Need for a brain implant for Macky Sall
By Idang Alibi
This piece was written on a wave of inspiration as soon as Macky Sall was elected president of Senegal in April. However, because of competing demands of events for commentary, I wrote on what I considered more important and more topical issues at the time and completely forgot publishing this. While checking my system for something a few days ago, I ran into it, so to say. On re-reading it, I felt that it should see the light of day in spite of the fact that the event which inspired it took place some four months ago. I feel that in our continuing search for a solution to the peculiar behaviour of African leaders who feel extremely reluctant to leave power when their time is up, the modest proposal in this piece is very timely and relevant. The tone may sound sarcastic but I am deadly serious about the idea. Please, share in my humble thought and let me have your comments, if you wish.
Many persons in the civilised democratic world have been falling on top of one another to congratulate Macky Sall on his victory over Abdoulaye Wade in the recent Senegalese presidential election. Many newspapers have written nice OP-ED pages articles and editorials celebrating the victory of democracy in Senegal. I do not share in the jubilation of these people. Before you consider me a kill-joy or a contrararian, hear me out first.
You see, I have been forged in the furnace of bitter disappointments by African political leaders. I have therefore learnt over the years not to be easily given to euphoric emotions concerning the emergence of an African political ‘hero’ because sooner or later, he will go the way of his predecessors. Remember, this Abdoulaye Wade who is now a villain was the same man we hailed as a hero ten or so years ago when after over twenty years in the cold as a dogged opposition leader, he defeated the then ‘tallestest’ president in Africa, Abdou Diof to become president.
Can you begin to understand my pessimism? The ‘hero’ you hail today may become worse than the ‘villain’ he succeeded only yesterday. That is why I have chosen to refrain from joining in the celebration of what happened in Senegal. I do not want to suffer any further disappointment from a hasty celebration of a so called hero who may well turn out a horrible villain.
One of the tricks I have learnt that has helped me to keep my sanity in the face of the poor, irresponsible and unconscionable political leadership in Africa is that I rarely write or say something effusive either in praise or in condemnation of anyone especially if such a person happens to be an emerging African leader. I have also learnt not to take side either in favour or against African leaders contending for power. I see none of them as either a hero or a villain. I just happen to believe that neither the one in power nor the other seeking to replace him is any better or worse than the other. I just hold unto the belief that they are all the same so why bother to take sides. To me, they are all like football coaches: either one is being fired or the other is waiting to be hired. We are yet to have the ‘’Special One’’ such as Mourinho who is either being begged to stay or being wooed to be hired because his achievements are too visible to be unnoticed.
I am not a political philosopher or physician but I have since come to a conclusion that African leaders seem to suffer from a peculiar political disease which makes them too readily disposed to discard all tenets and norms of democracy and want to subvert them as much as possible in order to satisfy their greed for political and ultimately, economic power. Sanctions, public outcry, political isolation and other forms of rebuke do not seem to be able to cure this peculiar disease which has had a very ruinous effect on the continent. I have therefore thought to myself that rather than celebrate the victory of any African leader at the polls, our concern for now should be to call on scientists from the Western world to help us (as usual) develop a serum, or a computer software or micro chip to be implanted in the brain of any African leader as soon as he takes office. The content of this implant should be high doses of democratic tenets and disposition, basic honesty, a sense of honour and integrity, frugality in the management of public funds and a strong anti-bodies against tribalism, nepotism and the proclivity to privatise the public realm or estates.
I humbly suggest that since the Americans and the Europeans say the love democracy so much and have shown practically that they don’t give a damn to use undemocratic means, namely their war planes and smart bombs to bomb out of existence any country they perceive is not practising this system as they did in Iraq and Libya, the task of developing this new ‘vaccine’ should naturally be given to them. After all, these people have developed sodium pentothal the so called truth serum which their intelligence agencies use to ferret out information from terrorists and other dangerous criminals. Ben Carson, that ‘gifted hand’ Black neuron- surgeon, should be recruited to do this implant. It should be administered as part of the oath of office ceremony of every incoming African president.
There is no use pretending about it: there is a gene in every African leader which makes them to be extremely reluctant to leave office once they get there. Perhaps we all inherited this gene from our ancestors who did not particularly love democracy, especially the brand favoured by the West. I remember the famous saying by the late Ivorien leader Houphet Boigny who was in power for over 30 years. He once famously said that ‘’a Bauole Chief does not know his successor’’. You see, apart from being president, Boigny was also a chief of his Bauole tribe and he did not see any distinction between the demands or ethos of the two offices. As the man was getting old, the people of Cote D’Ivoire who had embraced the notions of Western democracy were getting agitated as they could not see him grooming anyone to succeed him. What Mr. Boigny was saying in effect was that it was rude or impolite and possibly treasonable to talk of a new king when the old one is still on the throne! According to him, and other members of the tribe of African leaders, the man on the throne has to die first before you start thinking of a successor. You see what I mean?
Can you now, dear reader, understand why while everybody is seeking to congratulate Macky Sall, what I rather wish to be done for him and the continent is to give him an implant containing an anti-perpetuation-in-office vaccine! It should in fact become a standard practise in Africa that as soon as an African leader is elected, selected, anointed, appointed, imposed or installed in office by any method adopted, the best brain surgeons in the world are brought in to carry out a minor surgery and implant a tiny chip into his medulla oblongata. This chip will be removed after he has reached the end of his tenure and a successful pull-out ceremony is organised in his honour and to the immense relief of the entire continent.
I do not want to sound like a prophet of doom but permit me to say here that without such a serum administered on Macky Sall, by this time in the next five or ten years, we may again have cause to describe another person, perhaps that time around it would be the reggae super star Yossou Ndour, as the ‘’hero of Senegalese democracy’’.
I sincerely appeal to us to approach this matter in a most pragmatic manner. Since a genetic trait manifests in generations of offspring, I suggest that we appeal to the Americans to help us develop this serum as a matter of great urgency to stop this sit-tight virus from being passed on to succeeding generation of Africans. This serum should have active ingredients capable of fighting the virus which makes African leader unable to respect democratic tenets, norms and disposition. Once this serum or micro chip is implanted in the brain of an emerging African leader, it will perform the following functions: (1)continuously ring an alarm bell in the subconscious of its host each time he thinks of doing anything undemocratic (2)constantly dim a yellow light when his tenure is about to come to an end and persuade him not to do anything to subvert the letter and spirit of the Constitution and make him overstay his welcome (3) serially release into his bloodstream an acute hatred for power and instil in him a burning passion to perform for the benefit of the polity and the people (4) act like a still small voice warning, flattering and dissuading by saying for instance, ‘’oh mighty Macky Sall, take not the step thy contempleteth for it could lead to your downfall’’when the man thins of jailing an opposition figure or giving illegal orders that will lead to chaos and instability.
If we do not take this recommended humble step, I am afraid, we will continue to be called upon to celebrate the ‘’triumph of democracy’’ so many times that we will simply be tired of celebrating anything else is this seeming woe-blighted continent of ours.