Saturday, October 4, 2008

Exit Thabo Mbeki!

Do you think those Southies are really Africans

What, what is Southies?

I mean those South Africans.

You and your terms! Why did you ask if they are Africans?

Didn’t you hear that their President has resigned?

What is news in that, Presidents and Prime Ministers resign all the time?

In Africa, come on?

The Pakistan Maximum Leader resigned, so did the Israeli premier. I don’t know what’s agitating you.

You are being evasive, have you seen a leader resign in Africa?
Let me think…

You think, what? You cannot name a single Africa leader who has voluntarily resigned from office. That’s why I find the act of the Southies so blasphemous, so sacrilegious, so outrageous, so…

I get the drift. But the man had no choice, his party asked him to go?
Ah, why are you talking like this, my friend? Who owns political party in Africa, is it not the president? Je suis le partie, le partie cest moi!

Speak English.

I am the party, the party is me.

I did not know that you speak French.

I do not. I just made that one up. But it neatly sums up the essence of my argument. Who owns political parties in Africa if not Mr. President? Can you imagine, God forbid, the NPP asking President Kuffuor to resign!

Do you think that he would resist?

Ah, my friend, you are talking as if you are not living Africa. Who, on earth, would dare to ask him in the first place.

There must be people in his party who will summon the courage if they find his act egregious enough.

Egregious, what do you mean?

I mean like interfering with the judiciary the way Mbeki was accused of doing?
Ah, my friend, you are talking nonsense. Are you not living in this country? Didn’t our President pack the Supreme Court so that he can get sympathetic rulings?
Rubbish, he appointed Justices as he is constitutionally empowered to do?

But he did it after an unfavorable ruling.

Look, I am not a legal luminary so I cannot argue the fine points of law with you. Mbeki transgressed and his party asked him to go and he did the only honourable thing and left. What exactly is your beef with that?

Do you really think that he is an African?

Don’t be ridiculous, the man is as black as you and his father was one of giants of the Liberation struggle.

So it is claimed. But he was said to have grown up outside Africa, you see what I mean?

No, I don’t see what you mean!

You see, with plastic surgery and things the real son of Mbeki Senior might have been switched. Even the name Mbeki sounds suspicious. I will wager that it’s either Japanese or Indonesian.

I think that you are losing it?

No, consider my empirical evidence…


Yes, Plastic surgery, the suspicious name, the man very un-African aloofness, his supercilious intellectual detachment, the way and manner he chooses to resign instead of battling it out with his opponent and destroy both party and country in the process. I don’t understand a thing and I really do not know what makes the man ticks! What I know is that a true son or daughter of Africa would have elected to ‘dabaru’ everything as they say in Nigeria, instead of resigning meekly.

I still do not know what is agitating you?

Doesn’t the man love power? Doesn’t he love the prestige, the authority and all the good things that go with high office?

The man is an acclaimed intellectual, maybe he will find time to write his memoirs and give lectures?

What, you don’t mean that a sane man will choose to go and write when he can be President!

For some people, occupying high office is not the highest aspiration.

I think that you are just spewing arrant nonsense. Don’t you live in Africa? Don’t you see what people will do to get into position for which they are uniquely unqualified, and for which they have not got the foggiest idea about what to do? Do you not see how elections are rigged, manipulated and then arranged in ‘Power Sharing’ arrangements? Or do you think that they do not pay their President well enough in Southie?

I would not know that. All I know is that Mbeki does not feel himself justified by the material appurtenances of his office. I heard that he does not go around in convoys of expensive jeeps breaking all traffic rules.

What, you don’t mean that he stops for traffic light.

Yes, that is what I meant. He travels with his security detail but they obey all traffic rules and regulations.

You cannot be serious. Tell me you are not serious! Is it not true then that Southie is the richest country in Africa?

It certainly is, and by a very wide margin. But what has that got to do with anything?

If they are the richest and we are a HIPC country and their leader travels unceremoniously while ours travels around extravagantly, don’t you then agree with me that the Southies are really not Africans!

Perhaps they are the more decent Africans

Who is talking about decency? We are talking about showing off. Ours is a bankrupt economy wobbling on legs supported by donors’ generosity. Our leaders are junketing around the world with begging bowls, yet that has not stopped them from riding the most expensive cars money can buy. That hasn’t stopped a mere Deputy Minister from having traffic cleared for him. Maybe there are a few things we can teach our Southie cousins.

Maybe it is they who have some lessons for us.

Lesson, what lesson can we learn from them?

Maybe decency and modesty to begin with. We can also understudy them about how to live the life that we preach and about how to husband our scarce resources instead of wasting them on material aggrandizements. We can learn to be simple human beings who do not feel justified by our material possessions.

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