By Arnold Bhebhe

George Orwell’s satire “Animal Farm” cannot be more apt for the political circus that has been unravelling in Africa since McMillan’s famous “Winds of change”. The euphoria of self-governance and determination has in many cases been whittled away soon after independence owing to avarice, ineptitude, nepotism, mis-governance and sheer nefariousness of its leadership which hitherto has been masquerading as Messiah’s of its people. In other words, the general populace has been left in the gutter and yearning for the good-bad colonial days in which despite anything, was assured of another day. Yet, on the other hand, that leadership, in its egocentric and self-seeking iniquity has been ravenously devouring the national cake without contrition or shame. When the trodden and starving populace becomes restive, that leadership is quick to hoodwink them by passing the bucket to colonists and neo-colonists; and when that fails, will use trickery or brute force to quell dissent.

In many instances, trickery has involved: tempering with constitutions tailoring them to suit the whims of the leadership and never the needs of the people; imposition of strange philosophies or ideologies in the name of uplifting the masses [whereas in reality -their impoverishment]; gerrymandering when coming to delimitation exercises; blatant bribery; hollow promises, divisive and nepotistic ploys all with the purpose of self entrenchment.

For purposes of illustration, I have chosen to centre this argument on a handful African states namely Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. These countries do not only share borders, but also at one time or another, the same maladies of maladministration, politically bankrupt ideologies,economic mismanagement and resultantly, a frightening decline of living standards of their people, all because of a leadership bereft of tenets of governance and accountability.

At the start of the twentieth century, if you spent an extraordinarily excessive amount of time stating how brilliant you were, you would simply have been dismissed as simply being arrogant and a bit bigheaded. Now, it may be possible that you are suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We have all heard the stories of First World War soldiers being court martialed and executed by firing squad for supposed cowardice, when in reality the intensity of fighting and the stress it brought led them to suffer from shell shock, now thought to be a subset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Depressive people were simply told to pull themselves together.