Sunday, May 19, 2024

Unprecedented Dictators and a Terrible End: A Lesson for Africa’s Trainee Dictators


Augusto Pinochet


Africa’s trainee dictators,much like other Third World dictators before them never learn to change course from their present path to peril. Instead, they work devotedly to a bitter end. Under the pretext of “dispensing justice”, they misuse and abuse the organs of the state to dispense vengeance. Using a litany of trumped up charges, bogus prosecutions and a pliant judicial system, dictators distort a justice system so that it is tool for political control of their opponents. Through abuse and misuse of state institutions, dictators chose to mistreat political opponents all in such of unchallenged access to state treasuries, power and legitimacy. Dictators thirst for recognition as “presidents”. Their opponents are right: Nowhere an earth can a tyranny compel its citizen to recognize an illegality and a criminal outfit that stole its democracy through a rigged presidency. It can be a coerced “legal” regime but remains an eternal illegitimate outfit. The regime remains a despicable act that only serves to build up political opponents and a determined patriotic people. It encourages capacity building for moral, physical, psychological, and political resistance and opposition in the face of criminal and shameless acts perpetuated by petit, hollow and frightened pretenders to the presidency.

Dictatorship is a blessing in disguise. It strengthens the resistance against those wallowing in shameful abuse of power. Transient and unrepentant dictators seek to “soften” political opponents through different forms of torture. Dictators humiliate, threaten, imprison, torture opponents all out of petty political vindictiveness. Dictators punish through exposing opponents to extreme cold and filthy jails. Some expose their opponents to thirst, hunger, and sleep deprivation, actions clearly unimaginable of a fellow human being to another. African dictators have sought to show case the insanity of the intense cruelty of their hearts, and the criminal machinations of their ruling parties. African dictators are terrorists by alternative name. Terrorists have increasingly become identified with bombs and other vile acts of evil men. African dictators though controlling bombs, have yet to deploy them against their opponents. But African dictators are terrorist regimes to extent their ruling parties spread ideas that are contrary to human values worthy of God’s children and civilization;kindness, compassion, love for neighbour and millennia-old scriptural truth that ‘we are the image—the likeness of an invisible God”. To mistreat another human is, therefore, to mistreat and demean God.
Africans must not yield to the reckless excesses of their accomplished and trainee dictators.

Africa’s dictators nurture dictatorships that consolidate the worst vices of our humanity. Their unconscionable habits have all but destroyed necessary institutions of a democratic state, all because their citizen have allowed them to.

But the end of dictators elsewhere must surely jolt Africa’s dictators. Augusto Pinochet, the ex-dictator of Chile suffered a heart attack and died, in part because of relentless pressure on his conscience after his 17-year-old vile dictatorship. Throughout the country, Chileans welcomed the news of his death with massive spontaneous street demonstrations. The grandson of a former Commander-in-Chief of the Army in the Allende government who was murdered by Pinochet’s secret police spat on Augusto Pinochet’s coffin. To “avoid vandalism of his tomb”, Pinochet’s body was cremated. Chileans had bottled up anger because under his direction, order or through his minions’ eager to maintain power, Pinochet’s government had killed or imprisoned at least thousands of people, torturing a further 29,000. Peter Kornbluh, the author of The Pinochet File—a riveting account of Pinochet’s monstrous rule—writes that “routine sadism [under Pinochet’s evil regime] was taken to extremes” and included “unnatural acts involving dogs” (p.171)

Meanwhile in Argentina, On 6 September 2006, the Judge ruled that the pardons granted by President Menem to ex-dictator Videla was unconstitutional. A federal court struck down Videla’s presidential pardon and restored his convictions for human rights abuses. He was put on trial for additional charges of human rights violations relating to the deaths of 31 prisoners under his rule. Videla took full responsibility for his army’s actions during his rule, saying, “I accept the responsibility as the highest military authority during the internal war. My subordinates followed my orders”. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, and then again, was convicted and sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment for his participation in a scheme to steal babies whose parents where held by the military regime. The court ruled that Videla enabled “the crimes of theft, retention and hiding of minors, as well as replacing their identities.” The stolen children found themselves under the care of military families for illegal adoption, with their origin and identities wiped out. Serving his sentence in prison, Videla died from multiple fractures and internal haemorrhaging attributed to a slip in a prison shower. So, at the end of his life, Videla had received the full wrath of the justice system. One Argentinian official would later say that Videla had “died prosecuted, sentenced and imprisoned in a common cell, repudiated by the Argentine people”.

