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Dictatorships Too Stubborn to Reform…,They’re Overthrown

BY: Deng Vanang, South Sudanese, MAY/14/2019, SSN;

History is replete with several failed attempts to democratize dictatorships, with Africa and particularly East Africa not an exception. These repeated failures rightfully set in motion popularly resonating emotional frustrations which necessitate violent regime change.

Regardless of the kind of dictatorship may profess itself, a revolutionary insurrection seems more rewarding than ever since the spontaneous rise of Africa’s independence renaissance back in 1960’s. However such sweeping revolutionary changes have spared a few dozens of African states.

Among them Tanzania and the island nation of Mauritius in the East, Botswana and Zambia in the South, Senegal and the island nation of Cape Verde in the West that peacefully transitioned from one stable single party to multiparty democracy.

Two constitutional monarchies in Morocco in the North and Swaziland {now eSwatini} in the South have ever since independence offered their citizens a guaranteed political stability and economic development in the midst of turbulence through traditionally styled up leadership.

Varied and much talked about strains of dictatorship which have given the rest of Africa a crazy run for existence are democratic centralism, authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorships.

Democratic centralism, Chinese style, is the type of Leninist organizational system in which policy is formulated centrally at higher level and is forcefully binding on all citizens at lower rungs of society.

It is slightly different from authoritarian dictatorship as one in which political power is concentrated in a leader, people are indirectly forced to elect on account of his ever assertively exclusive, unaccountable and arbitrary power.

While totalitarian dictatorship is the most savage form of dictatorship in which political authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life, with individual citizens being subordinated to the state as opposing political and cultural expression is brutally suppressed.

One trying to democratically reform any of those rooted dictatorships normally runs the risk of getting eliminated or luckily exiled.

In addition to being physically punishing process to reform which assumes a life time adventure that cuts through countless generations before the actual goal is realized or vanished altogether.

It is the goal which more often materializes long after the founders are gone to the Maker.

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This can be said of strong-headed types who have to resist a string of compromising baits and co-option into the allegiance with cash, positions or both.

These principled fellows, not the faint-hearted and materially possessed chaps, include the daredevil critics who put themselves at liberty to face victor’s justice head on.

With a whole host of countless challenges to face like wrestling with poverty, losing lives, jobs, families and dignity.

For they are, instead, totally immersed in a stoic philosophy stating when injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes a civic duty.

Their selfless sacrifice puts them miles apart from harmless human rights activists the regime mercifully left to make noise for daily bread and butter so as to justify its claimed democratic credentials.

Tangible reason why it is more expensive and nearly impossible to reform dictatorships than to oust them cheaply through either popular uprising or bloody insurgency is three-pronged.

Absolute control over tamed civil population is the sole lifeline prolonging dictators’ intransigence.

While the otherwise civil resistance to the raging opposition is deemed a sheer naivety.

Secondly, even if civil resistance triumphs, civil reforms are naturally more accommodating in line with reconciliation than assertive to completely overhaul an entrenched dictatorship.

And neither do they transplant deep rooted bureaucrats most of whom being the apologists of the old and still sitting dictator, particularly when retained at the top by partial reforms.

Since he is still the man to whom the bureaucrats are loyal as the full pledged or quasi appointing authority to torpedo change at the bottom where adverse effects of his ruthlessness hurt the most.

Third most complex reason along the way is dictators’ potent fear for retributive justice when out of power.

As every dictator is always conscious of atrocities he committed, making him solidly insulated in the reins of protective power.

Dictators relinquishing power happen far and in between accidentally either through death or forceful dethronement.

Their mortal fear to back down is due to high stake consequences with either total loss of power or loosening of grips on it.

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That frantically brings into focus the arbitrary powers of security forces and kangaroo courts.

For dictators know only too well vengeance is more painful than the harmful act they previously exacted on their victims.

Host of other dire consequences as commonly known to many include loss of coveted trappings of power and possible persecution for atrocities they committed.

To be followed by degenerating loneliness in retirement or in deplorable jail conditions courtesy of past socio-political and economic ills.

Additional misfortune they rue happening to them is exile into foreign land, probably for life, away from their closest acquaintances and most of their cherished loots.

Needless to mention recovery or freezing of all assets in offshore accounts they have swindled from miserable folks they drove into an abject poverty and abysmal despair while in power.

Comparatively unlike the past, present day dictatorships are even more stubborn prototypes.

Much as increasingly growing powerful in tentacles and so deeply entrenched in throes of power in more than just one way.

One of which is blackmailing with resources world powers intending to keep tabs on gross human rights abuses.

Highly connected individuals to political echelons in those countries than fight dictatorship, become roundly compromised and co-opted through lucrative real estate contracts and sweat -free cash.

Public Relations and lobby firms in those world powers are as well roped in by burgeoning dictatorships as trusted allies in furtherance of the regimes’ shelf lives.

These firms are simply criminal syndicates of bribery networks through which monies are channeled to refurbish dictatorial regimes’ battered images abroad and change built-in negative perceptions towards them there.

Globetrotting with an empty truth to win politically and diplomatically is therefore an already doomed diplomacy’s old school in which a cleverer opposition cannot afford to register for a quick fix solution and desired success.

Competition for control of developing world’s unexploited mineral resources among world powers is the third and last reason as to why sustained crusade against dictatorships is either loosening or being lost altogether.

China has already set the direction towards which rest of the world is now gravitating in as far as newly emerging unipolar or one way traffic world is concerned.

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One that sees no incentive in democratic pursuits, while condoning dictatorial practices is rather more rewarding for its inhumane cause.

This currently trending political order is hinged on winning more resources rich countries to translate into spheres of influence in terms of neo-economic, political and cultural imperialism.

The current galaxy of descending Western leaders on Africa to reclaim once lost strategic spots is an indicative of how global politics have shifted from ideological persuasions to a singular interest-based economic dominance, contrary to the past bipolar world when pro-capitalist western bloc checkmated pro-communist Eastern bloc.

Now with two ideological blocs having technically merged into a single international monopoly capital, democracy is no longer an attractive agenda item on the wish list as the pre-requisite to do business in the developing world.

Albeit the fact that the latter is hugely benefitting economic wise from competing wheeler-dealers’ market forces of both supply and demand.

Only viable reprieve for those interested in real transformative approach is to embark on mass sensitization, mobilization and full-scale recruitment of nonsensical vanguards into the cause of revolutionary regime change.

Afterwards, frog-match the regime to the negotiating table at their own dictates to fully realize democratic reforms agenda.

Or else they takeover militarily and hastily craft a government of national unity over unpopular regime’s dead body.

The new government should be inclusive of all political and social institutions that matter, while concurrently implementing democratic reforms based on a truly holistic anti-graft and exclusivist crusade.

As truly instituted social healing platforms are thrown into the works alongside introduced political and economic equity based on federal system of governance that gears towards formulating instruments of political legitimization that instill confidence in the local populace and probably beyond.

Whose end result is complete isolation of the – would – be still holdout vociferous orphans of the vanquished regime and a few paid up foreign backers.

Deng Vanang is a political analyst, journalist and Author

He is cordially reachable at: dvanang@gmail.com

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