department and the Rev Jesse Jackson, democracy is thriving in Chiluba's Zambia, and the results are astounding: thievery, corruption, assassination, rape, a bifurcated system of justice and political witch hunting.

While the spineless dictators of Africa, and in the name of democracy brutalize our people, the West is bent on placating and rewarding one African dictator after the other. Yoweri Museveni, who is not only showered with Western accolades, but is, deemed the father of the "African Renaissance" has, taken advantage of Western gullibility to insulate himself and stymie all democratic reforms in Uganda. He has ushered into place a strange and psychologically demented political philosophy latent with militarism known as "The Movement". Under his self-driven political philosophy, opposition political gathering is limited to five persons, and a political party (no parties exist under "The Movement") can not challenge President Museveni in a presidential election. The system has kept President Museveni and his cohorts in power for 14 years, and with Western military and monetary backings. But, let us put the Western icon for political renewal and democracy in Africa to the test: On January 30th 1990, members of the "African Press Corps" asked visiting former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda at a press conference in Kampala about allegation of his country's clandestine ties to racist South Africa, and his son's alleged execution of a young lover. An enraged President Museveni bluntly told the press that such questions derided a visiting head of state. According to New Africa, three journalists were arrested, detained and charged with the Museveni invented crime of "defaming a foreign dignitary" (Africa Betrayed p; 214). You see, true democracy entails freedom of the press, the right to gather freely and subscribe to any form of political ideology so long the latter does not endanger the safety of the society or nation. In Africa, however, freedom of expression means prompt incarceration. Should we venerate the likes of Museveni, Rwalings, Taylor and Obasanjo? The West tells us to, but we know better than to jump on the bandwagon of Western imposed democracy. It is no democracy, but totalitarianism in disguise, and it subjugates and dehumanizes the sovereign people of Africa.

At a press conference with visiting US President Clinton in March 1998, President Museveni again warned the "African Press Corp" to resist the temptation to ask the American President about an apology for slavery. Secretly, his elite Presidential Guards threatened retribution, and the 'African Press Corp" was mute. The majority of Ugandans allegedly approved a recent referendum on his political ideology, "The Movement". But several observers and Western journalists judged the process coercive, fraudulent and highly suspect (BBC News). What have we learned from the likes of Mobutu, Samuel Doe and other Western backed nefarious rascals? Over time, they outlive their usefulness, become paranoid and eventually the states they preside over collapse, resulting in humanitarian catastrophe of incalculable proportions. Note that the fall of a Western supported dictator is synchronous with the exit of the latter (America abandoned Samuel Doe and Mobutu when the "craven African beasts" needed Washington the most). But, it took five hundred million dollars in US military aid (the highest in South Sahara Africa 1980-1990) to maintain Samuel Doe's regime, while Doe cemented the seas of discords in Liberia. Later, when the Liberian Civil War erupted, not only was Doe killed, but 250.000 innocent Liberians lost their lives while the country's economy and limited infrastructure were either destroyed, or looted by the Nigerian led West African Peacekeeping Force/ECOMOG (The Perspective Magazine July 2000). There is very little distinction between Mobutu, Doe and the US backed Museveni regime of Uganda. How many more blood baths can one continent absorbs before the world's wealthiest nations can end all supports to autocrats?

Decrying continued Western financial aid to the so-called democratic governments of Africa; Kenya's David Karanja summed it succinctly "Foreign aid has done more harm to Africa than we care to admit. It has led to a situation where Africa has failed to set its own pace and direction of development free of external interference. Today, Africa's development plans are drawn thousands of miles away in the corridors of the IMF and World Bank" (West African, Jun, p. 20). Pundits who are millions of miles away from the African continent, and lack basic understanding of the intricacies of African society continue to tell the sovereign people of Africa, where, how and what development should mean. If this is not imperialism, than I do not know what it is? Western military or financial aid to despotic African leaders has always impacted the lives of the Africans. Dr. Patrick Seyon a former Vice President of the University of Liberia entreated Washington to end aid to Samuel Doe in these words "this money enabled Doe to oppress, suppress and repress the people so that they are denied their fundamental rights" (Africa Betrayed p; 345). This is precisely what Western aid does on the African continent: it insulates tyrants, allows corruption to thrive unabated, strangulate justice and compound the misery of our people.

Democracy is about people and the African people are speaking up against the idealistically bankrupt, vacuous, lackluster and "Cassava root head" dictators of Africa. It is no doubt that our people and our generation have no faith in the current leadership of Africa. Africans do not hold the West responsible for all that have gone wrong in Africa, but Africans are fed up with Western support for crackpot dictators like Jerry John Rwalings of Ghana, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and social degenerate like Obasanjo of Nigeria who not only subscribe to "bastard Christianity," but uses the latter as an implement to circumvent previous misdeeds. Let us listen to what an African chief had to say about these charlatans: "We have two problems: rats and the government" (Africa Betrayed p 306). Can somebody in the US Department of State, the IMF, the World Bank and the British Foreign Office listen to the voice of this peasant? Mr. Mohamed Boudiaf an Algerian put it this way, "A large segment of the population has, I am afraid, lost confidence in the capacity of the leadership to provide jobs, housing, health care and its ability to combat corruption" (Financial Times, Jun 17, 1992 p. 4). The African regimes the West is doting on are, according to the courageous voices of Africa, the "cancer" that is annihilating Africa. The remedy is simple and very inexpensive too: the prompt abolishment of aid to African despots, and the inclusion of all segments of the African society in the debate on the future of the continent.

Folks, since the advent of the new international order, nothing positive has happened on the African Continent. Gangsters, erudite crooks, buffoons, men of base characters and criminals have hijacked our struggle for democracy and justice. They are bent on espousing specious policies with the express intent of siphoning billions of African taxpayer dollars to their Swiss and American bank accounts. We should not stand by idly while these kleptocrates loot our natural wealth, and plunge the unborn generation of Africans into debts of unredeemable proportions. If we were inclined to relent, they would remain profligate, and their crass attitudes will continue to decimate millions of Africans. It is not within the power of any Western nations to cultivate policy for Africa, transform African economies, and democratize Africa. However, Africans are saying that they are fed up with Western lies, gimmicks and the immoral policies that bolster tyranny in Africa. To those opposed to the abolishment of Western aid to African despots, particularly the "Congressional Black Caucus," it is about time that you dropped your provincial views. Aid has become a major part of the African problem rather than its solution. To the many sons and daughters of the oppressed African people let me say this: with time, we will gain the crescendo, march to victory, and deliver our people from the hands of the black demons of Africa. Let the struggle continue!

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