In Africa, Dictator Samuel Kanyon Doe, “an enlightened leader whose actions were intended to bring relief to many” was, through his dictatorship, slowly writing his own death diary. After ascending to power, Samuel Kanyon Doe walked nude government ministers publicly around the capital, Monrovia, and then summarily executed them by a firing squad on the beach. It triggered exile for hundreds of government workers, and prison terms for government ministers who chose to stay. Later, as his murderous rule was underway, self-styled “Dr. Doe” after an honorary doctorate from the University of Seoul bragged that he had earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Liberia; it was an easy effortless nonsensical progression from a “doctorate” degree to a “bachelor’s degree”. At the terminal phase of his life, Samuel Doe’s opponents tortured him, before being killed and exposed naked in the streets of Monrovia. To prove that he was not protected by black magic as he had claimed (just as others have suggested that current African dictators still visit witchdoctors/summon witchcraft), Samuel Doe’s opponents cut off his ears, then some of his fingers and toes, and finally murdered him by decapitation; By some accounts, the superstitious rebels cut off his genitals too, grinded them as part of a “potent concoction to ward off Samuel Doe’s evil ghosts”. The video tape of Samuel Doe’s harsh end was a global shocker and depicted the inhumanity of man against another; an act in part Africa’s dictators such as Samuel Doe brew and serve on their country men and women under the arrogance of transient power. Samuel Doe, pleading for his life as he died slowly, confirmed yet again that dictators for all their heartlessness are fragile cowards fooled by transient power they never take to their graves.

Almost four months ago, Africa was spared a terrible end to a dictator. The unhinged ex-Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh, who had initially vowed that “he would rule for one billion years, if God wills” swallowed his arrogant ignorance and left power. But it took a blend of diplomacy and a threat of ECOWAS military force to convince him that his dictatorial tendencies and thuggish rule complete with the pungent ordor of its effects had come to a sudden end. However, Africa from Harare (where an aging dictator is living on borrowed time) through Lusaka, Kinshasa, Kigali, Kampala all the way to Cairo still buzzes with similar-minded dictators.

So, what do we as Africans learn about the tragic end of these cruel dictatorships? In other words, what should patriotic Africans do to reclaim their democracy, and pivot their countries to a track of a hopeful truly democratic future? I argue that several approaches exist that Africans must undertake.

First, peaceful resistance, coalition-building among disparate groups of “tribe-less citizen”, and building external partnerships among Africa’s genuine well-wishers is crucial. We too should never give up prayers because of all humanity, Africa is the most praying yet materially poor continent. Who knows, may be God equally angry at Africa’s dictators, will hear the prayers of His oppressed children. He can cause a dictator to have a fatal slip in a bathtub; speed up a fatal ailment; cause a dictator to chock to death on a bone; God could “permit” a dictator’s bodyguard to save a country as some have argued in the case of Kabila Senior in DRC; and God could bring down a dictator’s plane if His purpose is to save millions than one evil man, and may be a dictator can have a profound change of heart for our God is an awesome God, etc. Who knows the ways of God when He hears the pleas of the oppressed? Who knows but God? So, prayers are important part of the struggle. But if all else fails, Africans south of the Sahara must ultimately summon bravery and consider peaceful mass uprising against well-entrenched dictatorships. The Arabs north of the Sahara Arabs did it, and ousted dictators in the memorable uprising—the “Arab Spring”. With calibrated strategies for their own contexts, why can’t Africans south of the Sahara? Why shouldn’t they? What do Africans lose from a potential second death? Common place hopelessness in squalor, hunger, illiteracy and disease among citizen in Africa’s dictatorships is already the first death. If a peaceful mass uprising turns out to be successful, citizen must seek immediate justice in the “new” judicial system they now control, the aim of which is to punish a dictator and his accomplices.

