Watching the developments in Cairo and throughout Egypt has been stifling over the past week or two. To me, it brings to light a lot of problems faced on the African continent by the people as a result of the arrogance or absolute disregard for what the public wants by its Governments and leaders. It seems to me for decades and probably longer that many African leaders will completely disregard the public’s wishes and seems to forget who they are actually supposed to be serving. I know this isn’t life shattering news as that seems to be the way of most politicians on Earth (including the US) but in Africa it takes on a whole new meaning. Rampant corruption; absolute narcissism, and apathy toward public desires and International brotherhood do absolutely nothing toward garnering support for the most ignored continent on Earth.
Egypt itself is obviously a very important country in the scheme of both Middle Eastern and African politics and western countries really do have a stake in what happens. Hosni Mubarak’s refusal to leave office after a 30 year rule that seemingly has enraged his people to no end is a result of his own arrogance. He is so used to doing whatever he wants that he will not allow anyone to tell him what to do. He is apparently one of the wealthiest people on Earth, certainly wealthiest leaders on Earth, with billions in the bank when most of his people live at the poverty line. How did he get the money? Your guess is as good as mine but I’d bet my apartment that it was obtained in a corrupt manner or through the decades of aid money that hasn’t been directed where it was meant to go over the years.
This guy starts firing his cabinet and names a Vice President in order to show that he is doing something to his angry constituents, never even acknowledging that he could possibly be the problem. The will of the people is clear but all he does is come on television and makes a patronizing few statements that he will step down in September and that’s that. So what in between? A lame duck, completely useless President that doesn’t have the support of the people, nor the suddenly very important army.
Western nations are trying their best to stay far away from this situation. It’s almost comical actually how far western governments are going to stay neutral so to speak while trying not to piss off anybody or seem to be meddling. I think they were really caught off guard by these protests and how they have sustained over the past few weeks.
This made me think though about other African political issues currently and of the immediate past. Do you realize that the Ivory Coast Presidential situation is still not resolved? Did you even know there was a disputed election where the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo lost an Internationally recognized election but since he lost, he decided to call foul, corruption and unfair election and has refused to step down even with International pressure which is a joke. The guy simply won’t leave office!
It appears it is working as nobody is doing anything about it. Western governments don’t give a shit because it is the Ivory Coast which is seen to be a rogue nation of sorts that has been nothing but a war zone for the past few decades. So this incumbent will sit on the power as long as possible, waiting it out until people just stop caring or paying attention and will either keep power or form some type of coalition government-sound like Zimbabwe?! That really worked didn’t it?!
Another example of how African leaders just simply ignore public opinion or International organizations and cry foul is how the Sudanese President Al Bashir completely disregarded being charged with genocide by the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. He simply shrugged and said he didn’t recognize them as anything and that was that. Pretty cool huh?! I wish I could just shrug off anything I wanted and do whatever I wanted with absolutely no recourse.
Arrogance and corruption has long been a staple of African and Middle Eastern governments. They feel they can do whatever they want and for years they have been able to do just that-whatever they want. Corruption is the biggest problem in Africa…period! When leaders run for President they are running for a right to steal foreign aid money. They don’t care about the people, the country’s infrastructure or their duties. They care about padding their 9 figure Swiss bank accounts and having enough cash to live like a king when they get out of office or even during office because the majority of them don’t do anything while in office.
Now that Mubarak has resigned (just literally as I am about to publish this-I guess the revolution will be televised), will democracy succeed in Egypt? I don’t know, I hope so…but I don’t know to be honest because the way I see it the old adage in Africa always seem to be…
If something in an election goes wrong for you, just cry foul about the results and do whatever you want…seems to work more often than not…THIS IS AFRICA.