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Feature Article of Sunday, 22 January 2012

Columnist: Osabuté, K. B.

War on ‘outrageous’ powers of President, from Kwame Nkrumah-

US President Obama..?

Milan-Italy--A political analyst has called for urgent constitutional reviews and amendments to restructure African political system, as a means to reduce excessive Presidential powers, violating accepted standard of decency and International norms.

The analyst, Kwaku Boatin, points out that, extreme nature of powers invested in Presidents in Africa, have erased protective constitutional lines, guarding jealously, the independence of Parliament, protecting the Judiciary/Police and shielding the Press, the 4th estate under constitutional arrangements, from Executive onslaught and interference.

Speaking at the meeting of the newly formed African cultural Society, the ‘Friends’, he says: “the type of political blue-prints left behind by the African colonial governments, , including British, French, Portuguese, after de-colonization process, were designed to guide governance and to direct rulers to govern in dignity and respect, especially ensuring, among others, protection of Liberty, proper maintenance of law and order, guaranteeing fundamental human rights , promoting transparency and accountability .

“Now, what we’ve in Africa is the tail end of the coin with the head turned up-side down: in the corridors of 10 Downing Street, Avenue des Champs-Élysées, US senate, or Russia’s Kremlin, Africans and their rulers are targets of covert murmur of laughter and scorn; a mix nature of amusement/sadness and tagged with disparaging remarks of incompetence, greed and avarice:

“Such list of flaws have turned Africa into ‘a type of a lost continent’, always globe- trotting with calabash in hand, to beg for aid, monies belonging to hard pressed foreign tax-payers, and disgracefully, for food—this shameful act, which has been running over 2 score plus 10 years of African self-determination”.

Corruption—nuclear time bomb?

Narrating this sad trends of affairs on the African political scene, Kwaku, as he’s often called, says, because of the entailing extremity of power invested in executive Presidents in Africa since departure of colonial governments, these sort of powers have corrupted leaders, ruling not like servants of the people, but as “tin-Gods” and have misused/misapplied authority, turning political ‘blue-prints’ entrusted to them into something worse than that of nuclear bombs.

“When the child is born and parents cannot afford to buy milk, while millions of public funds are diverted into private pockets, and some vanished from public treasury due to institutionalized corruption, how do you term this: simply worse case of genocide”?

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Autocracy or Fascism ?

Quoting some of reports on the rule of African Presidents, Kwaku cites alleged accounts published on, Houphouet-Boigny; during the time of his death, his personal wealth was estimated between 7-11 billion US dollars: he moved the country's capital, Abidjan to his hometown of Yamoussoukro, and built the world's largest church there, the Basilica of Our Lady Peace at huge a cost of US$300 million. At the time of his death, he was the longest-serving leader in Africa's history and the third longest-serving leader in the world, after Fidel Castro of Cuba.

On autocratic rules perpetrated by some of the 1st. Black African head of states like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Houphouet-Boigny of Ivory Coast, Leopard Senghor of Senegal, Sékou Touré of Guinea-Conakry, Mathieu Kerekou of Dahomey, John Bédel Bokasa of Central African Republic and the maverick Mobutu, Kwaku says, “such rulers used their intelligence, but did not apply wisdom, to undermine constitutional arrangements, with some, introducing single political party systems.

“They manipulated the system to initiate covert extra- judicial killings by using state apparatus, state death squads, pioneered /initiated lethal statues of preventive detention laws, which have no due process of law ,to maim/torture and imprison their political opponents; apart from amassing illegal wealth ($ billions)— organized raping/raiding and emptying the public treasuries , with impunity.

Attack on Press Freedom…

“What has changed? since de-colonialisation, what we have had in place in African politics are combined structures of Stalin/Hitler fascist rule, which allowed the governors to rule with impunity, with no respect for the basic fundamental rights of the individual, with devilish/calculated strategy to undermine hard-won freedom, justice , free speech, and also denying Press Freedom.

“such Third Reich structures, reminiscent to the days of Hitler/Stalin/Franco, have rendered parliamentary systems, impotent, turning them into mere “rubber-stamps”, and becoming laughing stock on the political scene: a sort of window-type of dressing”, adding, should we not agree more with European-American opinions and political commentators, posing questions as to whether the black man is qualified to rule”.

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Military Intervention-French style...

Mentioning the upheavals which led to the quick intervention of Impeccable French President Sarkozy, leading to overthrow of Kaddafi, and his subsequent death, Kwaku says, countries like Gabon ruled by Bongos for over 4 decades, Togo rule by the Eyademas for over half-a-century now and that of Kabila of Congo, are all trotting on the path of defunct maverick ex- ruler, Bokasa of Central African republic, (who crowned himself as Emperor); These Presidents have dug in to remain in power in a covert Monarch system, from “Papa to son heritage”.,

(The U.S. President, Obama had a coveted private meeting with President Ali Bongo of Gabon in the Oval Office despite his alleged appalling track record; his visit attracting high press criticisms. (ABC channel in one of its commentaries allegedly claimed; The family that has ruled the African nation of Gabon for decades has been accused of taking bribes, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars, and presiding over a system rife with corruption, but that hasn't stopped President Obama from inviting President Ali Bongo of Gabon to the White House Thursday).

(The then, White House press secretary Jay Carney conceded to ABC News that President Bongo has a "less than sterling" record, but said that it was "very important" for President Obama to grant Bongo the coveted Oval Office meeting anyway).

Sweet Taste of Motorcades?

“Others like Dos Santos of Angola, reported to have selected his right hand man, Manuel Vicente to take over the Presidency; the selection, instead of elections, being done as a cover to protect him (Dos Santos) and his family’s amassed wealth and assets, after 33 years of rule. Cameroon’s Biya, in power since 1982 and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has been clinching to power, despite his autocratic ruling for over 3 decades: sweet taste of motorcades?

Questioned on military rulers who upset constitutional arrangements, he replied: “these are mere adventurists, whose names are not worth mentioning or having their names recorded in history: don’t think history will be kind to them.

“ Arab awaking dubbed Arab spring, raises high alarm for African to be wide awake, a sort of a wake-up call, for Africans to wake up from that deep slumber to protect the remaining minor resources, and ensure that, such resources were utilized for their social and economic well being, by tightly holding politicians accountable.”

End.

From: K.B. Osabuté, Milan-Italy

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