They start out as heroes, men who claim to be fighting for the rights of the people. Candidates who promise you the freedom and vision of a promised land made new. Then their hands grip onto the immense power, that can allow them to fulfil their wishes to the people and it freezes their hearts, makes them deaf to the pleas of the people who put them in power. We feel humiliated, hurt and betrayed.
History knows these men, these dictators who spill the blood of a nation so that they can keep their power. Men like Charles Taylor, Liberia’s 22nd president who served from the year 1997 to 2003, who prior to becoming President was the leader of a rebel group called the National Patriotic Front of Liberia. Then he got into power and was later accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for being a war time criminal who committed several atrocities against humanity as he was involved in the decade long civil war in Sierra Leone, enlisting children under the age of 15 into armed forces.
Men like General Sani Abacha of Nigeria, who declared his government to be above the law and ruled his nation with an iron fist and was involved in the 1995 killing of political and environmental activist, Ken Saro Wiwa. These men, among others, were known as the worst Dictators of Africa and lest we forget, Mr Robert Mugabe, who rose to power in 1980 and has dominated Zimbabwean politics since his election. From violent land seizures, persecution of homosexuals, massive rates of unemployment and reducing what was once the bread basket of Africa into a basket case.
Michael “King Cobra” Chilufya Sata is coming close to being ranked with these men, ever since he became the 5th President of Zambia; he has been arrested for making false declaration of his assets, has a tendency to insult and publicly shame citizens as well as members of parliament and his son has threatened to kill journalists and has them beaten.
These Wolves in Sheep’s clothing, history will remember them, for it’s the people that suffer while the wolves in government pocket their money and lavish themselves in gifts.
It comes as no surprise that these examples of what the abuse of power can do to countries, has South Africa in an uproar over corruption claims in and amongst the ruling party. What we should do is learn from the mistakes of others and remind our leaders that with great power comes great responsibility, not to lining their own pockets but to addressing the needs of the nation.