Those who ignore history repeat it
For me, all that matters is the ownership of the $900,000,000 which featured in the Panama Papers. At least we know that money is alive and kicking somewhere in an offshore bank. And has the same or other name appeared in the Paradise papers?
Are we learning anything from the Janneh Commission? Are our standards, systems and processes getting tightier, better, more foolproof than they were? Are we now observing due diligence in our financial transactions, across all levels? What about our transparency level now? Very high and clearer? Accountability is ineffective without transparency and there cannot be meaningful transparency without access to information….
Are we learning from the Janneh Comnission? Jammeh set up the Alghali(?) Commission and others but ended up “eating up” all the recommendations and learning no lessons. He hired unconscionable, spineless and rudderless men and women who only asked “how high should i jump”. Why they should jump, they never questioned. “No one dared question the Angel of Death” they now are wailing but forgot those days when they were “lords and ladies” and dropped the name of Jammeh to have their ways.
It is not just about the absence of standards, processes and procedures or their neglect in the greater part which we should enhance and jealously guard. We can strengthen these and put iron grids around them that men and women may not easily tamper with. Regardless we cannot fully protect these from men and women whose avarice for power and self aggrandizement are insatiable. To ensure probity, prudence and propriety, we need as “guardians” of the public treasury and people, men and women who do not have their prices; who would owe allegiance to the country, God and their conscience.
A people without a vision perish, say the Bible. So it is true for an organisation, a group or a Government. Vision, and being visionary; eyeing the horizon and not the bottomline, is what distinguishes leaders from followers. That ability to see farther than others…. But what is a nation without character; or rather one whose men and women of high social, academic, professional, political, economic and religious standings are destitute of integrity, morally bankrupt and absolutely rudderless? What is a nation whose gatekeepers of public offices and trust are spineless and can betray their trust for their own end or kow tow before their political superiors to deceive? What is a nation whose people place “I” first before “We” and where it is “Us vs Them”
Select wisely the men and women who should guard the laws, policies, procedures, standards and systems to bring about financial prudence and professional propriety. They can make or mar, build or destroy, strengthen or weaken. The recycling or retention of men and women of tainted past, of moral turpitude and professional insincerity is a sign that we might not be learning too much from the Janneh Commission. Beware the men and women who guard your inner gates.
And yes the evil that men and women do will always live after them; nay will pursue them here on earth and in the grave. Most men and women think this cliché is outworn and moth-eaten. It is not. It is standing the test of time, history and justice. For this, I will prefer a good name to riches, character to reputation, integrity to position. Time tested values and principles that continue to survive even after one’s death.
On Robert Mugabe
Ex-President Robert Gabriel Mugabe did his part for Africa. He put the fear of God into whites who owned African land like it was their birthright, and the ripples of that fear can still be felt in the defenses of the of the big conservatives today. But by holding onto power, he made Africa a laughing stock. Westerners used Mugabe to poke fun at Africa and the human reality of aging, and it was difficult to say anything. Just last Friday, one said, with an amused tone, that the problem with Mugabe is that he is old.
I said heck no, the problem is that he stayed too long in power. In Africa, we do not laugh at the elderly. Neither do the British, by the way, given that the Queen is still on the throne despite her aging son and even though her counterparts in the Europe, which they Br-exited, have retired.
Ex First Lady Grace Mugabe should have been like First lady Graca Machel. She should have helped Zimbabweans celebrate the final years of Mugabe, not parade him in front of the world and expose him to international ridicule, just so that she could take over power. I’m glad Mugabe finally resigned. It was painful to watch an elder treated that way.
And kudos to the people of Zimbabwe. They gone through these last years with dignity. Even when the AU and the West tried to tell them about Mugabe, they wouldn’t listen. Up to yesterday, a Zimbabwean demonstrator had a sign telling the AU to keep off. Zimbabweans were clear that they were going to do this transition their way
Watching the resignation of President Robert Mugabe. Celebrations in the streets. Sounds of freedom everywhere. It’s time to let the political dinosaurs go extinct? The old guard first republic political dinosaurs are tackling the 21st century problems with obsolete ideologies from the 19th century. Where is the future of the youth in Africa? What is the future of the young people in Zimbabwe, President Mugabe, the “alligator” 93 years old believed to be replaced by the “crocodile” a 75 years old former vice president Emmerson Munangawa.
The more things change, the more they stay the same! Zimbabwe is not yet out of the woods. Robert Mugabe sets and Emmerson Mnangagwa rises. Nothing more, nothing less. Munangagwa is as brutal as Mugabe. A complete new era of leadership is what is needed in Zimbabwe. One dictator replacing another dictator for no other reason than to continue the dictatorship and protect the interests of the few eaters. They were soul brothers until very recently. Former vice president Mnangagwa is responsible for the all social- political-economic atrocities committed in Zimbabwe rendering it a terribly failed state as much as Robert Mugabe.
Alagie Yorro Jallow
New York City