AFRICANS ARE WEEDING OUT ARCHETYPAL DICTATORS

By Dictor Dhieu

Leadership acquisition in Africa has been characterized by violence (riots and protests), coup d’états and dictatorship. Many scholars worldwide haggle that democracy is not an African ideology, and in fact they’ve been proven right as these ‘misleaders’ laud themselves with pseudonyms like ‘God’s chosen leaders’, ‘presidents for life’, ‘pakalast’, ‘African only hope’, ‘the country’s god’ etc.
In the past, Africans were ruled through conquest and monarchy system- this they overthrew through the rise of charismatic leaders who established unshakeable unified kingdoms. The Shakas, Kabalegas, Nyikangs, Mirambos, Muteesas of that ancient world clear out doubts.
Another successive self-imposed government, colonialism took over the mandate and ruled the African continent for over 149 years (The Berlin conference of 1845 to the independence of South Africa in 1994). Emperor Haile sounded the drumbeat of challenging colonialism. Nkrumah, Abboud, Nyerere, Obote, Jomo, Sankara, Lumumba, Nelson surfaced from their hiding holes and vociferously followed suit of demanding for African freedom. Thanks to their audacity, they won.
However, another ‘broods of snakes’ took over from the paths of pan-Africanists. This time, Africans chose a wrong path. The African worst leaders; Amin of Uganda, Barre of Somalia, Seseko of Zaire, Nimeiry of Sudan. Africans are ‘pragmatic people’; they rose against these devils and were victorious.
Well, there are other few who have stubbornly clung onto power. A demanding continent, the voices of Africans who are dissatisfied with their governments is being heeded. A whirlwind of surprises has grabbed headlines lately. Within this year alone, three African dictators have been ousted through international pressure or forced resignation. The trumpet of toppling dictators was blown in Chad, continues to echo in Africa in which it recently reached Harare, Zimbabwe.
Here is the list of dictators toppled from 1990-2017;
Hissene Habre (Chad) who seized power in 1982 from Gouddei Ouddei. His eight year reign being characterized by violation of human rights, mass killings forced Deby’s backed rebel movement to topple him in 1990.
Sana Abacha (Nigeria) rose to power in 1993 by sacking the interim president appointed after the annulment of 1993 elections. A ‘no-nonsense’ type of a ruler, he butchered political opponents, used the oil-wealth to construct affluent presidential palace. In his reign, it was reported 3/5 children died of starvation, rampant human right abuses such as the public hanging of the political activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. The wailings of these marginalized people didn’t go unnoticed, and in 1998, he died of obscure reasons in his presidential palace. His death was a veritable feast.
Hasting Kamuzu Banda (Malawi) led since 1961 when Malawi attained her independence till 1993 when he was flown to South Africa for an emergency brain surgery. In 1994, Bakuli Muluzi, his erstwhile political protégé took over in his absentia after the elections he had earlier postponed were held. He never returned to Malawi as a president.
Mobutu Seseko (Zaire), a military officer, rose to power in the Congo by displacing the populist left-leaning leader Patrice Lumumba. Mobutu swallowed all his country’s politics, building a highly centralized state in which power radiated from his presidential palace. Myriad reports of abuses of human rights and violations forced his armies commanded by Laurent Kabila to unseat him in 1997. He left the country and died of prostate cancer in Morocco.
Charles Taylor (Liberia), one who regarded himself ‘Tyrant of death’ took over the presidential office in august 1997. Due to poor governance, torture of political opposition, violation of human rights, he was forced to resign in 2003 by international community. Recently, he faced trials in which he was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Gnassingbe Eyadema (Togo) staged a military coup in 1967 against the incumbent president, a man he had helped bring to power. He only organized elections in 1998, but later canceled it in the name of ‘national security interest’ when he discovered that he was losing. In 2005, he died of heart attack. Though he was replaced by his son, Faure, many took to the streets in celebrating his death.
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Tunisia) took over power in 1987 through a bloodless coup, a month he was appointed the prime minister. His forced resignation in Jan 2011 came due to massive protests initiated by one Muslim martyr who set himself ablaze. He was convicted of crime against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Hosni Mubarak (Egypt), a former commander of the Egyptian Air Force, ascended to the presidency in 1981 after the assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat. Though Mubarak won four national elections during his presidency, he permitted only rival candidates in the 2005 election, and even then, observers decried voting irregularities. But in Feb, 2011, an estimate of 850 Egyptians sacrificed themselves. It was a brave, peaceful show of dissent — weeks of protests — that finally removed the Egyptian President from power. He faces trials in Egyptian court.
