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    This weblog is based on DIBUSSI TANDE's personal views on people, places, issues and events in Cameroon, Africa and the world - Citizen Journalism at its finest!

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« Documentary on the Assassination of Felix Moumié Now Available in English | Main | Respecting Presidential Term Limits: The Example of President Festus Mogae of Botswana »

December 27, 2007

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Nga Adolph

The life and death of Benazir Bhutto is in itself an epic tale of courage.Courage that heeds to the call of the times.Dibussi rightly draws the nexus of Bhutto's home coming last October 2007 and Ni John Fru Ndi's darehardy audacity to launch the Social Democratic Front(SDF) wayback in 1990 despite voices of dissent within the ranks and file of the party and the dangerous political atmosphere at the time.
Yes,these extraordinary people who have sought to change the face of history were/are ordinary men with their own flaws and weaknesses.Many have thrown unfounded accusations on Ni John Fru Ndi and have easily forgotten that without his intrepidness Cameroon would never have been on the path of democratisation as it is today,though much is still to be done.Like Bhutto and husband(Asif Zardari) who were accused and charged with corruption during the former's tenure as PM of Pakistan,NJFN has on several occasions been accused of meeting and striking secret deals with Biya's regime.Contrarily,Biya's recent interview on France 24 came to throw light on the relationship that has existed between the two men.Many Cameroonians and even SDF diehards believed NJFN had met on several occasions and stroke secret deals with Mr Biya.Those who advanced these theories have since been ridiculed bc its now abundantly clear that the two men have never met.
Just as the passage of time always brings the truth to the fore,no court had ever found Bhutto guilty and clearly manifesting that the accusations levied on her were politically trumped up charges.This woman of valour had always been as the french would say "quelqu'un à abattre" by the military regimes that have succesfully controlled power in Pakistan.
This has always been the dilemma of men and women throughout the course of history who have sought to change our world.If it were simply for the "raw hunger of power" as Dibussi puts it then blacks in the USA would still be under slavery,Apartheid South Africa would still be waxing strong,India would not have been the biggest democracy today,women would still be disenfranchised all over the world and Cameroon would still be under the yoke of colonialism.The world maybe bad today but if we stretch just a figment of our imagination and contemplate a world without the Bhutto's and John Fru Ndi's,then we realise that it were better these people exist however human they are.


NGA ADOLPH,
LEUVEN(BELGIUM)

Kumbaboy

Well said by Dibussi and Nga.

Revelations in a recent email from Benazir Bhutto to CNN's Wolfe Blitzer indicate the Military Regime failed to provide security around her entourage. She had requested an armed escort of 4 security vehicles situated front, back, left and right of her limousine. The regime gave her none.

There must be lessons in here for John Fru Ndi and other political leaders in the Opposition. The SDF and Fru Ndi must not underestimate the ferocity and deadly instincts of the French-backed forces in power.

The option to decapitate is not new. They (France/LRC) must however know that exercising such a radical option against an Anglophone political leader is not without grave consequences, at home and abroad.

George Bamu

Mr. Dibussi,
I don't understand the comparisons that you are trying to draw between Benasir Bhutto and John Fru Ndi. As a matter of fact, there is no comparison except that both Bhutto and Fru Ndi now represent "power mongers" in the eyes of many people.

As much as i regret to see that Benasir's fate ended in such a tragic manner, i thought the time had come for someone else to lead the charge against Musharraf and his forces. As a matter of fact, the forces of democracy in Pakistan remained solid even while both Benasir and Nawaz Sharif were in exile. A better way to describe her return would be to call it "political naivete" for such an experienced politician.

Not to say that someone was not plotting to kill her regardless of whether she returned to Pakistan or not,she would have been better of steering change from afar rather than returning to Pakistan.

The point is that we all have a have a tendency to glorify these leaders and end up making them appear larger than life. The consequence is that when some of them stay in the lamb light for too long, they do so at the detriment of the very processes that they worked to put in place.

The same goes for everyone regardless of their accomplishments; John Fru Ndi, Paul Biya, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore. So, lets thank God for the life of Benasir Bhutto and hope that her son carries on the legacy.

Kumbaboy

Geroge Bamu,

Prior to Benasir's return, the military regime had granted her amnesty. In fact, General Musharaff's recent resignation from the army is in part due to legitimate political pressure from Benasir.

It is a general understanding that her political party wanted her back to contest the next presidential election. Benasir knew of security inadequacies and made a fatal mistake of standing up in that limousine. Her security outfit failed to perform.

However, Benasir's return to Pakistan as head of the PPP to contest political elections can not be described as naivity.


Pa njakri

My dear Dibussi, my men Kumba boy and Nga, as well as other follow 'forumites',

I appreciate that we are desperate for heroes to look up to. I hope, however that this does not reduce us to running after false heroes or heroines as in the case of Ms Bhutto. I would like to share a few facts that are all in the public domain.

