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THE LAST WORD: The tragedy of borrowed ideas

In his book, Rogue Elephant, Harnessing the Power of India’s Unruly Democracy, Simon Denyer elaborates this point well. India’s corruption, like that of America and now Zuma’s South Africa, has entrenched itself through the financing of elections. For example, in India’s 2009 elections, voters elected 162 politicians who were facing criminal charges to the nation’s 545-member parliament, almost 30% of the total. Of these, 76 were facing charges of murder, rape and what is known as ‘dacoity’, crimes ranging from kidnapping to robbery and extortion.

Even more worryingly the numbers are rising: in the 2004 election, 128 members of parliament facing criminal charges had been elected, of whom 58 were charged with the so called “heinous crimes.” In 2012, Denyer went to cover elections in the state of Utter Pradesh. Of the 2000 candidates contesting for local elections in the state, 700 were facing criminal charges and 30 were running for office from jail. The problem is not democracy per se but an uncritical embrace of its procedures without taking into consideration the objective conditions in poor nations.

Zuma’s brazen form of thuggish politics is becoming normal even in developed countries. We have seen how Trump maintains his support base in spite of (and may be also because of) myriads of self-inflicted never-ending scandals involving nepotism, corruption and lies. This has baffled his opponents in the elite media and the republican establishment. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, rivals Trump and Zuma. He indulges in extra judicial killings and boasts about it. He makes crass jokes about raping women. Extremist parties are in ascendance in Europe.

South Africa’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, openly said South Africa is becoming a mafia state. This should remind us of then Vice President Gilbert Bukenya saying in 2005 that there is a mafia that has captured the state in Uganda. Zuma reacted to his critics inside ANC by warning them not to “push him too far” or else they “will see.”

While we should not be shocked, we should be surprised by Zuma’s success. We have seen how since Uganda entered the phase of electoral competition in 1996, pubic spirited politicians have progressively retreated from elective politics and openly corrupt ones taken charge. Kenyans used to think former President Daniel arap Moi was the kingpin of graft until Mwai Kibaki took it a notch higher. Now they complain that Uhuru Kenyatta’s government is the most corrupt in their history.

This is the story of most of democratic Africa – Ghana, Benin, Zambia, Senegal and Malawi. Corruption is the way the system works, not the way it fails. It acts as glue that holds the smouldering edifice of the multi ethnic state in Africa together. If Africa wants to improve governance, we must build our democratic procedures based on our circumstances, not on theory. But who will listen to this nonsense when democratic procedures that have been copied and pasted from our masters are treated with the faith we give Biblical and Koranic scriptures?

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amwenda@independent.co.ug

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10 comments

  1. Frightening eeehhh? There is your democracy; rule by mob.

  2. 1.Most of Africa is going thru a social,political and economic phase but we will one day have the last laugh. For now, i am 100% sure that we will be a laughing stock for some time e.g the Parliament of S.A has become a boxing ring( you must eat enough food for extra energy) S.A that was the champion of human has failed to live up to their word e.g as a result of the sharpervillie massacre ,Human Rights day is a public holiday its so ironic that Zuma and ANC whose founders championed these rights did not protect the Marilana miners coz of business interest,Zuma introduced a bill restricting freedom of speech, Julius Malema is advocating for blacks to grab land that does not belong to them,recently there was xenophobia no wonder the whites have left them to practice “their” democracy in the best way they understand.
    2.The whites in S.A have ventured in Business like Debeers mining company and Naspers (Media company) while our poor blacks as usual are active in parliament.
    3.@Rajab i read your comment defending Kyaapa Mu Ngalo tell me;(i) Have Ugandans asked for the kingdom’s help in land issues?(ii)Dont you see a conflict btwn the govt land office and that of the self stylized kingdom land board (iii) Why offer a lease for 49% is the world ending after 49 years according to the kingdom?(iv)The land we have is small it cant go round definitely if we follow the current craze for owning land,some generations will get nothing thats why in the past, elders were not selfish land was owned communally (v)Is the kyaapa Mu Ngalo targeting those with small plots or those with huge chucks of land?(vi)Every one has a heritage where did squatters come from i recently handled a land conflict in Kayunga and noted that the policy regarding squatters on land needs to be reviewed ; it was wrong from the start for govt to allocate land to someone who has lived in your land for 10yrs how do you tell that squatter x has lived in this land for 10 yrs?
    4.Women love men who are famous thats why they love Zuma.
    5.@Adhola,Trump is fed up of activists ,their workshops and their selfish interest that’s why he declined to be part of the environment deal he noted that every nation rides on USA’s back for financial support.

