Saturday January 18 2014

Leaders must serve, not rule or dictate

Last year, while in Kenya, a renowned Nigerian pastor, TD Joshua, prophesied that one of the East African presidents would be kidnapped and killed by terrorists in the foreseeable future. Although this prophesy has not come to pass, its pronouncement was met with a lot of enthusiasm and anxiety. During the popular insurrections of peoples’ power to oust leaders in North African countries in 2011, surprisingly, the first victim the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarack, had just won a land slide election of more than 80 per cent, despite this, he was removed and is now facing prosecution.

These and many more incidents point to one thing that political leaders unlike monarchs, impose themselves on citizens through state managed elections. Leaders, especially African leaders do not serve their citizens as servants but simply cling to power putting themselves next to God, unleashing state military, to brutally oppress the citizens, gagging all would be alternative options from the opposition.

Several governments have mastered these tactics with Uganda taking a classic example through enacting legislations like the 2005 lifting of presidential term limits thus effectively perpetuating the present government in power. Enabling it to take its game a notch higher by enacting the Public Order and Management Act which police is applying to selectively bar expression of free opposition opinions.

Arguably, all hope is not lost. There are a few exemplary good African leaders such as the iconic African leader Nelson Mandela. He relinquished power just after a record five year term. Tanzania has exhibited frequent changes of regime through free and fair elections. No wonder their country despite being among the East African block, has been free from political turmoil that has bedeviled Kenya after the 2007 elections, Rwanda for the world record 1994 genocide, Uganda for the several violent changes of regimes coupled with the 21 year northern Uganda insurgency, Democratic republic of Congo for the several upheavals that the country has witnessed which have on several occasions sucked in neighbours Uganda and Rwanda with skirmishes of the two in Kisangani.

We hope that other African leaders can borrow a leaf from Tanzania so that they serve their citizens as servants but not oppressors living in opulence while their country men are wallowing in abject poverty, infested with avoidable diseases like jiggers, lacking education, good health, passable pothole-free road net works, high levels of unemployment and unwarranted incarceration. It is only then that we shall have a world free from political injustices and oppression.

Chris. M. Kato,