Fact 1. Bhutto's return to Pakistan was premised on an American brokered powersharing deal between Bhutto (who wanted to be Prime Minister at all cost after her disastrous and corrupt 1st term) and the General who needed a cover for his coup within an existing coup that he had already carried out to get to power. A condition for Bhutto was to have the General pardon her for corruption charges which were still pending in several other countries. She had already lost support in vast areas sectors of Pakistan for this deal that would white wash the General. She is noted in Pakistan for not lifting her voice in support of the bar Association when the supreme court was dismissed by the general and hundreds of lawyers arrested and locked up for opposing his cooking of the constitution

Fact 2. Her collaboration with Washington in unleashing the army as PM on a murderous campaign on her own citizens- so called terrorists -only created more enemies for her.

Fact 3. The lady -Allah Bless her soul- was no democrat but a feudal autocrat who made herself President of her party for life, engineered with her husband the murder of her own brother for challenging her right to be the sole leader of the party created by their father and left a will that named her despised husband and teen age son head of the party. That is not the mark of a democrat or a role model for today's society anywhere.

Fact 4. Her husband as Minister of Investment in her Government was known throughout the world as Mr 10 % for the amount of bribe he demanded on behalf of him and his wife. Pakistan during her tenure in power won the most corrupt country prize from Transparency International which was why when the same general she was cooking deals with before her murder, overthrew her to overwhelming jubilation.

Fact 5. Except for the US government that had vested a lot on her as the face to cover the general's dirty ass and people from her province, the general sense is one of relief with her passing.

Please, let's take a bit of time to understand our world before making pronouncements that only confirm the open western racist secret that Africans are too lazy to do serious research to know how to reach conclusions or draw lessons that can be useful for them.

O bosso..

Nju Man

Pa Njakri,

I bet you don't understand what the word "flawed" meant. It means that there is no "perfect" person. In fact the greek story of Achilles was meant to make that same point; every great person has an "achilles heels". No, you are not telling us anything new about Bhutto. Anyone with Internet access can spit out these "facts" that you regurgitate here. Bhutto was a flawed human being with a lot against her, but that does not But erase the fact that this "flawed" individual represented something much bigger, much better than her personal shortcomings.

Mahatma Ghandi who has attained God-like status in our world today is the same fellow who saw nothing wrong in the apartheid that existed in South Africa when he lived there. So do we strip him of his status because of, or respect him for what he later achieved in spite of? That is my understanding of what this article sought to convey and on that score I give it a pass mark.

Ngambouk

Pakistan, India and may be some other countries actually have their own brand of party leadership. The similarity of names like Muhammad Ghandhi,Rajiv Ghandhi, Indira Ghandhi among others and the kinship ties such individuals share prompted me to ask an Indian why the similarity. His response was that the family is recognised with leadership skills from time immemorial and have therefore been looked up to because of these skills.Well, I understand in India, political power is intertwined with caste status making it the monopoly of a few family. The choice of Benazir Bhuto's son to takeover the leadership of her party might be seen in the same light. It therefore beats my imagination to read above that she 'was a feudal autocrat'. The people believed in her probably because of her audacity. But definitely, she was no angel and may her soul rest in perfect peace.Amen.

Louis_Mbua

I believe Benazir Bhutto was not a democrat since the kind of system practised in Pakistan to choose leaders is feudal and not democratic. A democracy can only be practised by a democratic party who elects their leader from within. What we have in the PPP, today, is a feudalistic system based on the Bhutto dynasty. That is why her son or Husband were never elected in the party but chosen by will. It is clear that Bhutto's husband or her 19 year old son will fail to win leadership if challenged in a truly democratic manner within the party as is normally done.

While it is true that Benazir was brave, her deal with America was a foolish act. A democrat does not do deals with foreign countries to usurp power. This is corruption and not democracy. The forgoing was that the results of the elections was a foregone conclusion in favour of Benazir as PM and Musharaf as President. This is undemocratic.

Finally, the Bhutto family and many leading families in politics in Pakistan practise feudalism. The family control land the size of Tiko, Victoria, Buea put together. Who gave them such lands while all the other people are serfs with no land? If Butto was a democrat why didn't she question such gross injustice?

Benazir's father founded the PPP as a democratic party. This means the leader must be voted within the party. What is happening now is a coronation. Democratic parties are not monarchies or dynasties.


Benazir's contribution to Pakistan has been that she brought courage, charisma and energy ito their politics. However, she is not on the same pedestal as Nelson Mandela, Matmaha Ghandhi, JFK and Dr. King. She never fought for the rights/freedom of the downtrodden, the landless and the homeless. She fought for herself and her family. It is clear in her will.

louis_Mbua

I believe Benazir Bhutto was not a democrat since the kind of system practised in Pakistan to choose leaders is feudal and not democratic. A democracy can only be practised by a democratic party who elects their leader from within. What we have in the PPP, today, is a feudalistic system based on the Bhutto dynasty. That is why her son or Husband were never elected in the party but chosen by will. It is clear that Bhutto's husband or her 19 year old son will fail to win leadership if challenged in a truly democratic manner within the party as is normally done.

While it is true that Benazir was brave, her deal with America was a foolish act. A democrat does not do deals with foreign countries to usurp power. This is corruption and not democracy. The forgoing was that the results of the elections was a foregone conclusion in favour of Benazir as PM and Musharaf as President. This is undemocratic.

