Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler hid in an underground bunker – where he eventually committed suicide – when Allied forces had surrounded Germany’s capital Berlin in 1945.
Iraq’s iron-fisted tyrant, Sadaam Hussein, crawled down a hole – as if a frightened rabbit – in his hometown of Tikrit, after American forces had all but captured the country in 2003.
The once seemingly untouchable ruthless despot, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, fled back home to Sirte, where he was later captured and brutally killed in 2011.
Today, the once feared king of eSwatini, Mswati III – who ruled the kingdom as if it were his personal property – is believed to have ran away from the small southern African country, as public anger and outrage pours onto the streets.
Let us not forget how, even in Zimbabwe, several high profile ZANU PF regime leaders – who held such seemingly invincible powers (namely, Jonathan Moyo, and Savior Kasukuwere, amongst others) – ran for dear life, after the military coup d’etat in November 2017, and have been living in self-imposed exile ever since.
This was not before the then vice president, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, had been fired by then president Robert Gabriel Mugabe, from both the ruling party and government, in early November 2017 – leading to him, too, fleeing the country to neighboring South Africa – in spite of having appeared a towering and immensely powerful entity in the country, who managed to instil fear in the citizens.
Of course, he did not stay long in self-imposed exile, but returned to take over the country’s presidency, after the military intervention, that ousted Mugabe.
Quite clearly, there is a pattern here.
It is apparent that, those who appear to wield unparalleled power – and, have a disturbing tendency of abusing this, as a means of sadistically and savagely subjugating their fellow countrymen and women, with abundant impunity – can not stand the heat when the tables are turned against them, and will swiftly head for the hills, whenever they perceive any substantial threat.
This has been a common trend in world history – and, will not be changing any time soon.
The question, then, is – why are these seemingly untouchable and invincible leaders so prone to running away, whenever danger comes their way?
Are they not supposed to be these powerful, brave, and unmovable giants – who would even kill a lion with their bare hands?
Well, as it turns out, the answer is a resounding – NO.
If there is one thing most people may not know about such leaders – who have no qualms, at all, unleashing their reign of terror upon a weaker and more fragile people – is that, they are nothing more than classic bullies.
As someone who experienced being bullied in my childhood – especially, from Early Childhood Development (ECD), which we called creche, in those days, up to my first years of primary school – there is one thing that I quickly learnt about such cruel and barbaric people…they are, in actual fact, cowards, who only have the guts to take advantage of those less powerful than themselves, but quicky turn around, when confronted by someone their own size (or, bigger).
Having endured daily nightmares at the hands of my own tormentors – who would not even mind harassing me even at the gate of our home, as long as they were sure I was alone – I realized, later, that, once I bravely stood up for myself (although, initially it was only feigned boldness), they did not waste any more time on me, but actually fled.
I was never violent – as all my life, I have always had a strong disdain for any measure of physical conflict – but, I learnt never to yield to their demands, to stand my ground, and to say, “NO” – regardless of the consequences.
That was all it took to ward off these social miscreants – and, that is, similarly, what it takes to send a dictator running for the hills, or seeking shelter in a bunker, or crawling into a hole, or running away from his own country.
It might not work the first time, or the second, or even the third – since, the bully will naturally resort to his old tricks of lashing out, and instilling fear – but, the key is never to falter, and never to surrender on one’s principles…and, the bully will eventually stand down, once he sees that the once weaker people, have truly reclaimed their power, and will never relent.
The brave people of eSwatini have discovered this simple truth about the psychological profile of any bully – they are mere cowards, who survive on, and, even derive a perverted thrill from, tormenting those who are weaker than themselves – in order to mask their own ingrained fears and weaknesses.
It is a coping mechanism, through over-compansation – as they would want to cover up their own inadequacies and cowardice, by putting on a charade of being “strongmen”.
That is why, they will always hide behind the might of the country’s weaponized security forces – and, just like an armed robber, without these guns, a dictator is an absolute nobody.
It is commom knowledge that, only those who have been brought up with high levels self-esteem, invite and are comfortable with criticism and chastisement from those around them, or those they lead.
If only other nations would know such facts about their own tyrannical leaders, they would never allow themselves to be trampled upon, or have their rights ridden roughshod over – by people whose own ingrained fears and lack of self-confidence, make them lash out at any who may criticize, rebuke, or condemn them.
That is why I love a common biblical verse – submit to the Lord, resist the devil, and he will flee.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, author, and political commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263733399640, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org