Even the best dancer eventually leaves the dance floor, a certain African saying goes. But this is one thing that African dictators don’t seem to put into their minds.
When you cling to power and choose dictatorship as your way of operation, like Amin, the world forgets all the good things you have done, all the achievements you have made,years later are swept under the carpet over shadowed by the bad. I am very sure Amin did the most good as a president but all that comes in the minds of both the foreigners and nationals are the bad things he did. We celebrated Janan Luwum day just two days before the Uganda election, one wonders if a few decades from that day, a public holiday will be declared in remembrance of the occurrences taking place, from the tangent in which things are going in Uganda.
Legacy is much more important than power because it lives beyond your existence. But power is so addictive and blinding that in the minds of dictators, this seems to be a foreign concept. The greatest form of respect is accorded to someone who wins a long fought for prize and is later noble enough not to feel entitled to it, because it was just a cause. Mandela will never die, decades after being laid in his grave.
When African leaders cling to power, they focus on the end not the means which makes them punctuate their activities with impunity, they seem like a woman too desperate to save a failing marriage that she ends up looking for the proverbial Lions whisker. They risk having a blurred vision as to whether the country is their back yard or just their household and think it’s within their discretion where to place a flower pot or where to plant a tree. They feel they are the country, and the country is them and they are doing a huge favor to the country.
Yet decades later, all that they would have accumulated wouldn’t matter and the bad legacy left behind would work against the grand children and children they thought they were working for. No foundation can be set up in the names of Amin and Gaddafi, just the way we have The Mandela Foundation; something that keeps the legacy a burning flame. When you look at the families of Gaddafi and Amin now, I doubt that where they may be is where their fathers wanted them to be, but this is something African dictators seem not to look at.
Uganda had an election and it was humbling to see that former presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Rupiah Banda and Olusegun Obasanjo came to be part of the election observation. These are presidents that would take advantage of the weak constitutions that most African countries have. They were potential dictators and they could have chosen to stay in power until their sight gets the better of them and their lungs can’t do their jobs any more.
The question still stays; why don’t we as Africans learn from the fallen dictators!