However, the struggle to rid ourselves of dictatorships become urgent when:
i. poor economic policies lead Africa’s dictators to engage in yet terrible economic and monetary choices that compound crises for the majority, even as the dictator and his accomplices speed up the theft of a shrinking economic pie.

ii. African dictators exercise arbitrary power such as in a “state of emergency” to deal with a self-inflicted worsening crisis, often arising from wrong if not terrible policy choices.

iii. dictatorships blossom slowly but dangerously. They began their motion as a dictator’s creeping anger, through his clueless statements, and through the accomplices or party functionary’s arrogant pronouncements. Once a threshold of a dictator’s anger is exceeded, the fog of state power puffs him to reject dialogue in preference for state-sanctioned weapons of violence such as partisan or unpatriotic police or army. The trick is to discover that “threshold” and stop him or eject him from power immediately.

iv. when Africa’s dictators—both trainee and accomplished—reach a certain point in their unstable hold onto insatiable appetite for power. At that point, dictators most often send signals by their manifest intention to destroy opponents through curtailing press freedoms, harassing, imprisoning or killing them. That’s the point at which mass uprising must begin or coordinated citizen efforts accelerate inexorably to the ouster of the dictator.

v. when a dictator’s political system ignores, discounts, demeans separation of powers—and disregards checks and balances—much like in many of Africa’s counterfeit democracies. That is additional confirmation context to remove the dictator because he and his minions now dominate all branches of government that an independent, objective and profession arbiter between the citizen and their government no longer exists.

However, repeatedly, Africa’s dictators have come to exercise arrogance of power because their citizen do not care enough, sacrifice enough, and do not fight enough. Africa’s dictators everywhere have impoverished their people and their countries that the state of their people’s humanity jolts every child of God with a conscience. The promise of free and fair elections that are also free of fear is a pipedream. Sometimes under the blessing of foreign powers, dictators have pushed for more power to oppress their people and build up their minions for selfish ends. The struggle to rid Africa of dictators must involve sacrifice and vision beyond tribe.
It must be relentless and well-thought. As Frederick Douglass famously put “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will”. dictator operates in a unique context of his tools of oppression. These dictators are, therefore, unprecedent dictators. And united citizen must craft a careful strategy of resistance and campaign that eventually leads to the ouster of a dictator.

However, as we see above, all dictators met with a terrible end. It is a lesson for Africa’s accomplished and trainee dictators. It is now certain that dictatorships that resist correction, dialogue, and remain entrenched to politically reckless ideals of oppression and tyranny, will meet a terrible end. They will complete their lives in a miserable way. Contrary to the braggadocio of Africa’s current dictators, their post misleadership era will be stuffed with profound consequences. In these changed times, that is a very chilling and frightening prospect indeed for Africa’s trainee dictators.

By John P.
Doctoral Candidate


    • Ati Doctoral Candidate……which accredited University can retain in any of its respected programs such a scatterbrain? A context analysis of the whole monologue leaves me lost at sea wondering if this is an essay done by an emotionally charged undergraduate student at some Madrassah school in Kandahar, Afghanistan or at some notorious Degree milling plants like Atlantic University in the wilderness of scumbags. I can’t see the Cogency that come with quality Ph.D. students. A good Doctoral candidate got to have the ability to clearly and forcefully articulate their ideas–in person and in writing with unparalleled brilliance and quick-thinking.
      If i was Dean or the Supervising Professor, i would send this thing back to some undergraduate programs for a full year in Comparative…

