g Leaders Need Not Be Pushed Off the Cliff [opinion]

Doing some internationalist political sojourn in the mid-80s, some of us stumbled into a rather new politico-ideological theory being tested in Libya.

This philosophy and its action programme were known as the ‘Third Universal Theory’ by late Col Muammar Gaddafi. It was a brand of Socialism meant to create an egalitarian socio-economic and political system, more of Communalism than Socialism. One principle propounded by Col Gaddafi stated that: “The g will always rule”.

The political novices among us were riled by such a dictatorial concept, moreover from a personage who professed pan-Africanism and anti-imperialism!

Arguments may be made for or against Gaddafi as a leader, but that he kept Libya under one firm state for decades can’t be disputed. Certainly Gaddafi was a g ruler. Evidence? After his destruction by a combination of centripetal and centrifugal forces, both local and foreign, his ghost has lived to haunt those who destroyed him.

Libya is in tatters, broken into tribal enclaves, under the command of ragtag militias and self-styled rebel commanders. The current fragile state structure in Tripoli is now asking for ‘political aid’ from some of those who helped destroy Gaddafi in the first place!

So, is it superstitious to believe that where you have a ‘g ruler’, their destruction could spell doom for the country, and the state?

This is in no way to aocate for brutal ‘strength’ of some rulers! But the idea that “a society gets the leaders it deserves” springs to mind. In recognition of the possible disastrous effects of using wrong means to achieve a legitimate cause and effect on social governance, the Bible says “all power comes from God”!

We might argue about whether this is a divine message or a political message in a divine camouflage but the moral is that trying to destroy a g ruler may not always give society the next best alternative. Examples abound! Look at Somalia after Siad Barre’s ouster or Iraq since the day US commandos boasted of having “got him” [Sadam Hussein] from the fox-hole where he was hiding.

Instead of democracy, Iraq is now a haven for extremists, jihadists, terrorists, etc. The forces that had hoped to export democracy to Iraq in replacement of Saddam’s dictatorship now face the haunting spectre of that country being a haven for international terrorism!

As we speak, Al Assad of Syria, another ‘g ruler’, was sworn in for his third term in office a while ago. This was after spending the better part of his second term at war with forces similar to those that destroyed Libya and Iraq. And then, some ‘ungodly’ forces have emerged in the rebel-infested areas in Syria, annexed a swathe of the Syrian territory with the captured territory in Iraq, and declared an Islamic State.

Now the most dreaded by our international community of democrats and all people of goodwill, the IS is estimated to have in excess of 30,000 fighters – a pure “negation of the negation”, as Marxist philosophy puts it in dialectical materialism.

History is not short of examples of really g rulers, including in Africa. You remember the ‘Iron Lady’, the late Margret Thatcher of Britain, who sent her naval destroyers down the Atlantic Ocean to dissuade Argentina from claiming any kilo of soil or sand on the Falkland Islands?

Or, do we need anyone to persuade us that Fidel Castro of Cuba weathered the blockade and all manner of sanctions from his powerful neighbour for decades, until he ceded some of his powers to his successor, at his own time and on his terms?

Elsewhere, Russia has moved from the revolutionary Lenin, to Joseph Stalin, to President Vladimir Putin, who is said to be unpopular in Europe but has a 97-per-cent popularity rating at home. What about our Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, a senior member of the club of g rulers that will be in charge of this country until he is 94 years ‘young’?

The point here is that g rulers, with a qualitatively different form and content of governance, are better seen off the stage peacefully, than thrown over the cliff – unless, of course, the local objective and subjective conditions demand otherwise!

We need to learn from history, so that we use the means to justify the end, and not the end to justify the means.

The author is a former spokesman of the UPDF.

Source : The Observer

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