Oct 28, 2009, 5:40 PM
The defiance of
Some of the tactics of the strongmen are bizarre: constitutions are tempered with to enable an incumbent leader to rule without any term limit; the legislature is packed with stooges and bootlickers who bend themselves over backwards to legitimize damnable ambitions of an incumbent. In countries such as
There is much that is wrong with leadership on the continent. When state resources are plundered with reckless abandon by the very people who are entrusted with their management, a country sinks: infrastructure decays and social and economic obligations are left unattended to. As a result, poverty takes centre stage. When leaders are richer than their countries, that is no good governance; it is executive daylight robbery. In such a situation, the people are left to fight over the crumbs that fall off a leader's table. This has given rise to sycophancy as a survival strategy in many an African country.
The antidote, as we see it, is that good governance remains the best policy for the continent. In this context, leaders have to be faithful to their electoral promises and keep faith with the people from whom they derive their mandate. They have to govern transparently without recourse to brute force when they are called upon to give account of their stewardship. They have to manage state resources for the benefit of everyone, without enriching themselves and their allies at the expense of the masses. It is only in
Despite the gloom that has enveloped much of the continent, we are ever so optimistic that the African people will transcend this sad phase of their development.
"Good government could never be a substitute for government by the people themselves".
Sir Bannerman Campbell