Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mandela: The Anti-Mugabe

It's hard to believe that there's anyone who isn't sick to death of the wall to wall adulation accorded to Mandela, particularly by the BBC. Now I admit that I've got a soft spot for Mandela. But I'll be honest, it's as much for what he's not done as for what he did do. I like Mandela because he didn't declare himself President for Life. Because he didn't raid South Africa's treasury and treat it like his personal bank account. Because Mandela didn't lock up his tribal and political opponents. Mandela didn't decide to blame every problem the country faced on "white settlers" or "colonial meddlers". He didn't hand power over to his children. He didn't say that Africans are too child-like to be trusted with democracy, or that Africans and elections don't mix. I like Mandela because he gave up power at the right time.

It's these non-achievements which mark him out as different and superior to most politicians. Mandela is great because he's not Robert Mugabe.

I doubt you'll see the media discuss his life and work in those terms, but it's what he didn't do that really marks him out for greatness.

Personally, I think the best thing for South Africa, and the thing to make permanent his legacy would be for the ANC to lose power at the next election. Already the corruption is endemic and there are plenty of 'liberation heroes' doing very nicely thank you, and who show no compunction in shifting the blame to other people for the problems the country is facing. A period out of power is exactly what's needed to halt the creeping Mugabism...

Now, if only we could shut the BBC up because the sycophancy and adulation have turned into aversion therapy.

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