    • I would send this thing back to some undergraduate programs for a full year in Comparative Politics, critical analysis and some Game Theory lectures. Otherwise, expulsion of this counterfeit from school is the most appropriate option. Comeback for lectures in Political theory 101.
      What is confusing this counterfeit is nothing but “Mali yakuilombela” and not dictatorship. The new normal in opposition politics in our country is when charter a subversive line and you are reminded that go civil and not rogue or indeed fail to pull it in elections, you remains to call the winner Dictator and rigger. Mature leadership concedes and reset itself for next ballot time. Dictatorship has become a name for those who are none meliable to offloading their countries to useful i.d.i.o.t.s amongst us…

    • Suddenly we have forgotten about Blaise Compaoré dictator par excellence of Burkina Faso and the fate that befell him. Where is he today?

    • And how much of his forced retirement is Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh of the Gambia enjoying today, if at all he has any conscience?

    • As for Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, what has Africa to show for his legacy today: his skull or his scalp? He died in exile. Don’t all these stories speak volumes?

    • Dictators almost always appear to want to cling to power for dear life. Why? It’s because of fear of what might follow upon their exit from power. That is what is keeping Comrade Robert Mugabe still going strong in office at 93, when he should have been enjoying his retirement.

    • Edgar Lungu, I hope you are reading. Mr lungu & his PF00Lish followers have a false delusion that he’s protected by God whilst venting out evil deeds.

    • Dictatorship has gripped my land, which my grandfather left free for us and the next generation, now under Pf tribalists.

    • ofcourse, they see a dictator in others because of their in-born hatred and tribalism and fail to see one in their own backyard: who has NEVER gone to a convention since 2006!!!!!!


    • Why are books not written in capital letters? Because it is abnormal and senseless. No wonder you can not see substance. It does not come easily pal.

    • @Bwafyaa because you are a PF Cadre your mind is corrupt that you don’t see beyond tomorrow. I’m not for UPND nor PF but what the president is doing in Zambia right now is not different from any other Dictator, wait and see, days are numbered.

  2. You will write articles and stories as long as you can but hh will remain imprisoned. It is unfortunate this biased articles and stories are not heard off by a common Zambian. Continue wasting your plagiarising what think tanks have toiled for. Viva ecl

  3. The article is good… It is better to hear a rebuke than praise. It is better to hear criticism from a enemy than praise from a friend. Self examination is best principle in life. A Christian hears all sermon for he know that he is fallible and sin can touch him. A person who thinks he has no sin is deceiving himself.
    To say ECL is not making any mistake is to regard ECL as immortal. Frankly ,in the HH case , he has misfired and it is haunting him. GOD need to save him and ECL must confess his sin and ask for forgiveness from GOD. GOD is merciful and ready to forgive him.
    Never should ECL pretend that HE is not aware that HH has been transfer to Mukobeko.
    To all bloggers , never support evil . What is wrong is always wrong before GOD and there is no excuse for wrong.

    • but sanity and law must be observed.If those who want to take over the leadership of country disregard law and the rights of other people, I can imagine how chaotic this country will be.Their intention is to chaos in order to enhance thier dubiously obtained wealth together with thier foreign sponsors, Anglo American corperation.Maintaining law and order breeds peace.This is not evil, what is evil is what your moron has done, is doing,and does to innocent ZambiansWhy should the president be aware of your moron’s transfere to Mukobeko, when it is the responsibility of the law enforcers.This is a better place for him.He hallucinated that the whole country will be on his side, alas, aliloba ilyabola!!Infact, we enjoyed more peace than the time the moron was not captured!!God loves law…

    • @6.1 ROKA

      You seem to want to clothe dictatorship in different garments. That’s what all dictators do. There is always a rationale for what they do or feel justified to do. Don’t suppose that Adolf Hitler had no similar rationale for killing millions of Jews. It was a flawed rationale. So is yours here.

