“Most of what the African leader does is dictated by what the West wants and thinks. Then the African follows or pretends to cry foul. Africa is ruled and dictated to by the powerful West and all those who fail to recognise this are tempting the fate that has befallen Gaddafi.”.. Nicholas Sengoba, writing in the Ugandan Monitor
Bingu wa Muharika was handpicked by President Bakili Muluzi as his successor. His rise in the hierarchy had been uncommonly, unbelievably, swift. Bingu was entirely a product of Muluzi’s apparatus “a successor in the making”.
As with all African dictators the public rewriting of his political history began with the West.
The west welcomed him as the “Genuine Messiah” as he helped liberate the country from traps of poverty and corruption. The western world and international bodies showered Bingu with so many accolades.
This was because during Bingu’s first term in office the country achieved a high rate of agricultural production and security. He proved the west wrong with his stance on Agricultural subsidy.
As a result of his strong stand on Agricultural subsidy, his initiatives benefited approximately 1,700,000 smallholder farmers.
In the 2005/2006 crop season, Malawi achieved a food surplus of more than 500,000 metric tons but in 2008/2009 food surpluses topped 1.3 million metric tons.
Bingu’s first term was seen by the west as a broad political success. President Mutharika was credited with committing to and presiding over economic reform, fiscal restraint and ant-corruption measures.
The west decorated Bingu and made him a small god of himself. This is where a few years of public stability and continuous economic growth jostled and danced in the halo above Bingu’s head.
The former US ambassador to Tanzania Charles Stith said of Mutharika that he was “unwavering in his commitment to improve the plight of Malawi’s poor and he was one of Africa’s most courageous and conscientious leaders.” Little did the US ambassador know that Bingu was to give clear instructions to the Office of the President and cabinet that the Americans must be told that, “they should keep their money and should not macro manage Malawi”.
Britain’s high commissioner, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, described him as “becoming ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism” and was expelled in retaliation.
Most dictators in Africa were at first ranked highly by the West. Without mentioning their names, there is no single dictator in Africa who has not won praises from the west. It is these tributes that form rings in their heads and they start oppressing their subjects.
They use all sorts of words to cover up their wrong doings. Bingu once said, “And here am I, saying voluntary retirement, and yet I’m called an autocrat, I’m called a tyrant, I’m called anti-democratic. All these adjectives are not fair because things on the ground do not support these adjectives.”
But were things on the ground what Bingu said that were? No!
An example of the strength of how the West creates dictators in our people can be seen from President Joyce Banda’s remarks when she arrived from the USA.
Feeling high with Obama’s acclaims, she told the nation that she was the first leader to be invited to the White House. It was not important for President Joyce Banda to tell us that but if you read between the lines in her comment, she is in fact telling Malawians how important she is on the way to becoming a dictator.
It is startling how fast the west abandons dictators they created themselves. The list is endless.
Our advice to President Banda is that African politics unfortunately rests its feet on the West but how to walk with them is another thing.
Let not the commendations and glorifications from the West make you forget that you come from Domasi.
Extinguishing false conceptions through an awareness of reality is the practice of those seeking definite goodness.