Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Real Role of Leaders

The real role of leaders.

Is it not interesting that whilst Safia "the Roman", Amina Lawal, Bariya Mazagu and many more yet to come face torture or even death a la sharia in Northern Nigeria for no crimes committed, Mohammed Abacha, son of the late Sani Abacha is granted bail after having been charged in court on 101 counts of corruption and theft? Yet Gen. Obasanjo maintains a deafening silence over both cases? What is the reason behind this "silence means consent"? It is that leaders are by necessity selfish and hypocritical? He is dumb in the face of religious barbarism because he fears to lose support from the Muslim north with elections around the corner. He is also blind to the release on bail of a convicted criminal obviously because the bail case happens to coincide with his visit to Kano, the hometown of the Abachas and any comments might worsen his electoral chances in an already strong opposition city.

Nepad –The clash of the Titans

If money is the root of all evil then so is the multi-billion dollar African economic renaissance package called Nepad. Whereas Abdoulie Wade, Thabo Mbeki and Obasanjo are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to secure funds for Nepad, others like Yahya Jammeh of Gambia are ridiculing the project. New African of September 2002 reports that Jammeh has dismissed Nepad as something that "will never work. You come up with a programme and depend on nothing but begging. I, Jammeh, will Not kneel down before any man and beg. I will only kneel before God" Every African leader, in fact, kneels before the almighty World Bank and the IMF! Charity begins at home, it seems. Billions of dollars begged will first have to satisfy the immediate families of Wade, Mbeki and Obasanjo before any left over (if there’ll be any) can trickle down to the families of the likes of Jammeh. That is genuine leadership in a money-based world!

The State

On whose side is the state?
Nowhere has the state ever been neutral. On the contrary it always works in the interests of the haves and against the have-nots. In February this year Trevor Manuel, the South African Minister of Finance, in his budget statement, announced a large surplus of a quarter of a trillion rand. So who gained from the windfall? The government cut taxes by significant margins, such that the rich got the top marginal rate of 42% of earnings cut to 40%. But a huge clamor for a basic income grant of 100 randfor all citizens fell on deaf ears. Instead, 2.5 billion rand was set aside for the hiring of more policemen on the beat; some 16000 rand to keep the coercive state machinery well lubricated
Later in July when municipal workers in Johannesburg went on strike, the police were unleashed on them for daring to ask for better conditions of service.

Fooling the people

The western powers divided Africa into small units for the sole purpose of pillaging the resources of their colonies. Today, African leaders are talking about uniting the continent as a means of redressing the sorry state in which it finds itself. But in practice they are fighting tooth and nail to maintain the artificial borders as the colonialists demarcated them. And the reason? Like the colonialists before them, they have a firm grip over the resources of their fiefdoms and the wealth created is for their own personal use. Barely a week after the birth of their AU in Durban, South Africa, and Wade of Senegal openly expresses his preference for money over people. Gambian private and commercial vehicles were barred from crossing into Senegal because of a misunderstanding over taxes. Even the Gambian Foreign Minister, who was on his way to Mauretania on an international assignment, was turned back at the border by Senegalese authorities. (The Independent Friday 19-21 July 2002)

Leaders or criminals?

The leaders of the world’s most powerful nations, the G8, gathered in Canada for their annual summit a few months ago. The two-day meeting was held in the small mountain resort of Kananarkis. They were guarded by thousands of police within a twenty-mile security zone and there was only a single road leading into the resort with 16 checkpoints. (BBC June 2002). Why should leaders be treated like prisoners or they really are criminals?


Madagascar was excluded from the AU meeting in South Africa as the Central Organ of the OAU ironically recognized neither of the two contestants to the presidency. The leader of the CO is none other than A. Wade of Senegal, who was the same man who brokered a peace plan (in his Dakar ) which agreed on a recount of the ballot and who said that whoever emerged winner was the legitimate choice of the people. It was done and Marc R. got the people’s mandate. So how come Wade led his gang of kingmakers to ostracize Madagascar? How reliable are these leaders?

From African Socialist No1

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