Jeremiah Kure
Jeremiah Kure

Dear despot

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you.

I am convinced I cannot continue to address you as a leader, because you’re no longer one. You are a failure. You have messed up everything. Indeed, you have messed up with disastrous results!

Your people have been shamed all over the world. Their dignity is in tatters. They have braved the ravages of starvation on home soil and borne the brunt of death abroad. They have become a byword for all that is wrong with Africa.

Your nation is mentioned in the same breath as Congo and Darfur. How you came to share this bond with disrepute and misery is astounding. Most of all it is a bitter and sad indictment for one who started with so much hope and promise.

They used to revere you as far afield as Buckingham Palace. We understand the Queen herself made you a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Sir, you are now abhorred in every quarter of the free world. Every inch of the democratic press labels you by the same familiar terms — tyrant, dictator and despot. You would have fooled me when you said you are a liberator, a revered statesman and an illustrious leader. You have become a villain amongst those for whom you were once a hero.

The legacy you bequeath history will not be the one your propagandists have spewed out on your behalf. When God calls time on your reign, your people will remember you for the lies and distortions which flowed out of your embassies in foreign countries and through the media under your stranglehold. You will be remembered for your abject failures when the nation you helped to liberate fell into the bondage of your vicious grip. They will remember you for your murderous regime and shudder. I can assure you that for years to come the people you so systematically dehumanised, will lay awake deep into the night battling to wish away the nightmare that was.

For a long time, you had many spellbound by your oratory and intellect. Indeed, many of your own adored you. Many more were willing to put their hands to the plough and serve you in the noble endeavour of nation-building. But you disappointed them — every single one. You have destroyed the destiny of a whole generation through your relentless hold on power and unremitting campaign of fear.

The truth may be told, but it’s the lies you choose to believe. The sad reality in all of this is that you expect us to live the lie with you. We do not doubt neocolonialists thrive in our time. We do not question the reality of disaster capitalism and that its adherents continue to weave destabilisation into the fabric of African societies elsewhere on the continent. But the time to be right is long gone. You could have improved your argument, yet you chose to rant and rave while millions perished and a whole country was laid to waste.

Old oppressor, have you become hard of hearing? Your people have said no to your brutality. They refuse to be bussed to your rallies where you blame the West for their suffering.

Your soldiers ran amok in the streets, looting property and robbing from the very citizens they once pledged to protect and serve.

Do you not hear the souls of the innocents who have fallen to the ravages of cholera, Aids, tuberculosis, malaria and starvation under your watch?

My loathed despot, since when did you become blind? Do you not to see the blood on your hands?

You have presided over the decimation of a once vibrant society. Your citizens wait on tables in Sandton when really all they aspire to do is work in banks and respectable corporate firms. They scrub the backs of the old in London when they should be farming. They flee homes and families in exchange for second class treatment in foreign lands. Does this not grieve your heart?

I have seen your people at airports — broken and crestfallen. They have weary smiles and the look of utter despair about them. They are a fervent and industrious lot but your tyranny has sapped them of strength. They tell tales of stillborn potential and buried aspirations and dreams. They speak of the day when the lights went out and gloom and doom descended on the land. They have much to say about the many sorrowful manifestations of a tragic failure in leadership — from hospitals that closed their doors to the sick, to water that ceased to flow from taps; from food markets that once bustled with produce to empty supermarket shelves and from a currency once stronger than the greenback, now not worth the paper it is printed on.

You have robbed innocent children of a chance at a better life. Is it not ironic that in a supposedly free and unyoked country, the little ones do not have a fighting chance to acquire the kind of education you managed to have under the colonisers and imperialists? Is this what you fought for?

You have overstayed the time allotted to you by fate and destiny. The fact of the matter is you cannot redeem your dignity any longer. All opportunity to be truly great has been squandered. I am not sure you can turn back the hands of time to a period when fortune and even the gods favoured you.

It is not sovereignty when your citizens flee their sunshine filled independent nation to seek asylum in a foreign country so grey, so cold and so uninviting — worse still the home of their colonisers. Surely this is not what you fought for, is it?

It is not independence when your people cannot exercise the right to vote without fear of persecution. It cannot and will never be independence, when a liberator turns oppressor. Comrade, you have committed a grievous error.

It is utterly heart breaking to see a man live so long and yet so wrong — worse still a man entrusted with the mantle of leadership. May God have mercy on your soul.

After your time, your people will erect an edifice to be called “man-made catastrophes — the evil that men do”. It will bear your image. And in those days your people shall echo the words of Nelson Mandela, raising their voices in one defiant chorus: “never, never and never again!”

“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world”.