Jun 14, 2014

Cults masquerading as political parties

June 10, 2014

I read about the way Americans came up with a law on corporate governance called the Sarbanese-Oxley Act and wished if something like that could happen in Africa.
I am not interested in the law itself, but in the way in which two individuals from two different political persuasions introduced Bills that eventually led to the landmark eponymous law.
Sox-online.com writes: “In 2002, Paul Sarbanes, a Democratic Senator from Maryland, and Michael Garver Oxley, a Republican Congressman from Ohio serving in the House of Representatives, each introduced Bills in their respective bodies that would result in legislation that would later bear their name. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 passed both houses by overwhelming margins; 423 to 3 in the House and 99 to 0 in the Senate.”
What struck me is the difference between this approach and the polarization in most African countries. The problem in most African nations is that instead of political parties, we have political cults. And these political cults are both from the ruling and opposition parties. Normally, the ruling and opposition cults are just two sides of the same coin.
In this type of cult politics, there is no democracy. Mythical divinity is woven around the leaders so that they are presented as infallible.
What they say goes. Those who disagree with them are either punished or ostracized and this causes splits in these cults as those who are ambitious move on to form their own cults. The cause is far from national development but to gain power for selfish ends.
In typical cult style, there is the holier-than-thou-attitude prevalent in these institutions that call themselves political parties. Their reasoning is: “It is either you are with us or against us.” These cults, both the ruling ones and the opposition, do not think nationally to say: “We are not together but what you say makes sense for national development.”
And the cult leaders, in both the ruling ones and the opposition, believe they own everything, the cult [party], the people and all the resources in the land [typical of the ruling cult leader].
These leaders are frighteningly self-centred. Rod Keller in “Grandiose sense of self”, says the cult leader “believes everything is owed to him as a right.
Preoccupied with his own fantasies, he must always be the center of attention. He presents himself as the “Ultimate One”: enlightened, a vehicle of god, a genius, the leader of humankind, and sometimes the most humble of the humble. He has an insatiable need for adulation and attendance”.
With such cultist thinking, leaders of both the ruling and opposition cults will take no critics and want to force everyone to see the world through their own eyes. There is no room for compromise and so there is no room for outside ideas that may lead to development.
The ruling cult, to fortify its position, makes sure that what should be national institutions become part of the cult. The army, the police and the intelligence services become part of the cult. These are then used against the masses and dissenting voices [normally the voices of reason].
The cult leader can then rule and loot as s/he pleases under the protection of the army, the police and the intelligence services. Cults don’t think nationally and the ruling cults exhibit the same behavior.
They think about themselves only and anyone outside their cult is an enemy and should never be listened to. They also think national resources should only benefit members of the cult.
The opposition cults catch up too. Their obsession [judging from their statements and behaviour] is to replace the ruling cult. They don’t go beyond that to demonstrate that their intention is the development of the nation. In extreme cases they take up arms to advance their cause.
We have seen how in some nations, life became worse for citizens after opposition cults successfully removed the ruling cults either through the ballot or the gun.
Cults place themselves above everyone including the law. American political parties respect the country’s constitution that is why there is democracy.
In most parts of Africa the ruling cults place themselves above any laws including the constitution. They steal, rape, oppress and come up with unconstitutional laws to protect such type of behavior.
In short, Africa is still a long way from developing political parties that will eventually understand that politics should be a means to national development.
Political parties also accept rotation of leadership, something that cults in most parts of Africa don’t.
At the moment, the continent is stuck with cults masquerading as political parties to achieve their own selfish ends. That is why most African states are regressing. As long as Africa is led by cults, there will never be unity.