Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No room for autocrats in the World after the overthrow of Mubarak

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo
New Jersey, USA
The recent overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt should be a wake up call for dictatorial regimes in the world to open freedom doors for their people.
Coming few weeks after the Tunisian dictator Zine El A. Ben Ali was deposed through mass resistance without gun power, it opens a new chapter for the people’s quest for freedom. Bringing down the two dictators was a great show of resiliency and determination from the Tunisian and Egyptian people.
All world tyrants should remember that their days are numbered. They should move helter skelter to embrace freedom and justice to their people. If the Egyptian people can topple a dictator who ruled them with an iron fist for 30 years through peaceful protests in a span of 18 days, nothing will stop the Iranians, Zimbabweans, and North Koreans from realizing the same aspiration.
The Middle East will never be the same again. The wind of change, which first started in Tunisia and then to Egypt has now moved to: Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, and Iran. It’s also likely to spread to other dictatorial regimes in the region like: Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Libya and Syria.
In the home front, our leaders should take a cue from the Middle East events. Nothing will stop Kenyans from rising up to demand for their rights especially when the gap between the rich and the poor keeps getting wide and wider. The rich have continued to a mass wealth when many Kenyans in the Country are eating herbs like antelopes while others are dying with their animals.

The wind of change in the Middle East should catalyse our leadership to liquidate impunity, fight graft and address historical injustices to pave the way for an equitable and just society for al Kenyans. If a bloodless revolution happened in Egypt and Tunisia, the same can happen in Yemen, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Iran or even Kenya.
We may enjoy freedom as a nation but economic disparity will compel us to revolt against the current leadership whose interest is the retention of power, which was the genesis of post election skirmishes of 2008. In fact, if President Kibaki had followed fair play during the electioneering period and after, we would not be experiencing the current level of ethnic disharmony.

On the other hand, if President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe would have said enough was enough and hand over power to Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe will be in a fair political footing.

I fail to understand why tyrants don’t care about their own future, families and legacy. I also wonder why a person who has enjoyed power, fame, huge emoluments, and respect will wait to be hounded from office and be forced to exile. Does it mean tyrants are only smart in consolidating power rather than pursuing a popular path, which is in tandem with the people’s aspirations? Why can’t they read the public mood?

I’m sure Hosni Mubarak and his closest associates, friends, and family may have seen an impending revolution from the people but ignored it.

From the late Adolf Hitler of Germany, and Benito Mussolini of Italy, dictators always end tragically. In Africa, former Ugandan dictator Idi Amini, and Mobutu Seseko of Zaire fled to exile and it’s so shameful that their remains were never interred in the Countries they once ruled.
Another tragic example is that of the late Slobodan Milosevic who after being indicted for war crimes, died in a prison cell in The Hague, while former Iraq strongman Sadam Hussein was put on the hangman’s noose for committing crimes against his own people.
It’s true Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If Hosni Mubarak had relinquished power a year a go, he would have suffered less humiliation to save his face. At least the World would have appreciated the fact that despite being a cruel dictator, he held Egypt together; making it the second American ally in the Middle East after Israel.

Good leadership is all about lifting people through sharing their predicaments and aspirations to achieve their destiny. It is rare to find a replica of Nelson Mandela; the epitome of selflessness, reconciliation and forgiveness in the World today.

Mandela may have not been perfect but leading South Africa for one term and voluntarily relinquishing power was phenomenal. Not many leaders will do what he did, even in Western democracies. The question is: shall the World ever produce another Mandela without a trace of dictatorship?

Finally, I do believe that our current leaders have learned a lesson after the overthrow of two dictators in the Middle East in a months’ span. I also believe that they are ready to effectively fight graft, impunity, tribalism and respect constitutional provisions. Time will tell but Kenyan people are very impatient.
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