Gaddafi Muammar (Libya) seized power in 1969 in a bloodless military coup. Gaddafi allowed only a small group- particularly his family members to participate in the running of the government. On top of that, he eliminated the parliament, political parties, unions and NGOs. Spurred by the Arab Spring that had successfully toppled the governments of Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans took to the streets singing, “Enough is enough. We demand for democracy”. Gaddafi lashed back with unprecedented violence against his own people. A group of Libyans formed a rebel movement; won support from the NATO forces which began airstrike on 19 March. After battling for six months, the backed rebel forces claimed Tripoli but could only breathe a sigh of relief after killing the ‘king of Africa’ in his home town, Sirte.
Yahya Jammeh (Gambia), a renowned anti-gay activist and self-proclaimed HIV apothecary, rose to power in 1994 through a bloodless military coup. He held elections always rigged in his favour. Albeit on his last attempt, the electoral body acted independently and stridently announced that the Gambians overwhelmingly voted for Adama Barrow. Initially, he conceded the defeat, but later changed his mind for a re-run after annulling the results claiming they were rigged. Gambians took to the streets, and finally he left the country with 50 million USD due to pressure by African Union, ECOWAS and UN.
Jose Eduardo Dos Santos (Angola) the father of the richest African woman, Isabel, rose to power in 1979. In his governance, he deferred elections for three terms and the three he organized were rigged in his favour. He squandered the country’s wealth into his personal pockets. The spirits of the ancestors coaxed him to organize elections in August this year, in which he acted as a neutral figure, there after handing over the mantle.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe (Zimbabwe), famously known as uncle Bob, became the ruler in 1980 when Zimbabwe attained independence from the colonialists. He ruled as a prime minister until in 1987 when he usurped all the powers as president. His reign has seen the devaluation of the currency only to be solved through the use of foreign currencies, unemployment. His exit came after firing the vice president, Emerson and hoping to replace him with his wife Grace Mugabe. The military interfered in the party politics and threatened the mzee. Alas and alack, he announced his resignation in a letter. An “epoch” as the Zimbabweans call it. Celebrations kicked off!
Africa has come a long way and continues to overcome setbacks and rewrite her history.Africans are weeding out archetypal dictators
Leadership acquisition in Africa has been characterized by violence (riots and protests), coup d’états and dictatorship. Many scholars worldwide haggle that democracy is not an African ideology, and in fact they’ve been proven right as these ‘misleaders’ laud themselves with pseudonyms like ‘God’s chosen leaders’, ‘presidents for life’, ‘pakalast’, ‘African only hope’, ‘the country’s god’ etc.
In the past, Africans were ruled through conquest and monarchy system- this they overthrew through the rise of charismatic leaders who established unshakeable unified kingdoms. The Shakas, Kabalegas, Nyikangs, Mirambos, Muteesas of that ancient world clear out doubts.
Another successive self-imposed government, colonialism took over the mandate and ruled the African continent for over 149 years (The Berlin conference of 1845 to the independence of South Africa in 1994). Emperor Haile sounded the drumbeat of challenging colonialism. Nkrumah, Abboud, Nyerere, Obote, Jomo, Sankara, Lumumba, Nelson surfaced from their hiding holes and vociferously followed suit of demanding for African freedom. Thanks to their audacity, they won.
However, another ‘broods of snakes’ took over from the paths of pan-Africanists. This time, Africans chose a wrong path. The African worst leaders; Amin of Uganda, Barre of Somalia, Seseko of Zaire, Nimeiry of Sudan. Africans are ‘pragmatic people’; they rose against these devils and were victorious.
Well, there are other few who have stubbornly clung onto power. A demanding continent, the voices of Africans who are dissatisfied with their governments is being heeded. A whirlwind of surprises has grabbed headlines lately. Within this year alone, three African dictators have been ousted through international pressure or forced resignation. The trumpet of toppling dictators was blown in Chad, continues to echo in Africa in which it recently reached Harare, Zimbabwe.
Here is the list of dictators toppled from 1990-2017;
Hissene Habre (Chad) who seized power in 1982 from Gouddei Ouddei. His eight year reign being characterized by violation of human rights, mass killings forced Deby’s backed rebel movement to topple him in 1990.
