“What life has taught me” is a title of a book I have just re-read; written by a certain African President in which he decried corruption and bad governance, with particular reference to our beloved continent, Africa. In fact, the president’s essay is brilliant and pertinent. After having served in various positions of his country’s government, he published the book in 1984, only a year before becoming President of the same West African country.
Unfortunately, his governance did not at all stand the test of his writing; kind of: “do as I say, not as I do”. He did not at all internalize the lesson that life had taught him. When faced by the cries of his people against the corruption and mismanagement of his ministers and officials, the President’s infamous reaction was: “na ya dei tai goat, na ya dei eat” literally translated as “where one ties a goat, is where it eats” or, in my mother tongue, “woosiba embuzi, weeriira”. I had better leave it to you to draw conclusions from that President’s reflection.
I happened to be posted in that country the very year that the President passed on, leaving behind a country in ruins. I remember a whole year going by without any nationally generated electricity. Individuals and companies depended on self-generated electricity through solar or diesel.
What I find so sad is that our leaders and those in positions of responsibility at various levels know what is right but do the contrary. They fail to consider the well being of their people, their country, departments or institutions, laying all the emphasis on their own microscopic personal interests. A sad coincidence is that the president’s book was published in the very year depicted by George Orwell’s 1984!