Thu Oct 20 23:26:56 CAT 2016

our leaders are amazing

By unknown | Aug 28, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

IT IS a joke really that often when an African head of state dies his body is flown in from far-flung corners of our globe.

IT IS a joke really that often when an African head of state dies his body is flown in from far-flung corners of our globe.

Dying at home is not something our leaders like to do. Rumours abound that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has flown to Dubai to undergo treatment for prostate cancer.

Officials deny this but even if it is not true it has been true on other occasions.

While in the throes of a rigorous election campaign last year, Mugabe quietly left Harare for Beijing for medical treatment.

The actual basic test for prostate cancer was conducted in Singapore. Clearly this kind of healthcare is no longer available in his rundown hospitals.

He is not the only African leader who thinks services at home are not good enough for him and prefers the comfort and expert attention that his fellow country men and women can only dream of.

Recently, Africa's longest serving leader, Omar Bongo, died of complications from advanced intestinal cancer. He was in a clinic in Barcelona, Spain.

It is preposterous that in the 42 years of ruling Gabon he could not find an opportunity to build a healthcare system good enough to take care of him.

Zambia's late president Levy Mwanawasa, while committed to fighting government corruption in his country, died at the Percy Military Hospital in Paris last year.

It is not his fault that prior to that he had a stroke in Egypt - he couldn't have known that this would happen while he was out of his country and therefore needed urgent medical care.

But once Egyptian doctors had stopped the brain hemorrhage he was evacuated by air ambulance to France.

That's not all. In 1991 the late president suffered multiple body injuries from a serious accident that took place in Zambia. But guess where he was treated? Johannesburg!

His predecessor, Frederick Chiluba, also took time from his trial in 2006 to receive treatment in Johannesburg. We might not be Europe but the principle of choosing healthcare elsewhere because your very own is not good enough applies.

Earlier this year Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar'adua travelled to Germany for medical treatment. I have kindly shortened the list of current, former and late leaders who think Africa is not good enough for them, otherwise I'd need more space in this newspaper!

How many times do our leaders preach "African solutions for African problems" but quickly and quietly jet out to outside destinations to find solutions to their problems?

Before you argue that they have a right, like all of us, to get the best healthcare possible, consider that there is a fundamental difference between the choices that we as private citizens make and what is expected of any leader.

Many citizens of this continent do not even have the choice when it comes to services but have to make do with what is available.

Our leaders, on the other hand, can tolerate corruption and the misuse of state funds and yet choose the best for themselves.

They are lucky that they even have a choice.

It is so unpalatable that the people tasked with improving our lives and moving our continent from the grips of poverty to a new dawn, are letting us down.

By choosing services of other countries they are unwittingly endorsing the governments of those countries while indicting their own. They are loudly declaring their confidence in the management of foreign countries while admitting failure back home. What hypocrites!

Leading by example means they must walk the talk.

Clearly these leaders believe that the state of our hospitals and shortage of professionals is unacceptable but instead of galvanising into action so that a better life for all becomes a reality, they drag their feet in solving our problems and choose a different path for themselves.

I am sure governing a country is complex but you don't have to be an expert to see that the problem with our continent is not always a lack of resources and skills but the management thereof.


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