Image via WikipediaAfrica has seen the true colors of totalitarian rulers. Some were harsher than others. This system of rule may be described as the most brutal and inhuman form of all types of governance. Millions got killed, maimed, raped, and detained without judicial recourse since colonialism exited the African continent. Multitudes of Africans perished due to food deprivation; others were decimated by curable diseases; denial of basic necessities left unaccountable number reeling in abject poverty.
Colonialism gave birth to the legacies of neocolonialism and economic slavery, scientific socialism and communism. Africa’s totalitarian rulers finally embraced pseudo-democracy or hybrid democracy which came about as a result of Western pressure and the want of economic aid-aid that gradually trickled in with many strings attached.
Post colonial Africa was ruled with the barrel of the gun; African dictators preferred to rule while in military uniform-an irregular fear-instilling dress that belonged to the barracks. Almost every African head of state preferred to be called “His Excellency” or “Mheshimiwa” in Kiswahili. Others were conferred on with the title of “Sir” by Her Majesty, the colonial master queen at-large. Former African colonies still remain orphans of their colonial masters. Calling an African president “Mr. President” was, in some countries, until recently, punishable by death by hanging until pronounced death. Some leaders admired the terms “Father of the Nation” or “Baba wa Taifa”, “Mzee” or “Victory Bearer”. Wives of head of state-regardless of health condition and physical appearance-took the title of "Mama” or “Mother of the Nation”. The title “First Lady” is a recent creation.
In preparation for a ceremonial event or delivery of address to the nation by the president, the national security apparatus embarked on wide-ranging skirmishes of executions and arbitrary arrests of innocent civilians days before the occassion. Suspects were shot at point blank range; people gathered around ramshackle diases hours before commencement of ceremonies; others lined-up along pot-holed roads waving olive branches in the scorching sun of the equator without food and water; expectant mothers, children, and the elderly got flushed out of their grass-thatched houses by dreaded security forces in riot gear.
School children rehearsed school choir choruses in praise of the president while drenched in perspiration, dehydrated and on empty stomachs. After thunderous applause, those heads of states who happened to be illiterate issued diktats or communiqués signed with their thumb prints.