This is about African leaders who simply do not care

So, another one bites the dust, just as the band Queen says in its song.

So, another one bites the dust, just as the band Queen says in its song.

I like this British rock band just as I did its late frontman Freddie Mercury.

But I am not eulogising Mercury nor his ensemble because that would take the whole space as I am a fanatic.

It is this year, 2008, that I am talking about which is biting the dust.

Luckily, my licence allows me to reflect only on me and the year gone by. I know this may not sound like a prelude to a great novella, but a simple review of another year gone by.

As I write this it is almost two months since I returned to the newsroom after eight weeks in hospital and convalescence.

I suffer from a chronic spinal condition that has become part of me.

The attendant pain had been so much that any brief respite raised my antennae. Imagine feeling strange after waking up to a pain-free day.

Well, that has happened to me.

You see all my life has been pain, pain, pain and more pain.

Sophisticated operations were performed but the pain did not go away.

Therefore, I think my harassed, or is it harangued, neurologist Professor Girish Modi got rather fed up with my condition.

When he admitted me to his clinic this last time he indeed expressed how this condition irked him. Modi performed what he called a "neck manipulation" procedure.

I sense he hates the word "operation" because when I asked him what the procedure meant, he said it was to do away with the pain. But he never told me the nitty-gritty of how it would be done.

This left me with all sorts of images spinning in my agitated mind. I thought he was going to turn my neck around or put it in a dog-like collar or something more ghastly.

Alas, the procedure took less than 15 minutes in the operating theatre, after which I was pain free.

I am still trying to walk properly again after all these years. I even bought an exercise bicycle from which I fall more times than I cycle.

This is enough about me and my 2008.

Watch this space in 2009.

Pause, think about those people who have spent this and all the other years not only in physical pain but who endure the stress of not having a roof above their heads, fending for their children and who simply have no hope at all of making it until tomorrow.

I am pained by images that leap from my television set of children sucking their mothers' empty breasts in Zimbabwe and Somalia.

All this because African leaders have no inkling what suffering is.

They have stopped leading and are plundering the continent with impunity.

Yes, my pain is only physical. I have a house, a family and may not even finish my plate of food when children grope for maize seeds with their bare little hands only across the Limpopo.

All this because of the grand standing of people who have lost their status as heroes of the continent's liberation from colonialists.

I can only wish for a better 2009 and the worst plague on the likes of Mugabe, his cohorts and apologists, whoever and wherever they are.