Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dictators don't know when it's time up

Published in The Standard, 13 March 2011 13:49

With the billions of dollars stashed away in foreign accounts by the erstwhile dictators in the north, one wonders what the situation is like south of the Sahara.
Recently we have heard reports in the local media that one Zimbabwean cabinet minister has properties in every municipality and is amassing more.

When dictators are in power their fortunes seem to be a private affair but as soon as they are out of power it becomes public knowledge. Is this the reason why dictators do not want to relinquish power? It also seems they do not believe that they are dictators until the very day they are forced to run away. It would not be surprising that some of them could even face their deathbeds believing they were right.

Such is the nature of dictatorships. They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Who then can teach our dear leaders when it is enough? Muammar Gaddafi has been in power for over 40 years and he still thinks he has the mandate to rule Libya. Hosni Mubarak was in power for 30 years and wanted to add a few more months until September 2011 to vacate office.

The problem may not lie squarely with dictators. We who are ruled by these autocratic regimes do not aspire to be rulers one day.

Who said only one person is destined to lead? Even those people in the same party should try to bring sense to a dear leader that leadership must change hands. The eventual dictator begins in his/her own party and is allowed to get away with it.

Is it then that dictators are not born but we allow them to flourish? When all is said and done we are all to blame because we tend to tolerate dictatorial tendencies and before we know it, this cancer destroys the freedoms of all in the nation.

Those who benefit are also under dictatorship because they do not have a say in how things are run.

These are the people who would soon say, “What could we have done? We also did not want the system but it was so overwhelming.”

Hangers-on just as guilty as dictators they prop

Hangers-on are the most dangerous because they survive by exaggerating their support for the dictator.

They do so because they want to be seen to be more loyal than everyone else.
The result is that the dictators would never learn their mistakes because of the overzealous support they get from those who were erstwhile-enemies-turnedfriends.

Who then should tell dictators that enough is enough? Should they only be ousted by people power? Surely something has to be done for we all learn from our mistakes.

There should be men and women on the side of a dictator who should dare take the bull by the horns. History has it that those who dared make that mistake got the wrath of it. But they have been remembered even in their graves.

In our land we have the likes of Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi, Chaminuka and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo etc who dared challenge the status quo. Some were killed but others survived and to this day they are fondly remembered for declaring that enough was enough. If dictators do not know when it is time up let us tell them. The question is: who will bell the cat?

—Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

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