“ZE FOLLIES” OF AFRICA

Hama Tuma

From the son of Zenawi to Zuma, the follies of Africa are indeed the presidents and prime ministers, the power mongers and corrupt officials staining the face of our beloved continent. Some are funny, most are not but they all add up to spell folly and destruction for Africa, It is evident I prefer Juma to Meles Zenawi, the goat faced tyrant who runs an ethnic discriminatory politics making some 80 million Ethiopians suffer.

Jacob Zuma is a character, perhaps from some ancient Zulu folklore but it is clear that many South Africans consider him harmless and benign only when compared to his predecessor Mbeki. We have to admit he is a caricature who warms the prejudiced heart of any white racist. This is a man of power who is accused of raping an HIV positive woman and then counters he had consensual unprotected sex with her but had taken a shower to reduce the possibility of Aids coming his way. Zuma was accused of corruption and survived the rough power struggle to become South Africa‘s president, to rule disgruntled citizens who have seen no positive change in their lives but are allowed to vent their anger now and then on refugees from Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, etc…Already with three wives and a fiancée, Zuma has fathered a “love child” from another woman bringing the total number of his children to 20. A field day for the haters of Africa for sure but then again Zuma is an honest and honourable man who has done his share to increase the number of Africans and who has lived up to his words and admitted his peccadilloes (compare with Bill Clinton and John Edwards!). He does preach safe sex and one partner relationship to the people in order to combat Aids but who said he had to follow his own advice? Isn’t he the president? As for having 20 children (Big Daddy Amin had 33 and the Sheikhs in the Middle East can count more), he has at least helped school children avoid tough questions: a primary school student was asked “where do children come from?” and he was able to answer “from Jacob Zuma” outright. But, let me say definitively that the report of Zuma never again making any move to greet children for fear that they may call him daddy is a fabrication by anti-Zuma forces. Zuma’s personal song is titled “My Machinegun” and many South Africans are blaming him for not keeping this weapon of his zipped up or covered up

(How can I shoot? a reckless Zuma is said to have asked). Zuma is a tough man at 67 years of age who shoots no blanks as he would like to say had he not feared the outcry. As for polygamy, let the Americans talk to their harem happy Middle East sheikhs and to the followers of the ancestors of Mitt Romney (Mormons) who had more than a dozen wives.

If Zuma is funny son of Zenawi aka Meles is dull and boring. This is the man who invaded Somalia and claimed it was not an invasion; “we just crossed the border”. This is the man who blamed the West for the famine in Ethiopia: “they did not send food aid in time”. This is the very man who indefatigably claims the economy is growing by 10% per year while the people are starving (14 million need food aid) and the country is in ruins in general. And this is the man who spent millions on monuments and to add insult to injury erected a monument for a donkey called Desalegne that transported arms, ammunition and goods for the guerrillas. Countless Ethiopian heroes have no monument in their name while an “ethnic “donkey has deserved one instead. This is the same Meles whose ultra corrupt wife claims she does not afford to pay school fees for her elder daughter, the same Meles who justifies a massacre (200 shot dead in Addis Ababa in 2005) by claiming that his police were not well trained in riot control. Damn the British who were supposed to train the police and intelligence services!

And Gadafi, the self declared King of Kings of all African tribes (sic), who tried to be second time president of the comatose AU and was angry he could not. This is the same Gadafi who has allied himself with Silvio Berlusconi much to the detriment of African refugees. Salva Kirr, the cowboy manqué, who presides over a corrupted South Sudan government that is seemingly obsessed on whether women should wear trousers or not while the whole region is aflame with violence. Up north, the dour faced Beshir does his massacre routine with gusto, preparing to be re elected as President even when the accusations against him for genocide kick up. In a few months, both Beshir and son of Zenawi will go through the motion of an election that has been rigged already. Swazi King Msawti III has 13 wives and takes up a bare breasted virgin as a new wife at the annual Reed Dance– a show to make many white colonials chuckle with satisfaction. The young Swazi king is corrupt, he has, for example, spent US$ 500,000 on a new Daimler Chrysler Maybach 62 with all possible luxury extras, including a fridge and DVD player while two thirds of Swazis live on less than one dollar a day. Mention Kabila jr, the Bongos past and present, the Nguema fellow in oil rich equatorial Guinea, the Congolese Ninja president Sassou Ngueso, the Chadian Deby and royal level corruption rears its head. Abundant folly.

As they say “ze oil” speaks volumes. Corrupt African leaders are backed by predators like the USA, Britain and France. Chinese presence and greed for Africa’s wealth and resources has also aggravated the complication–Peking has allied itself with malleable African dictators like Beshir, Meles, Mugabe and more. The rich African countries are the main victims but the poor ones are not spared too–Djibouti sells its land as a military base to Washington and Paris and Ethiopia is being mortgaged to the highest bidder. Corrupt leaders are given more aid so long as they toe the line of the metropolis and persist with their folly that ridicules and damages Africa. Chinese ministers openly admit that they routinely pay bribes to win contracts and the recent collapse of the tunnel of the much touted Gilgel Gibe II dam in Ethiopia (the Italian construction firm paid bribes both in Rome and Addis Abeba) just ten days after its inauguration is a case in point. The white elephant projects of the seventies are alive and well.

The Ziegfeld Follies were quite a show in their time. “Ze follies” of Africa may stage shows but at the end of the day they are not funny at all. The cost is too much, the destruction too great. From the son of Zenawi to Zuma, to Sassou and Kabila, from Mugabe to Gelleh, the “follies” of Africa are on a rampage to destroy Africa. Time to end their disastrous show,

 

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