Why do ordinary people envy African dictators? Perhaps the fair question should be: do dictators really enjoy being in power? Of course, ordinary people assume that the greatest thing to achieve in this life is becoming the President of a country. Hence, the proclivity to hero-worship dictators, for purposes of receiving crumps. Dictators are actually protected by hopeless individuals, living just for this life.
The considered great leaders in the African continent are easily forgotten, after death. But the new dictators spring up, without learning anything from their predecessors. Where are the once considered great leaders like, Idi Amin of Uganda? Who benefitted from the proceeds of their looting? What about President Mobuto Sseko of Zaire? This includes the Ngwazi of Malawi and the elaborately considered Africanist Muamar Gadhafi, to mention but a few?
Fascism or dictatorship is sanctioned by staunch supporters of dictators. Such supporters are willing to die for the unquantifiable values, as sustained in empty promises. All known fascists simply gather a few criminals around themselves. These are galvanized by the religiously hypnotized people, appearing as possessing religious ideals. Sooner or later more and more people acquiesce to such nefarious endorsement of the dictator, assumed as providing personal security.
Dictators are sustained by a few criminal cohorts in their surroundings. It is, therefore not accurate to always assume that dictators are singularly to blame. Generally, the pattern of fear grips the so-called supporters, which dictators use in managing oppressive strangleholds. The right-hand men, at the disposal of dictators, are known to be so careful, as never to openly oppose dictators.
Clearly, this shows that it cannot be difficult to become a dictator when simply surrounding oneself with the yes-men. This is why, before his death, the late former President Robert Mugabe stated that he could not find anyone to hand power to, among his close supporters. He knew very well that he had surrounded himself with weaklings, unable to stand up for the truth.
Mugabe held truth in that none among his close subordinates was of the leadership material. He knew that their support was only for what they could get from him. The impact of fear gripping his close associates is what sustained his dictatorship. The tremors of fear would then be cascaded to the naïve populace. This is why dictatorships are more in Africa, where authoritarianism is regarded as virtuous.
Fascism is sustained by authoritarianism, considered as virtuous by the religiously hypnotized populace. However, it can, actually, be possible for authoritarianism to bear fruits when used by good leaders. I suppose the late President Magufuli of Tanzania, is a clear case in point when validating authoritarianism. Magufuli’s country was beginning to realize gains in eradicating corruption. Sadly, he may have died without having fully realized his dreams.
Authoritarianism may therefore be different from fascism, whose practice is intended to solely acquire benefits for self. The religiously hypnotized populace could, consequently, be forgiven, when known to pray for good authoritarians. The only problem that is exuded is failure to understand the significance of responsibility. They believe in being led, rather than being leaders. This describes the causes of the well-known troubled spots in the African continent.
Responsibility is foreign to the religiously hypnotized populace, unwilling to determine what is good and what is evil, by themselves. Authoritarianism is deemed innocent by a prayerful populace. Such prayerful people’s views suggest that it is virtuous for one person to take full responsibility for the survival of the entire nation. This is the syndrome that also affected the Israelites, who were found having to pester Samuel for the appointment of a king.
“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.’ But when they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,’ this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you that they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.’” (1 Samuel 8:4-8) (NIV).
The history of the Israelites and the Jewish kingdoms is punctuated by portions of good and bad monarchial leaderships. Those were epochs of authoritarian establishments. But the truth of the matter is that the common people were responsible for any bad leaderships that came their way. The troubles that befell those Israelites, were primarily of the ordinary people’s own making.
The same jinx can be true of the Zimbabwean situation. The late former President Mugabe was sustained by a populace that believed in miracles, more than common sense. To them, President Mugabe was a gift from God, regardless of the fact that Zimbabwe is a republican state, as opposed to a monarchy. The general populace is comprised of people who are religiously hypnotized.
The same people are those declaring that the current conditions, under Mnangagwa, are worse than under Mugabe. All this is symptomatic of their failure to understand the principle of responsibility. The 2017 coup was supported by a religiously hypnotized populace. They regarded the former President as having been bad, without recognizing that Mugabe was sustained by their failure to take responsibility.
The current leader was a known confidante of Mugabe. What the religiously hypnotized populace could not fathom was that Mnangagwa had not been in leadership echelons by merit, but by patronage. Mugabe had kept ED closer to himself, not for ED’s leadership potential qualities, necessarily. But for sustaining Mugabe’s own stranglehold in dominion.
