Wednesday, 11 July 2012

African History...African History...African History...

“It was often said that, because of the internal tensions and rivalries afflicting most African states, only strong government could provide the stability they needed to develop and prosper. Yet in practice, strong governments of the kind employed in Africa – whether personal dictatorships or one-party systems – rarely ensured either political stability or effective administration.

Once in power, African leaders became preoccupied with staying in power, employing whatever means were necessary. Much depended on their ability to operate patrimonial systems that kept key supporters loyal to them.

Political activity was reduced to ‘palace politics’, an arena for ruling elites to manoeuvre for their own interests. Rival factions competed for ascendancy. Conspiracies and plots proliferated. The common aim was to gain political office and the power and patronage that went with it.

Fanon observed: ‘The men at the head of affairs spent two-thirds of their time in watching the approaches and trying to anticipate the dangers which threaten them, and the remaining one-third of their time in working for their country.’ Ministers were regularly rotated and reshuffled to keep them off-balance and to prevent them from becoming a threat.”

The State of Africa – Martin Meredith

If you read this extract from Meredith’s eye-opening book, you might think that he’s talking about the ANC... But this section of the book is about the countries in Africa who gained independence in the 60’s. Most of them ended up in tatters after coups, dictatorships and civil wars.

South Africa is no different. The ANC is just another African liberation party.

The recent spate of power struggles in the ANC is just one more symptom of the African liberation party cancer that ruined the rest of Africa after independence.

Most people say: “Well, why doesn’t Julius Malema just start his own party?” I’ll tell you why. Because it’s a very dark and lonely place to be if you’re not part of the ruling party. There ain’t no lucrative tenders, 24/7 body guards, blue light brigades and R40 million parties.

And you can’t claim the struggle as your own. You can’t ride the Madiba – Robben Island wave.

That is why I have so much respect for people like Lekota and Holomisa who actually broke away from the ANC, even though it probably meant a huge pay cut.

People should understand that Madiba wasn’t the first engineered African – messiah, even though he may be the last. Ghana’s first black leader, Kwame Nkrumah was also hailed as the saviour of Africa.

History repeats itself, my friends. And the biggest mistake any of us can make is to think that South Africa is immune to the rot that followed independence in the rest of Africa.

Nobody in the ANC struggled for their people. They struggled to get into government and into power. They wanted a piece of the cake.

By the way, don’t you just love how the ANC has started calling these egotistical struggle-reminder farces of theirs ‘LECTURES’?

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