  3. I prefer only to comment on this “We have seen how Trump maintains his support base in spite of (and may be also because of) myriads of self-inflicted never-ending scandals involving nepotism, corruption and lies. This has baffled his opponents in the elite media and the republican establishment.”

    Mr. Old man of the clan, if at all as a Journalist you have been keenly following the current political affairs in the US you through balanced Media reports you will agree with me on the following facts.
    1. The US mainstream media mainly the liberal media is over 83% biased on Trump administration and have constantly championed a false conspiracy theory of the Russian meddling without any iota of evidence. (see the reports and testimonies by former Intelligence Chief of Obama Admin) and the recent study by Havard University. (Synopsis CNN 93% negative, NBC 93% Negative, CBS 91% negative, NYT 87% negative, Wpost 87% negative, WSJ 70% negative and the only media outlet u claim is championing Trump’s lies is Fox which is 52% negative) Don’t also forget the European News Outlets – ARD 98% negative, FTimes 84% Negative and BBC 74% negative). Talking of corruption, You and I know about the Clinton pay-to-play politics and how she mismanaged the state department and how all her lies were covered up by the Liberal mainstream media.

    2. Facts be told, all Trump family members in his administration actually including himself are not paid by US taxpayers money. Trump donates all his salary. Secondly, he is not the first person to use family members as advisers. Lets go back to 90s. Do you remember that Hillary was in charge of Healthcare in Clinton White House? Well, her efforts failed though and in the last campaign, she accepted that.

    3. Trump does not really tell lies as NYT and CNN has made everyone to believe. Trump is simply never politically correct making him a threat to both Media establishment and the political establishments mainly the globalists both Democrats and Republicans alike.

    4. Lastly, we all well know that HRC spent much more money in her campaign and got more big donors ($1.2b) than actually any Presidential Candidate in the US political History. Trump funded a reasonable percentage of his campaign (over $600m) and got much of his campaign funding from the common Americans who contributed on average ($40).

    Lastly, in my own opinion, if you read and listen to much of what the media tells you today you are misinformed and if you don’t you are uninformed. Biase in the media has become a norm.

  4. @Rajab let me help you understand the land saga in Ug.

    African migration and settlement of mankind ended long ago but why do land wrangles still exist in Uganda?Let me explain why they exist,how most squatters are fraudsters and why govt needs to own all land in disputed areas since there is no documentation they have no owners for real;In Kayunga the few squatters i interacted with were not Baganda yet they acted like they knew more about the land there .The little time i had with them, i realized that some of them were from West Nile which is about 600km from Buganda region they ended up in Kayunga coz Amin had ferried them to work in the Indian owned Tea and sugar plantations in Jinja and Lugazi which was not far from Kayunga (Amin forgot to send a bus to send them back to West Nile) do they deserve the land in Kayunga of course no.How did the the balaalo end up in Luweero yet in the 1980’s there was war?do they deserve to claim ownership of land in luweero of course no.Are the Bakiga right to own land in Kibaale of course no.

    It is good that Ugandans have realized that there is sex disorder in Human beings what Mukiibi did was bad when govt tells Dr.Stella Nyanzi to go for a mental check up they think govt is being hard on Ugandans Stella knows when obscene words should be said and with her PhD study in sex issues she should know why all men have radios its for information,music and stopping the wall from hearing some words.

  5. What does AM mean by his narrative vis-a-vis “human nature”, when he states that “Society is built on human nature, not human ideals”? In other words, Andrew is a Hobbesian, where human nature is brutish

    Therefore it is the brutes like: Jacob Zuma, Donald Trump and Museveni of this world that construct society.

    But what comes first, the human nature (Brutus) or the human ideal (love your neighbor as you love yourself? I get the impression that AM has a very confused value system.

  6. Take a look at Greece today !
    Some thing familiar as to where those guys get their ideas from !!

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