#Article (Archive)

Power belongs to the people!

Aug 25, 2011, 2:31 PM

The recent developments in the Arab world and Libya, in particular, are a clear indication that power indeed belongs to the people.

We hope that this truth will finally dawn on all who wise; that these developments serve as an eye opener to all those African leaders who think they have power, when in actual fact real power definitely resides in the will of people.

The greatest mistake most African dictators make these days is that they tend to run the state like their personal property.

Yet, it is clear that the practice of true democracy, that is, government of the people, by the people and for the people, should be the guiding principle of all African leaders who want to live in peace.

Our argument is that no matter how good a leader might claim to be, come the day your people say they do not need you anymore, you should be prepared to leave honorably, as Thabo Mbeki did in South Africa.

The humiliation faced by the former Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo, and challenges facing the embattled Libyan leader, for example, should be food for thought for all serving leaders in the continent today.

No matter a leader’s good intentions for his or her country, one must never ignore the tenets of good governance, including doing things according to internationally recommended best practices in the management of a modern democratic state.

This also means that a good leader must show humility, and cannot be seen to behave as if he or she is a master.

This is fundamental, since as a leader, one must be sensitive to the needs and aspirations of all citizens, and be respectful in one’s tone, especially when talking to the people.

Actually, it is evident that the bellicose statements made by the leaders in Libya, have come to haunt them, since the threats utterred provided the excuse for the world to claim to be intervening to protect Libyan civilians from their rulers.

In any case, what is happening in North Africa today shows that a leader who thinks he is all-powerful, and can lord it over his people, treating them like vermin and seizing their rights, is making a big mistake, and should learn from the fate of other dictators.

Moreover, what happened in Ivory Coast, Egypt and now Libya and is a clear indication that no leader can stand against the will of the international community, and survive.

African leaders should be prepared to quietly step down; not hang on and overstay their welcome, especially when people start demanding that they go, otherwise they run the risk of facing a humiliating exit, including court trials or worst.

Thus, we hope that they will learn useful lessons from current events unfolding in the north of Africa, and make amends in the way they govern the nations God has entrusted to their care just for a time.

The bottomline is that people need freedom, and want to be treated with respect and compassion.

It is clear, therefore, that any leader who cares less about these basic human needs will surely live to regret his actions and utterances.

“Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just.”

 Blaise Pascal