Too many African leaders are holding back their citizens through fear, fear of violence, imprisonment on vague reasons, executions disguised as death sentences that mostly haven’t been judged by a court or are according the law. Some countries call themselves democracies and people are free to speak their minds as long as they agree with the leader.
A leader who feels the urge to oppress his citizens one way or another is afraid of them. He would never admit it, even to himself, but he is afraid – otherwise he wouldn’t act the way he does.
So why would he want to become the leader of his country? Obviously not for the common good or for a great vision to accomplish something wonderful for his country.
He has his eye on the target – the power!
Imagine being the one who decides over everything; life and death, richness and poverty, joy or sadness.
Imagine being the one who picks all the good stuff from the cake of the country and leaves crumbs for others to feed on.
Hmmm… a good, juicy fresh cake with whipped cream, fresh fruits, chocolate and whatever you wish! You are the leader, so you can decide exactly what you wish to have, others have to bend to your will. Isn’t that wonderful?
If the leader was a Muslim he could have several wives and he could afford it because he didn’t have to pay for their expenses.
Isn’t that great? The country pays for the expenses of the wives; their fancy clothes, expensive sunglasses, skin bleaching creams, hand bags, shoes, perfumes and everything they wish.
The wives can give birth to many kids and none of the wives need to bother about how to pay for their feeding, clothing, school fees and books and other necessities.
Every month, a lot of money is paid into the account, and if it’s not enough, there are always ways to find more money.
How tempting it must be to have the keys to the treasure chest, opening it to take a quick peek! How tempting it must be to suddenly have a lot of millions in your account and to misuse the power you have through your spouse and not tell where the money came from.
Maybe you think you deserve them, you are the wife of the leader of the country. You deserve some benefits too, isn’t that what you think?
You don’t have any obligation to explain anything to these small-minded ignorant people, they wouldn’t understand it anyway.
Isn’t that what you think? Sorry to say this, but these people are sprung from the same soil as you.
Most of them have the same low level of education as you. Seeing this and doing nothing about it is shameful.
Using your position for your own purposes is shameful. Being a wife, the first or some other number, is not an achievement, no one voted for you. You are not the chosen one, only your husband is.
Your obligation is to support your husband and to be a role model for other women.
You could do a lot in your role, you could be an inspiration, but if your only focus is yourself and what you can gain, you are a shame for your country.
There are different kinds of fear, not only those I mentioned at the beginning of this article. The fear of getting caught, the fear of people’s reactions when they find out the truth about you.
The fear of others realising that you are nothing special – that you are a human being behind your mask.
Some of our leaders like to have a lot of fancy titles, they call themselves doctor even if they don’t know how to attach a band aid on a finger.
They invent new titles if none of the old ones are great enough and they expect people to mention all of the titles or they will be very cross.
That is vanity and just reflects what a shallow person the leader is.
Actions speak louder than words, so a leader who has the urge to brag about himself has in reality, not achieved almost anything.
A true leader doesn’t need to be patted on the back all the time.
A true leader doesn’t need to buy his followers, they will follow him anyway.
If you feel that you have to buy gifts for people in your fan club, they will leave you when they find someone who gives them better gifts.
They wouldn’t stay with you unless they hoped to gain something from you, it is pitiful if you don’t understand that.
Fear feeds fear in many ways, it makes you distance yourself from others.
It makes you doubt others and their intentions, you fear a threat that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the reality. The distance created by your fear makes you very lonely.
In this loneliness, you have a lot of time to think and because you fear to show your vulnerability, you don’t share your thoughts with anyone.
As a man, you are supposed to be fearless and strong, but all humans are afraid sometimes.
Your gender has nothing to do with it, it is only the tradition that tells you how to behave. If you are lucky, you might be able to share these thoughts with your spouse, but your fear is prevents you from speaking to her about it.
You don’t want to appear as a lesser of a man, so you bite your tongue and keep silent.
This silence grows inside you, makes your mind blow and your anger grow. People surrounding you fear your temper and because of your position they are afraid of what you can do to them if they upset you.
Fear feeds fear. A lack of communication can create an environment where people don’t feel secure to raise uncomfortable issues. A leader who fears to show his ignorance hides behind his prestige and that prestige is extremely important for him.
No one is allowed to question him because deep inside he fears they will see him through. What if they finds out that he doesn’t have answers to all their questions? What if he doesn’t have any visions or plans for his country? What if he is more or less accidentally placed on the throne and doesn’t know what to do? What would happen if he turned out to be a normal man, with hopes and doubts as everyone else?
A wise man would never be ashamed to take advice from others. He would choose the right people to surround him and he would respect their opinions and advices even if he wouldn’t always agree with them.
A wise man, a wise leader, would speak to his people and show that he is there for them – no matter the political party. All citizens should be considered equal, but are they? What about The Gambia? Do you feel that your president is interested in being a leader for all the citizens? Do you feel looked after, seen, listened to or respected? The taste of power is so sweet.
Just the thought of letting go off the bosom of Mother Africa must be the reason why it is so important to stay for two more years at the helm. A little more can be sucked out before if it is time to become weaned.
Hiding behind prestige, far away from common people, far away from all the disappointed citizens who had seen their hopes and dreams waned, the president sits on his throne with his fingers in his ears.
If you pretend hard enough that you don’t hear anything it might come true. The problem is that the fear has grown, so the day the president leaves his throne the pile of questions and disappointments will fall over him.
As he has been hiding, he has lost his arguments and has no strength left for dealing with the issues that have grown around him.
It is time to realise that he has failed, no one can say anything else.
It is healthy to keep some distance to oneself, to stop for a while for some self reflection. Everyone should do that, no matter if you are a president or if you are a ferry driver on your way to Barra.
A lot of people fear the silence, they fear the thoughts that fill your mind as soon as you don’t fill it with a lot of less important stuff.
Do you know yourself ? Have you given yourself time to think about who you are and what you want to achieve? Are you satisfied with your life, and if not – what do you want to change? Thinking doesn’t cost you anything, you can do it while you are walking to work, peeling potatoes or doing the laundry. Even the smallest changes can feel huge if they improve your life a little bit.
Life doesn’t have to look the same year after year, use your creativity to make small changes. What holds you back is fear. Fear of the new, fear of what others might think, fear of failure.
For a common person, the failure doesn’t have to be a big thing, let people talk and know that they will soon find a new object to speak about.
Some of them were even jealous because you had the courage to try. For someone at the top, it can feel harder to fail, the expectations are larger from the surroundings.
That’s tough, but it’s a part of the game. Being at the top means that you are very well paid for your services.
Being at the top, and being very well paid, unfortunately also mean that you become greedy.
You know that what you do is wrong, it’s against Islam and against the law, but the temptation is so much stronger than the voice of your conscience.
You really want to appear as a good, pious and trustworthy person so you do everything you can to hide your true nature.
Your fear is covering you like a mask and the more you allow it to grow, the harder it will be to find the true person behind it.
You fear that the good days will end soon, so you make sure that you grab as much as possible while you have the opportunity.
The problem with this narrative is that your “good days” create a lot of “bad days” for common people. You know that and they know that too.
Do you fear their revenge?
Fear feeds more fear, that’s a scary fact!