via A Tribute to the Leadership of Nelson Mandela December 8, 2013 By Andrew M Manyevere
Sleep in peace son of the African soil, sleep contently in the joy that we all have noted, you are a world citizen and loved humanity unreservedly. Pit has to be recorded on those who do not understand leadership and use it as a personal preserve to put to shame and humiliate their citizens scoring hate against supposedly enemies-citizens of their countries. The challenge you have left Elder Mandela is too big for remembrance only as a commemoration. I wish the world take measures so Africa TAKE COLLECTIVE ACTION ON improving leadership and review year after year for the next decade. If Africa, unlike the west, cannot keep growing giants of your stature Elder Mandela, should we blame our systems on governance, our past or the persisting in self-appointed leadership styled in dictatorship? A tall order and challenge it will turn out to be. Yet a relevant inquisition on settlement for a good leadership choice program for democracy denied African countries. These are issues arising as you go to sleep son of Africa.
Needless to question why all African leaders would prefer being at your farewell ceremony. It pains that many of the African leaders would want to appear at the ceremony as a diplomatic necessity empty on major implications of your walk to freedom on the future of the continent. For, as they leave their countries for South Africa, only one or perhaps none, were honesty elections taken of whether they should come back home or be taken into prison for crime against humanity, would be returned back to their countries. It is tragic to think if actually people prefer the choice of people who currently lead them. It further explains why the military budgets on the continent are the single biggest expense in most countries.
Unlike you Elder Mandela, most leaders on the continent have acted naively under pretext they are fighting against colonial influence and put both financial and lives of citizens at risk fighting wars that sustain regimes against their people wills. You objected when Congo support for Kabila senior was called. The tragic waste of resources then, would not happen if leaders chose free and fair election as a democratic way to settle on going political impasses in each country struggling. Close to thirty years you spend in would never be justified except as we draw comfort in the fact that you went searching for how people’s liberation could be improved as well as why African leadership is letting down the people? Is it any wonder that many of our African leaders have turned specialists at self-aggrandizement and building cult-veneration on self than at taking care of others? The failure of democracy on the continent appears underpinned on lack of accountability creating a massive contribution on dictatorship inclinations and behaviors. Those who watch you being laid to rest, and particularly many from the African continent, we neither have the understanding nor the love to pursue democratic practices which you stood for. Yet many even those who have in excess of thirty years in power, never fail to praise what you did. Politics cannot be measured from its falsehood and no wonder we cannot produce thinkers who argue for principles among leadership.
I actually wonder what contribution they can put on the table for African kids to learn and emulate. The world book stores are filled with literature on their failure than success stories, hence African leadership’s hatred for the western nations despite that they continue asking for financial aid. It is a pity Elder Mandela that you are not coming back because I know you would have settled scores with a few and perhaps even diplomatically ask them to leave than being associated with you. Death gives us new associates, some of whom we would have preferred to have nothing to do with were we to meet again.
The point is, you were very frank and open on matters affecting human suffering. Most of the African leadership cannot understand the persistent patience and your intellectual reasoning that made you a darling to all levels of humanity; starting with the down trodden, to the intellectuals and finally to all well-meaning politicians. Is it not amazing that four Canadian Prime Ministers are biding you farewell, including three retired who however had interacted on your case more during your time in prison as well as when you came out? I am not only talking of a one-on-one conversation, but on how much intelligence in lobbying to have you free and negotiate for a free South Africa. You had during your life time acknowledged Canada leadership role in helping South Africa resolve her political impasse. God has kept these men to witness not only your coming out of prison but your sleeping. Above all it can only be testimony to African leadership to change their blame-blame approach and be collaborative.
I recall you attending the Organization of African Unity (OAU now African Union-AU) but once. You took a pit at the level of thinking and did not like generally how some country leadership treated their citizens like prisoners. While many African leaders want to talk of their plight under colonial masters, none has been revered most than your story. Unlike many leaders on the continent who have sung songs of self-praise. You sung no songs on your suffering in prison ever, instead the world did it for you. You portrayed a mind of a man who suffered quietly with a mission clear in his heart even if you were to die in prison. We cannot compare these historical times without feeling guilty, because many of our leaders have failed to implement many of the issues you stood for, particularly your love and passion for humanity.
The advice you gave to many of the leaders on the continent was misconstrued for your failure to be in touch with modern politics in view of having spent many years in prison. This perhaps is the folly of African politics, that we cannot accept one another successes but to dwell for ever on the areas that destroy the benevolence and kindness on humanity. You received no single honour from Harare, Abuja, and Cairo …or the AU, while the world surrounded you with praise for the actual work on human freedom you shared and took pride in and to serve prison sentence for. You did it for us all Elder Mandela. It is for this reason that the world has turned up to come and bid you farewell.
The ordinary South African realizes that a vacuum is opened never again to be filled, in your manner of thinking, tolerance, teaching and pursuit of principle. While Canada displays high quality of leadership that stuck and still stick to principle on human rights, it is this philosophy of human rights respect which has made Canada outstanding in the world today in her none assuming way. Africa almost played down the God given achievement and the unique human care and love you naturally packaged to the world successfully. I pray to God that Africa be more self-promoting for those things which are good even if some of us feel let down and resend it. We can only build leadership from strong opposition of what is not right than condoning it. The same way the western leaders condemned each other during the debate on what is right and wrong when Nelson Mandela was in detention, so must we all speak fearlessly and without shame or favour in order to unyoke Africa and the world from the bondage that Nelson Mandela took many years in isolation to achieve its direction. The direction of love for one another is now made clearer as he is put to rest: Farewell Nelson Mandela, farewell son of the world from Africa.
People must be treated equal even when they have disparities in education, social status, material wealth, political power and have nothing but poverty. People must be treated equal and not trade their freedom with any one for anything under any pretext. This is what I have learnt from the selfless life of Elder Nelson Mandela. There is only one Jesus Christ of Nazareth and what he did, none will ever do. To find someone coming out of prison having served twenty seven years and never make it a cause of why others must give him place above themselves, is something Robert Mugabe has failed utterly to conceal. He is known for saying Zimbabwe is mine and all this is done under pretext of anger against external invasion. In comparison to Nelson Mandela and his disdain in emotional outbursts on matters of liberation ownership, humbles him and creates for him a place in the minds and hearts of people. Self-imposing imagery of many and current African dictators detracts the continent from contributions of characters like Mandela of South Africa, Mwalimu Nyerere of Tanzania, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Seretse Khama of Botswana… These are men who made significant contribution to the nationhood of countries, stability and huge people welfare roadmaps.
Africa has to learn from other nation’s actions so we do not just talk and refer to Mandela in the past. Mandela is more in the future than the past. Twenty seven years of isolation underline the quest for independence. To unlearn growing poor in methods of treating others less because of taking advantage of their incapacity, their inability and at worst their lack of education. Bill Clinton puts it very well, inter-alia when he says; “He (Mandela) taught us that none of us can ever be free at another’s expense.” (Friday 06, December 2013 MNS News on Famous quotes about Nelson Mandela). African leaders should not enjoy the freedom to acquire more wealth at the expense of the ordinary people in their countries? African leaders need not create deeper rifts in wealth ownership in order to retain grip over power. African leaders need not create oligopolies of power on tribes and divide countries into fragments ungovernable and unproductive so as to impose their draconian control. If our history as a continent will have more names of men and women who share their lives, then Africa will take a lip into millennium development.
For invoking such thinking and dialogue in the world, rest in peace Nelson Mandela soldier of peace, love and development.