Former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Picture: REUTERS
Former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Picture: REUTERS

Most of Africa’s problems today can be traced back to the continent’s leadership. A recent study by Cambridge University confirmed this view, concluding that social relations are a major factor in keeping this continent poor.

Three examples underline this point. Jose dos Santos was in power in Angola when oil (its primary export commodity) touched $150 a barrel. He is today living in a luxury villa overlooking the Mediterranean, while regularly visiting his doctor in Portugal. What was his biggest contribution to Angola’s development when presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take his country forward? He turned his son and daughter into Africa’s youngest billionaires.

In the east, Robert “Zimbabwe is mine” Mugabe died last year with a personal fortune of $10m, yet his country exists only in name today. During his reign his family members regularly enjoyed their life in SA, and when he felt ill Singapore was his preferred destination for medical attention.

Finally, SA’s financial health when Jacob Zuma and his looters took over is well documented, yet he proceeded to hand over the wealth of our country to an Indian family, who in return created billionaires in the Zuma family. When Zuma apparently fell ill during  his corruption trial, he sought medical assistance in Cuba.

All three African leaders were presented with exceptional opportunities to take their people forward. Alas, they could not look further than their political parties, families and friends. The really disconcerting factor is that there are so many carbon copies of the above-mentioned leaders in SA today who disguise themselves in revolutionary talk and gear. They enjoy the fruits of capitalism while preaching the utopia of socialism to their followers.

Derek Abrahams
Via e-mail

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