  4. This article fails to put one fundamental issue into context: EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU DID NOT IMPOSE HIMSELF ON ZAMBIANS OR GRAB POWER FORCEFULLY, HE WAS ELECTED BY THE MAJORITY OF ZAMBIANS TWICE IN TWO YEARS!!!!! hh got 52 parliamentary seats against ECL’s 86 + 12 independents (PF members). When ECL stands and wins in 2021, the constitution won’t allow him to stand as president again, he is part of a democratic electoral system that has characterised Zambia since 1991 and will remain the same after ECL. John P, your “dictator” rhetoric and dogma that is meant to deceive Zambians will NEVER WORK as Zambians countrywide (except on Southern/Western/Norh-Western provinces) are very disappointed with hh’s style of politics and think he deserves what was coming to him for all those vile…

    • Well said Citizen!If the moron was clever, it could have accepted the results and start preparing for the next election and many people were going to support it.Since it is a moron , it claimed victory before the polls took pace and kept on saying it won’t accept the results if they were not going to be in its favour.Even those countries and leader condnming its arrest have turne ablind eye and deaf hear to all the moron has done wrongly and arrogantly.What the current President,although I no longer support him, is the right thing and not dictatorship as som selfish organizations and individuals are claiming him to be.

  5. …insults he discharged on Judges, the Speaker, the President etc after losing elections and failing to present evidence to the ConCourt in his ill-intended petition!!!

  6. Comment:
    Hiding your full name simply indicates that you deserve not to be taken seriously, mister candidate.

  7. Dictatorship is different from authoritarianism. As long as a leader enjoys relative legitimacy, it is wrong to label that leader a dictator. What criteria was applied? When regular elections are held, then that is the start of democratization. If election observers and monitors are allowed entry into a given country, then democratization has started to bear fruit. When opposition political leaders are free to campaign, then at some point direct participation in legislature and executive will become evident. It seems to me that Africa is a easy target for criticism. Over generalization is not the answer. In depth analysis of specific countries and comparisons where possible is a better approach.

    • @11 Dr. Makasa Kasonde (Private Citizen)

      Dictators never always start out as dictators. They start out as something else, something better, far better than being a dictator. It’s the lure of power that changes people. Power corrupts. When the monster we did not intend to create finally ascends the throne, those of us responsible for its creation scamper in all directions, each fearing of his or her own life. That is happening all over Africa right now.

  8. Distinguish between maintaining order and dictatorship. Lungu was voted in and HH wasn’t but wants to be president at any cost even if it means going to mukobeko. You want the law to fold its arms while misconduct takes hilt just because of democracy

  9. Well articulated article. Good example of what is happening in Zambia. Those who are praising Lungu today , tomorrow will be on the other side because they fail to get what they wanted.
    Dictators don’t come as dictators,
    Some come through legitimate process , then they want to consolidate their positions , they don’t want to be challenged.
    Mugabe came through the democratic process, today is a hardcore dictator. KK came through the legitimate process, he ended up one of dictators in Africa. Lungiu is becoming a dictator.
    The reason why they fall in dictatorship they don’t want to be challenged, they think they have to be respected and worshipped.
    Lungu didn’t win the election. When his opponent challenged him, he is now sliding in dictatorial tendency.

    • “…Lungu didn’t win the election. When his opponent challenged him, he is now sliding in dictatorial tendency…” AS LONG AS THIS DOESN’T COME OFF YOUR CONSCIENCE, YOU WILL SEE ECL AS A DICTATOR. The majority that voted for ECL have moved on from the elections mood and are busy going about their daily activities. Zambians largely have fared very well in democracy and their tendency to reject dictatorial inclinations than countries like Uganda or Zimbabwe. We rejected KK’s wamuyayaya, Chiluba’s third term and MMD’s electoral manipulations a la political engineering!! WE SHALL DO IT AGAIN IN 2026 but for now we are happy with our President. And take note: WE HAVE ALSO REJECTED hh’s DICTATORIAL PROPENSITY WITHIN HIS PARTY AND HIS BLOODTHIRSTY DESIRES FOR STATE POWER FIVE…

