Fear is not an option
Pharaohs believed in life after death, and made sure to bankrupt Egypt before they died, to ensure a good life in the afterlife. They spent their rule building their graves – the Pyramids, looted all the treasures of the land, captured all the savants, and locked them away in their graves; hoping to transfer them to their next life – if there was any. By the time a Pharaoh was gone, Egypt was bankrupt, daft and its manpower exhausted.
The difference between developed and developing countries, as I have worked it out for myself, is the capacity of the former to dissociate feelings and wishes, with foresight and decision. It is their capacity to act in a dispassionate, ice-cold state of mind when making plans for their future.
Now that’s for the difference. The tragedy of us Africans, is to act out of crisis. We have not had an opportunity to debate for hours, parlay, philosophy, go in circles, just for the sake of it. We are always conditioned to respond to a pressing existential matter; ‘The thinking has been made for you’ they tell us, ‘just implement!’ ‘This has been tested in Germany, it is safe, you can apply it’. ‘This is the White man’s God, he must be good for you too; worship him!’ When we start thinking for ourselves, seeking for ourselves, they call that primitive, backward, barbaric and blasphemy. They create chaos in our midst, to distract us from reaching our own truth.
It was already in the 18th century that a British king ordered that nothing was to be exported out of Great Britain without being transformed. A bold and painful decision to make at the time, but what an inspired foresight? – Which our neighbours the Congolese should learn from, in 2015; if they were not scared to think and act for themselves…
The world puts us Africans in fear, desperation and hopelessness first, then shows us short time gains; quick wins: ‘You are not ready to govern yourselves’, they said to us. ‘A black man left on his own will be lost; he needs guidance from us, his God chosen prophets.’ They preach… Every now and then, they feed that fear to keep us in line, lest we try to think.
Sadly, this has become our second nature; that of a hopeless people, a fearful one – to our demise.
Back in school when I asked old professors of political science, why they didn’t make the United States of Africa upon independence, they all said to me: ‘it could have been worse’. We have since had endless wars and a Genocide, but they still believed it could have been worse. Who thinks like that?!
With that in mind, lets go back to our so-called term limits debate. I find it quiet remarkable that other names have not been put in the hat yet. If Kagame leaves, our elite tells us, it will be the end of us. To him they say; if you leave, it will be the end of you!
Now it is possible – or not, that it will be the end of us. That chaos will be the order of the day in Rwanda. It is also possible that France and the rest of Kagame’s enemies will go out to get him, issuing all sorts of arrest warrants – as I am sure some of his advisors can’t stop reminding him. But if we even allow ourselves to premise the debate on the future of our nation on those assertions, it means that we are not free, both in our thinking and debating. It means between hope and fear, we have chosen fear; it means our enemies have already won
That is what defines us black people in a nutshell: Fear. Our leaders are so fearful of their legacy, that they attempt to govern for life, and even after they are dead, by appointing their children, brothers, etc. In Uganda, they first removed term limits thinking that that was the solution. Now they want to remove age limit. What’s the next thing? To remove life-limit, and allow Museveni to govern from his grave?
This may sound facetious, but I am not joking: what makes the strength of monarchies and other systems that are entrenched in time, such as Communist China, is their predictability. There is no crisis, there is no accident; there are no wannabes. It’s all planned and set, decades, generations ahead: who will be their next leader. Now compare that with our neighboring Burundi: No one wants Nkurunziza, but no one quiet knows who to replace him with. Him on the other hand is so paranoid about his future that all he wants is to cling on to save his life…
Back to Rwanda: out of fear, no one has even dared ask painful questions like: what if our president dies of natural death tomorrow? Again from a dispassionate, ice-cold position: What is our contingency plan?
Arabs have understood that. They have decided life in fear is not worth living. They have decided to follow their own prophet, worship their own God, live their own ways and decide on their own death, until the day that they will find true freedom. Are they on to something? I do not know, all I know is that we aught to free ourselves from fear.
With our term limit debates we can choose to go down the fear route, or we can choose to be aspirational. Act out of hope and prospect. Lets expand our thinking, widen our horizons, let’s not do zero politics, zero thinking…
To be continued…
Posted 20th April