BARNEY MTHOMBOTHI: We need to talk frankly about Africa's rotten leaders from Angola to Zuma
'If the devil had gone out looking for someone to mess up the continent's chances to succeed, he couldn't have done any better than choosing African politicians'
When freedom finally arrives, we hand over the mantle to them, our selfless liberators. We have so much trust in them — why shouldn't we? — we hand everything to them, with little or no checks and balances. We give them all the power. We trust them too much to care what will happen. They'll take care of it, of everything. We hope. Then we sit back and relax. The job is done.
And with our future at their mercy, they go about destroying it. This has been the story of Africa. Country after country, the story, the tragedy, repeats itself. We never learn. Too much power in the hands of megalomaniacs, and unaccountable ones at that, is a recipe for disaster. And African leaders are always ready with a scapegoat.
We are shamed and embarrassed because these horrors and wars are done in our name and — initially at least — with our consent. But we're reluctant to condemn them because doing so would betray the revolution or give succour to the enemy. We pretend not to see.
Africa is let down by its politicians. They've been an obstacle to its people's progress. Whichever way one looks, whichever problem one may think of, whichever boulder or ditch that's ever been a bar to its advancement, the politicians have in the main been responsible for it. They are the authors of our misfortune. If the devil had gone out looking for someone to mess up the continent's chances to succeed, he couldn't have done any better than choosing African politicians. They've been a complete and utter letdown. The good ones, those genuinely dedicated to the betterment of their people, have proved to be an exception.And those of a left-wing bent, the so-called revolutionaries, who passionately advocate the cause of the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised, have turned out to be the worst — Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Angola's José Eduardo dos Santos come to mind. They plunder their countries' resources for their personal benefit, they oppress the very people they've "li...