When it so appears that those we have elevated amongst us seem to be taking us towards a deep end where none would appear to return; when those we elevated amongst us have conspicuously gone astray; when the actions of thug leaders point to ‘every man for himself and God for the rest of us’; it is, thus, the responsibility of the thinking, not only to warn society but also to provide clarity on the chaos and possible problems.
This is a duty that a political columnist, such as myself, must never escape. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the Socialist President of Tanzania, was very clear on this and provided direction in his book Ujamaa – Essays on Socialism. He lucidly asserted that “our first step, therefore, must be to re-educate ourselves; to regain our former attitude of mind. In our traditional African society, we were individuals within a community. We took care of the community and the community took care of us. We neither needed nor wished to exploit our fellow men.”
The ignorant and the dwarfs may quickly forget the chaos delivered by stomach politician. From GIPF robbery to those eating at dumpsites, directionless and revolutionary deficit and much chaos as I had explained, in this space, in the column articles titled “Scandalous politics of my nation” and “Do you identify with Hypocrites?” And others.
The message is made clear that we are not to question leadership. A friend once told me of a story that happened at a political rally. There was a ‘Mr. Politician’ before the masses; he spoke with a lot of energy, addressing the hungry masses about how the Government has done and is doing good. Before he could finish his speech, he called upon a woman with a six month old baby, to come onto the stage. Excited the woman was; not for anything but for being the ‘chosen one’ by he who possesses power. He asked, using the Mic, the name of the woman and that of her child’s. He then proceeded to a million dollar question; “How old is the baby?”, “Six months” she replied. “Was the baby born walking or doing wonders?” he continued probing the wretched woman. Obviously the answer would be a ‘no’ and ‘no’ was the answer she gave. “Thank you very much”, he told the woman as she exited the stage. ‘
Mr. Politician’ then used that woman and her child to illustrate the state of the Government and his message was clear to the masses; just like the little baby is very young and cannot do wonders, so is the Government. If this is not the line used, then you’ll hear others like “Rome was not built in one day”, as if we are Italians (Nonsense!). This is how our people are manipulated (Sad!).
We are not supposed to, according to ‘Mr. Politician’; speak about our condition for he freed us from the Boers. Think about it this way; it is like an abused wife, beaten and disabled by her abusive husband. She cannot report the fool to the police, because the beast bettered her life when she used to live in poverty of the worst kind. Our Independence glory has been stolen by politicians who use it to psychologically “white-mail” society into accepting the status quo, like it is done to the poor wife. The short sighted fail to observe that, not wanting us to discuss our terrible condition, because of the victory over Apartheid and colonialism is the assassination of the future of our children and that of our State.
Let us, therefore, briefly look at what is wrong with the character of our politicians. Our politicians behave as if they are choir conductors. Indeed, they lead society like choir conductors. A choir conductor is understood to be the most knowledgeable, in singing, in his musical group. He is aware of this status and behaves as such. He stands before his musical group and dictates direction. At the movement of his right hand, the lips of those at the side of his hand start vibrating getting ready to release melody. The conductor possesses tremendous power over the musical group. At the indication of his hand, the musical group will, as a matter of seconds, shut up. In observing our politics, we see politicians wishing to assume the role, in our politics, of a choir conductor.
At the moment, they appear to be achieving their dream of being choir conductors. We see them parroting as the knowledgeable amongst us, albeit reality, dictating otherwise. Due to the highest level of ignorance, politicians scored themselves crowds whose lips vibrate and release fitting melody at the indication of his hand. Those who bother to interrogate the lyrics of the song, needing our vibration, as propagated by the ‘conductor politician’, score themselves a ticket of unemployment in the State.
They soon get ‘baptised’ as reactionaries. The political conductor despises those not abiding to the indication of his musical hands; this message is repeated by the water boys and water girls of the political conductor who behave like the appointed successor of the choir conductor when the latter has to go to the toilet.
Our politics and public life is, thus reduced to the theatre instead of a platform for emancipator politics. How we recover from such chaos is what we must think about as we move into 2012. We would also reminisce on Thomas Sankara’s words when he asserted that, “You cannot carry out a fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from non-conformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formula, the courage to invent the future. It took the mad men of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those mad men… We must dare to invent the future.”
Our revolutionary, Sam Nujoma, had stated once that, “What our people want is to be involved in the decision-making process and to actively participate in decisions, which will ultimately affect them... They then will take ownership of these decisions and ensure that they are successfully implemented.”
Tell that to conductor politicians.
Till second Half – Hear and be heard.