Thursday, February 24, 2005

From "My story": Letter to the Togolese

On "My Story", I found the following letter regarding the current political crisis in Togo:
My story: Letter to the Togolese

"My argument is that the path to sustainable government lies in two things; a stable politics (in spite of its construction) and earnest and sustained efforts to raise the critical mass of the educated workforce by increasing the planned scope of opportunities for the population."
And here are the somewhat disjointed comments (I was impassioned, I appologize) that I posted on the message, and I wanted to share them here to gather some response.
Brother, I do agree with you, that Western forms of Democracy might not be applicable everywhere. I believe that the simple reason for that comes from the definiion of the word itself: "rule/government of the people". This means that any succesful democracy must be instaured through the participation, and implication of the people in the whole formative process, lest it be an unworkable imposition. So for that, you are right.
That said, using that agument to justify the regime of Eyadema as being the right one for Togo is a bit of a stretch. Eyadema stayed so long, not because his people wanted him there, but because he frightened, terrorized, imprisomed and murdered them into keeping him there for that long. I always find interesting how we dismiss the psychological impact a dictator can have on the people he/she rules, often creating a sense of hopelessness, helplessness and resignation. I come from Congo (Zaire), and I have seen it with another dictator who stayed almost as long: Mobutu Sese Seko, Father of the Nation, Guiding light of the people, Marshall of Zaire, etc. He did not stay because we liked him, but because people had gotten to the point where they believed they had no alternative. Not that the situation we have now is much better; but the people was never given the chance to actually decide for itself.

I can appreciate your position on the AU, and its leaders. But if Obasanjo has problems, what do you say about Alpha Oumar Konare, who - through the will of the people -took over from a dictatorship (in Mali), and left power when the constitution told him to. I believe, by all accounts, Mali is now a rising star in the continent in terms of stability. Never underestimate the power of the will of the people, when it is given a chance. And giving it a chance does mean providing education, training, and awareness, which take time. But the people of Togo has been on that process of self-liberation for quite a while. The only barrier is the Eyadema establishment, and now you are advocating that it is a good thing for them to contnue their blind allegiance to the very same people that have been mismanaging their country? Are you sure that the interest of the Togolese people is what you have in mind? Or maybe there is something I am not getting in your argument. Maybe you can clarify. Otherwise, I would take respect for the fundamental law of the land by ALL, over anything else.

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