Sana Abacha (Nigeria) rose to power in 1993 by sacking the interim president appointed after the annulment of 1993 elections. A ‘no-nonsense’ type of a ruler, he butchered political opponents, used the oil-wealth to construct affluent presidential palace. In his reign, it was reported 3/5 children died of starvation, rampant human right abuses such as the public hanging of the political activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. The wailings of these marginalized people didn’t go unnoticed, and in 1998, he died of obscure reasons in his presidential palace. His death was a veritable feast.
Hasting Kamuzu Banda (Malawi) led since 1961 when Malawi attained her independence till 1993 when he was flown to South Africa for an emergency brain surgery. In 1994, Bakuli Muluzi, his erstwhile political protégé took over in his absentia after the elections he had earlier postponed were held. He never returned to Malawi as a president.
Mobutu Seseko (Zaire), a military officer, rose to power in the Congo by displacing the populist left-leaning leader Patrice Lumumba. Mobutu swallowed all his country’s politics, building a highly centralized state in which power radiated from his presidential palace. Myriad reports of abuses of human rights and violations forced his armies commanded by Laurent Kabila to unseat him in 1997. He left the country and died of prostate cancer in Morocco.
Charles Taylor (Liberia), one who regarded himself ‘Tyrant of death’ took over the presidential office in august 1997. Due to poor governance, torture of political opposition, violation of human rights, he was forced to resign in 2003 by international community. Recently, he faced trials in which he was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Gnassingbe Eyadema (Togo) staged a military coup in 1967 against the incumbent president, a man he had helped bring to power. He only organized elections in 1998, but later canceled it in the name of ‘national security interest’ when he discovered that he was losing. In 2005, he died of heart attack. Though he was replaced by his son, Faure, many took to the streets in celebrating his death.
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Tunisia) took over power in 1987 through a bloodless coup, a month he was appointed the prime minister. His forced resignation in Jan 2011 came due to massive protests initiated by one Muslim martyr who set himself ablaze. He was convicted of crime against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Hosni Mubarak (Egypt), a former commander of the Egyptian Air Force, ascended to the presidency in 1981 after the assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat. Though Mubarak won four national elections during his presidency, he permitted only rival candidates in the 2005 election, and even then, observers decried voting irregularities. But in Feb, 2011, an estimate of 850 Egyptians sacrificed themselves. It was a brave, peaceful show of dissent — weeks of protests — that finally removed the Egyptian President from power. He faces trials in Egyptian court.
Gaddafi Muammar (Libya) seized power in 1969 in a bloodless military coup. Gaddafi allowed only a small group- particularly his family members to participate in the running of the government. On top of that, he eliminated the parliament, political parties, unions and NGOs. Spurred by the Arab Spring that had successfully toppled the governments of Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans took to the streets singing, “Enough is enough. We demand for democracy”. Gaddafi lashed back with unprecedented violence against his own people. A group of Libyans formed a rebel movement; won support from the NATO forces which began airstrike on 19 March. After battling for six months, the backed rebel forces claimed Tripoli but could only breathe a sigh of relief after killing the ‘king of Africa’ in his home town, Sirte.
Yahya Jammeh (Gambia), a renowned anti-gay activist and self-proclaimed HIV apothecary, rose to power in 1994 through a bloodless military coup. He held elections always rigged in his favour. Albeit on his last attempt, the electoral body acted independently and stridently announced that the Gambians overwhelmingly voted for Adama Barrow. Initially, he conceded the defeat, but later changed his mind for a re-run after annulling the results claiming they were rigged. Gambians took to the streets, and finally he left the country with 50 million USD due to pressure by African Union, ECOWAS and UN.
Jose Eduardo Dos Santos (Angola) the father of the richest African woman, Isabel, rose to power in 1979. In his governance, he deferred elections for three terms and the three he organized were rigged in his favour. He squandered the country’s wealth into his personal pockets. The spirits of the ancestors coaxed him to organize elections in August this year, in which he acted as a neutral figure, there after handing over the mantle.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe (Zimbabwe), famously known as uncle Bob, became the ruler in 1980 when Zimbabwe attained independence from the colonialists. He ruled as a prime minister until in 1987 when he usurped all the powers as president. His reign has seen the devaluation of the currency only to be solved through the use of foreign currencies, unemployment. His exit came after firing the vice president, Emerson and hoping to replace him with his wife Grace Mugabe. The military interfered in the party politics and threatened the mzee. Alas and alack, he announced his resignation in a letter. An “epoch” as the Zimbabweans call it. Celebrations kicked off!
Africa has come a long way and continues to overcome setbacks and rewrite her history.

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