We should not sit and watch as our resources are stolen with impunity by our leaders and their loyalists. Resources in our countries must benefit all of us. The ballot box democracy has become cosmetic as elections are characterized by vote rigging, ballot stuffing, and intimidation which in most cases, always favors the incumbent leaders.
Elections in Africa have failed to address the fundamental problems like rising food prices, rising poverty levels, rising levels of un employment and environmental degradation that our people are facing. Mind you that, these problems are due to the corrupt and dictatorial leadership that is in place in our countries. Africans must demand for democracy that is beyond the ballot box but addresses economic well being.
Ninety-nine per cent of Africa’s countries are being led transactional leaders who are interested in fulfilling their selfish personal ambitions of accumulating more wealth and maintaining grip on power. Consequently, corruption in our countries is skyrocketing. Uganda alone has since 2005, been loosing more than $300 millions through corruption and procurement malpractices, Equatorial Guinea more than $800 millions, Nigeria, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola among others have lost and are loosing millions of money to corruption. As this happens, most of our people lack access to clean water, education, good health facilities and electrical power among others.
Our leaders break the will of the masses, silence their political opponents, threaten media outlets and allow loyalists to steal public resources as they wish as long as it helps them to continue staying in power. We citizens must all reject all this dictatorial practices.
As the recent non-violent demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt which led to the ousting of former presidents Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak from power demonstrate, it is possible to uproot dictatorship from our countries. There is no formidable weapon as the people’s will. Whoever is leading us must prove to us that he/she is a true democrat, transformative and visionary and must exercise the level of accountability and transparency to we, the citizens.
If people like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and others did not rise to fight apartheid administrative system in South Africa, the black South Africans would today be slaves in their own country. They sacrificed all they could, for the future South Africans to enjoy and at the end of the day, apartheid was uprooted from South Africa. In democratic republic of Congo, the late president Laurent Kabila together with others had to rise up to uproot corrupt and extravagance leadership of then president, the late Mobutu Seseko and at the end of the day, they defeated him. In Mozambique, Samora Machel and others, resisted the bad leadership of the Portuguese and at the end of the day, they triumphed. This should encourage all of us, to always demand for better governance from our leaders.
In sum, we African citizenry, must all rise up and say no to dictatorship in our countries. It should be a duty for all of us, to ensure that our countries, are led by transformative and visionary leaders, who are truly democratic and accountable, to we citizens as regards to how our national resources and other public affairs are managed in addition to practically operationalisig the above sacred values.
By Moses Hategeka
A Ugandan based independent governance researcher, public affairs analyst and writer.