Dictatorship arises when you allow it

POWER mongering mocks democracy and all the good it stands for.

Power demagogues have extensively messed up the world in the name of defending the fundamental principles of democracy.

Democracy is under siege from self-proclaimed democrats. This sounds self-contradictory but it is nevertheless like that.

Dictatorships have crippled the African continent and dealt serious blows to the democratisation project in that we are still suffering from the ripple effects as a result of their legacy.

Power-hungry individuals always argue that it is politically suicidal to frequently change leadership because that destroys continuity and maturity of leadership.

Their point is that the same leadership should continue to be at the helm in order to concretise stability, maturity, vision and clear and informed direction.

To a certain degree, this thinking is correct.

But there are dire consequences that result from this assertion.

To begin with, it should be strongly stated that leadership should not become a monopoly held by certain individuals within their organisations.

There are no individuals born to be leaders: leaders are produced and nurtured by the society from where they come from.

This means that all human beings have the potential to become leaders.

It is therefore hogwash to argue that "So and So" should be allowed to captain organisations on the fallacious basis that they are born leaders.

It is reasoning like this that breeds sadistic power-drunk dictators like George W Bush, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Mobutu Sese Seko, Adolf Hitler, Sha Batista, Joseph Stalin, Sani Abacha, Chiang Kai-Shek and a host of other cannibals that have visited planet Earth.

We should seriously initiate a dialogue on this phenomenon of permanent leadership in our society as it has reached pandemic proportions.

Constitutions should not be drafted in a manner that creates loopholes for manipulation.

Currently, most constitutions unconsciously condone permanent leadership.

We should not forget that power corrupts and permanent power corrupts permanently and absolutely.

Some leaders become so overwhelmed by and obsessed with power that it becomes to them unthinkable to relinquish it.

They become obsessed and subsequently believe, that it was preordained that they would wield power in perpetuity.

In order to protect themselves, they create cliques and cabals comprised of sycophants and praise singers who will do anything to defend the status quo.

Such leaders become excessively paranoid and thrive on factionalism.

As a result of this organisational anomaly, internal debate is vehemently discouraged and all those that engage in ideas and intellectual critique are labelled, marginalised and eventually silenced.

It is my considered view that we need to defeat the lack of political consciousness among the citizenry that has made dictatorships thrive.

Political docility and timidity should be seriously discouraged for it is through such that political dictatorship is allowed to reign supreme.

l The writer is an independent political commentator