Friday, May 02, 2008

Welcome winds of change across the dark continent
BY BASHIR GOTH (Inside Africa
FROM Darfur to Zimbabwe and from Somalia to the Great Lakes, there is a new wind of change blowing over Africa. Looking at the map of the continent, one may conclude that Africa is destined to bleed.

If not by foreign powers pillaging its wealth and robbing its future workforce, it is home grown tyrants that suck its blood and derive pleasure in teasing the hungry populace with the bare bones. If not by natural disasters, it is by inter-clan fratricides stoked by power thirsty sycophants and clans fighting over meagre resources.

Yes, it is a continent whose own leaders turn into its tormentors. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is one of a long line of African dictators who refused to leave power until they saw their countries turn to ashes. Among them were Siyad Barre of Somalia, Mubuto Sese Seko of Zaire, Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, and Jean-B├ędel Bokassa of the Central African, Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia and others.

These dictators have been removed in violent revolutions. Not revolutions based on noble ideologies and mesmerising slogans, but revolutions built on years of hunger, dashed dreams, prolonged frustrations and people deprived of every shred of a decent life.

As soon as the euphoria of independence ended, the African masses realised how they traded a foreign occupier with a less urbane and more ruthless native occupier. But most of the continent’s people had to wait another generation to find the right atmosphere to stage another struggle of liberation; this time not against a white coloniser but a brutal local squatter cloaked in a hero’s uniform.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, African dictators have lost their benefactors of the Cold War and the continent was destined for a new wind of change. Inspired by the people’s revolt against the communist tyrants in Eastern Europe and empowered by the freedom ushered in by globalisation and the Internet, the African people moved to reclaim their due rights for a decent living.

Like all dictators in history, it was only through force that African dictators who drew their staying power from the Cold War and ran their countries through repressive regimes based on a policy of divide and rule, favouritism and massive corruption could have been removed from power.

READ MORE in Khaleej Times

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