  10. To start with I think John.P, the author of the above article is one of those young students who lack research and have no experience. They don’t know how life was in Dr Kaunda’s days because this John was either learning how to crawl or was not born yet. I don’t blame him because life is an experience you either go through it or have an experience through reading about what others went through.
    The dictator examples listed here doesn’t fall any inch near to our Zambia today. Ecl was voted for and we had the whole world, reputable institutions to testify to that. Starting from Kaunda to the present leader we have never seen anyone citizen paraded and shot dead. We are enjoying democracy to an extent dare devil citizens can ,in a The fast and furious style, over take eagle one. Funny…

  11. @6 – So ECL has sinned because HH has been sent to Mukobeko? HH is a cent is has clean as newly born baby without any sins. All of you before you condemn ECL first look into HH’s misdeeds, if you can not see any thing wrong in what HH has been doing / saying then you would better shut up and leave ECL alone. Just as your HH is a cent also our ECL is.

  12. Dictators firstly silence the media then the opposition and the educated.

    Just by their acts of political patronage and corruption , the economy of a country suffers which results in an uneducated jobless majority.

    Because a dictator usually fails the econmy and jobs for the uneducated masses ,This uneducated jobless majority is then easily manipulated to rally behind the dictator by nationalistic and tribalistic themes.

    This is now happening in Zambia where lungu, because he can not provide jobs, is rallying the kaponyas against perceived colonialists and brewing tribal hatred.

  13. Zambia sure more than 50 years after indepence, you have such a pathetic backyard legal system, where an accused is construed to be guilty even before the court passes judgement. Young democracies who recently got their independence have more supperio decent legal systems, where “an accused is not guilty until proven as such by a court of law.” Why dehumanise a person before is proven guilty? This exposes the quality of your educational system to be of a shallow kind, no wonder you have shallow minded unenlightened bloggers coming through the poor system of education. Go out of you boarders expose yourself to real democracy and compare with the pathetic undemocratic system you have here run by cadre militants which you call police. When you come back I assure you you will advocate for…

  14. Its amazing how PF cadres fail to see sense even when sense is in plain sight. Well, its just a matter of time before Lungu’s injustice falls on his head. The consequences of his actions today will surely come regardless of the senseless arguments and shouts of support from PF cadres. Its like death: no matter how hard you dispute its inevitability, it will surely come. Nature knows when to pay back!

  15. @government and Zambian citizen. mwaakunda manyokwe. You are so dull due to your pf cadreism and cant see sense right in front of you

  16. Thank you John P,
    Dictators in Africa have always been propped up by their tribes-mates and sycophant, servile, incompetent and subservient and judicial systems. Those denying that From Lusaka to Cairo via Harare and Kampala there are no dictators are either living abroad or have serious mental issues. John you must have a thick skin or else the barracudas and crocodiles will be coming hard on you. This is how dictators work; they use servile hitmen to do their dirty jobs and from Lusaka to Harare, their mode of operation is identical.

    • Yes, indeed. At one time Zimbabweans were largely so naive. Robert Mugabe was their hero. Today they have a senile in office; and them, not him, biting the bitter pill.

  17. These guys are so dull that they think Lungu is a dictator! They don’t know that Under Five Card Clinic is suffering from ignorance for having missed some vaccines! Very dull supporters! Anyway, they say you can’t fix ignorance!

  18. Even HH would have become a dictator because he is an African. Come to think of he’s already one ….he has never given chance to anyone to challenge him for party presidencies.

  19. @”Senior” Citizen et al. Where are your ideas? Share yours first before criticizing John. The man has shared facts the truth about dictators. It is one thing to criticize and offer a counter argument. Small minds indeed.African dictators love your type.

  20. Without being a no nonsense “dictator ” Kagame wouldn’t have turned Rwanda into a shining jewel in the middle of troubled Africa. Brooking nonsense in the name of democracy only retards development.

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