Meanwhile, the judgmental eyes of the religiously hypnotized populace focused on Robert Mugabe, without realizing that Mugabe was not a god. Mugabe had simply been sustained in power by those who idolized him, under the protection of the criminal cohorts. To a normal person, it could not be possible that from such ragtag supporters, could even be fancied to come out a leader, better than Mugabe.
It is impossible for the religiously hypnotized people to evaluate such simple matters. They commonly associate those in leadership with God. This describes those faithful Christians, attending church services every Saturday or Sunday. As far as they are concerned, God is assumed to be happy with their imprudent behavior. They view themselves as better than non-church-goers.
Indeed, there are Scriptures clarifying these matters but certainly abused by the religiously hypnotized Christian groupings. We have to debug such Scriptures, as misapplied, to sustain the sinister behavior, as having caused untold suffering in the African continent. Godliness is understood as submitting to dictators, who are then assumed to be carrying God’s authority.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing” (Romans 13:1-6) (NIV).
Apparently, Paul was talking about governing authorities, referring to politicians. As mentioned earlier, the abuse of this Scripture is responsible for leadership failures that have incessantly gripped Zimbabwe. What misses many people is that there is no human being existing without carrying some authority, one way or the other.
For instance, while authority is understood as vested in husbands, as heads of households, authority is also existent in wives. A husband fails when attempting to exert authority in kitchen activities, for instance. He bears dignity, only when allowing his wife to assume authority on kitchen matters and other household activities.
Of course, the husband has the right to question, where the wife fails to properly carry out those activities. The same applies, where the wife notices the husband’s failure in carrying out leadership responsibilities. Passengers in an omnibus would be under the authority of the driver. But those passengers would be fools if risking their lives by allowing a drunken driver to be on the steering wheel.
Passengers need to cooperate with the omnibus driver, as long as that driver follows the rules of driving. Each passenger carries some responsibility to ensure that the driver properly obeys the rules of the road, as delineated in that country’s laws. The violation of those laws is ultimately punishable by the governing authorities—the politicians.
Romans 13:1-6 is the Scripture whose data may have also been the cause of destruction and confusion, in God’s Church. The starting point is to answer the meaning of the word “authority”. There is one authority under the sun, and Jesus asserted that all authority had been given to Him (Matthew 28:18). Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
The rightness, or correctness of anything, in this world, comes from understanding the principle of authority. This is why the coup of 2017, even though supported by many, cannot be justified as having represented authority. As an abstract term, authority is the cornerstone of any governing structure. Otherwise, any person can declare him/herself as being the authority, which cannot be a product of anarchy.
The coup d’état of 2017 was a clear violation of the principle of authority. The result of such violations is detrimental to survival. That is why a person who gets into power through violence, often gets removed by violence, which breeds more violence. This answers the question of why we have unending wars in this world.
Governance without authority represents anarchy. That scenario represents what is as bad as portraying a serious condition in the livelihoods of humanity. Blaming those treasonous people, committing such crimes, cannot necessarily make those blaming them to be right. The coup d’état of 2017 was supported by thousands of marchers, appearing as having preferred anarchy, rather than continuing under the suppressive conditions, under Mugabe.
But, the considered wrongness of Robert Mugabe’s leadership, itself, reflected the inability to understand the principle of authority. The marchers did not understand that authority had, actually, been vested in their hands. Authority is understood properly when appreciating the significance of the First Commandment: “you shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3)
It is, therefore, safe to suggest that one should subject oneself to some governing power. As long as that power is not violating the principles of authority. God does not grant anyone the authority to rape women, for instance. Authority comes from the principle of “doing unto others as you would like them to do unto you” (Matthew 7:12).
In dealing with governance issues, each human being carries some authority, on behalf of the overall authority. Even a child, carries some authority, as entitled to report an abusive parent to the governing authorities. The idea of reporting an abusive parent to the police, grants authority on children, although children are regarded as under parental authority.
The real cause of child abuse is symptomatic of parental failure to teach children that all authority comes from God. Hence, children put more trust in their parents, rather than in God. Authority does not allow children to be abused by parents, to whom they would have committed their trust. Sadly, the same parents often portray themselves as God-fearing.
Everything starts with the invalidation of oneself, assuming that authority comes from somewhere else. Though unseen, God is represented in order. Any human being carries a spirit that brings order. This may be in small quantities in some people, nevertheless, the spirit of order is present in every human being who is alive.
Confusion, or disorder, is driven by a stimulus-response, based on the desires of physical nature. Hence it is disgraceful to promote anarchy rather than order. All heinous crimes are driven by a stimulus-response, seeking to satisfy fleshly desires. This includes the religiously hypnotized, as supporting anti-survival programs.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope. accolade
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99