LETTER: Some African leaders cling to power

Contrary to what our beloved African states’ leaders preach, it is unclear why some of them are still in power.

Perhaps the fact that they always mention why they liberated their nation(s) makes sense.

By that I mean they fought some of the battles to empower themselves and their families. I could mention a few.

It puzzles me how they defend their authoritarian regimes in the name of protecting their citizens against the West.

But, it should be noted that it is these African leaders who in most cases go back to their former masters and beg for foreign aid.

We have more than 50 states in Africa, which believe they are capable of resolving their affairs without the interference of the West. Oh, well, let’s say that we “need” or they need the assistance of the West, but what about the consequences of keeping relations with the Western superpowers? Our African leaders have become a burden. The continent is faced with multiple challenges, some of which are the result of leaders who choose to remain in power for more than 15 years. Surely, this is not what they “fought” for. I want us to imagine a United States of Africa. Under the current circumstances, it might seem far-fetched but there’s potential.

We have allowed ourselves to succumb to such behaviour by our leaders. Africa was once a united continent. Do we remember where comrades from South Africa went to?

There’s political legitimacy and there’s democracy.

Perhaps leaders have a totally different view or interpretation of these terms.

Also, there’s another relevant term, which I believe most African leaders prefer to use, sovereignty. There is a link between these terms. My definition of political legitimacy resides in the hands of the governing party/government. The government therefore imposes and enforces laws.

Because it is law, the citizens must abide by it. Can we say that our continent’s leaders confuse political legitimacy with power?

Does it ever occur to some of them what could happen in the near future if they continue to treat presidential seats as their family businesses?

Well, of course the argument might be: what about Queen Elizabeth? It should be noted Queen Elizabeth rules as a monarch.

As Africans, we need to review our understanding of the terms democracy and legitimacy. The continent needs to even look at the effectiveness of the African Union.

African nations should put their differences aside and find a common goal, and that is to empower and grow our continent. Yes, it might take another century, but there’s potential.

A potential only when the old regimes step down (but we know they won’t), without any chaotic democratic transitions.

Our people are being murdered for defying the rulers’ authority.

If our leaders claim to defend their people from the influence of the West, then African leaders should start by focusing more on transparency leadership.

The killing of innocent civilians must be condemned. The more they kill, the more they create rifts between them and their people (citizens).

Our people can no longer be blinded by the political history of African liberation movements.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1970 published a book titled Class Struggle in Africa and I took one quote from the book: “The basis of a revolution is created when the organic structure and conditions within a given society have aroused mass content and mass desire for positive action to change or to transform that society”.

Z Nduna, masters in comparative education student at Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua City, China

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