Finally, the Bhutto family and many leading families in politics in Pakistan practise feudalism. The family control land the size of Tiko, Victoria, Buea put together. Who gave them such lands while all the other people are serfs with no land? If Butto was a democrat why didn't she question such gross injustice?

Benazir's father founded the PPP as a democratic party. This means the leader must be voted within the party. What is happening now is a coronation. Democratic parties are not monarchies or dynasties.

Pa njakri

Mola Mbua,

Thanks for your additional insights on this issue. You hit on the crux of the matter. A popular party founded by her father was reduced to a tribal dynasty under her. That's 'squandaring' a legacy or an inheritance.

George Bamu also capture the essence of the key issuesand i agree with him.

We don't even know if the poor rich lady was brave, or just badly advised and supported. As Musharaf himself said the other day, why would she, in the context of open threats to her life, be moving around in an open van and going in and out, standing up and down to greet supporters? It is bravery or hubris gone wrong? It is in poor taste to blame the dead but for God or allah's sake, more than a 100 people were killed in the bomb that welcomed her at her arrival back in pakistan..the message was clear! we will be back.

The fundamental issue is that she is no role model especially for us Africans who continue to suffer from leadership as backwards as the one she benefited and promoted, based on caste and ethnicity or some family's perceived divine right to rule and doing deals with even the devil to return or stay in power at all costs.

She was not flawed. She was stunted in her political development. The rubbish her son has been saying only confirms that he too has not learnt much from his mother death or only the wrong material and risk meeting the same fate if he continues on that path.

On news in genertal, we should endeavor to be critical readers of the spin that emanates from the Time magazines, etc which have never pretended to be unbiased journalism but represent certain clear positions on global issues that reflect the interests of the global corporations and governments that 'sponsor' them.

Ah go end of here...la lutte continue..

Innocent Ndifor Mancho

Benazir Bhutto was a rare breed of a woman. Whether some of us accept it or not, she was not naive. Whether badly adviced and supported, she was a woman with an unreserved amount of energy, charisma and character.

She had a conviction: that of bringing democracy to Pakistan. How can we doubt the bravery of a woman who will see bombs explode before her yet will not run away to seek comfort in some foreign land? Those of us here who will not hesitate to through stones on her, how many of us have the courage to stand up and speak out the way she did?

Cowards fight and run away forgetting to know that they will have to come back and continue the fight. If Benazir Bhutto was a coward then she was a better one than most of use who have chosen the bunker of our computer desks and the comfort of our sitting rooms/office to wage our own war against Biya.

Benazir Bhutto is an example for political actvists every where. A history of military coup d'etats every where in the world reveals that a major reason advanced by purchists has always been corruption. (Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, Eq. Guinea etc). Musharaf needed a reason to over throm Bhutto's government. He picked on the chorus of all military coups. Biya needed a reason to justify putting a potential political rival in prison (Titus Edzoa). It was not hard to fine one because corruption is always looming on every ones lips.

Mrs Bhutto posed a threat to Musharaf more than she did to the Taliban. Where she was a feudalist or not, whether she was corrupt or not have no bearing on her remarkable and oustanding personality as a woman and a leader.

How many politicians, intellectuals and those of the civil society have mustered the courage and bravery to tell Biya to shove it up his backside? Bhutto didnot spare his energy, she did not run and hide when the guns were pointed at him. She has shipped her children and family under the blancket to protect them. How many of our cameroonian politicians have their children living in Cameroon?

Rather, she groomed her son to understan what patriotism means. To follow in the steps of dynasty that believe in populism and that has the support of the masses.

Pa Njakri

Pa Mancho,

Just like you I am still fighting from the desk. At least know what is out there before going around shooting your mouth or guns.

As I see you do not understand the context of Bhutto's Pakistan and her role in the past and recent present, I will not revisit that part. She has spent the last 8-10 years in luxurious exile until the general promised her amnesty if she will come back and play Prime Minister to the fake President that he has become. She readily accepted it. Even militants from her own party were disgusted in case you don't get it.

If you are looking for women heroes to motivate you, you need not go to a region so far. I have one for you if you can transcend the blinders that are put in our way and have western press define for us who are heroes or not.

Our beloved sister Winnie Mandela has never been acknowledge for what she went through while Nelson was in Prison. Once he was out, he dumped her because she had had a boyfriend and she does not sound as sophisticated or knows how to talk to white people from America as the fame digger called Gracia Machel. She was set up and hung in the media in still while racist South Africa racist murderers in that country are still free. All of us abandoned her except for the people of Soweto and the poor whose language she speaks and who she embodies with her flaws and qualities.

If you are following your African history or politics closely, you would realise that after Jacob Zuma, she is the most popular politician in south Africa today, as reflected by the true democratic process that took place recently in that country. She did not inherit it like Bhutto who murdered her brother so as not to share the inheritance of a party from their father.

the people who go around the world and point fingers selecting they deem true leaders because they do their bidding and sound like them will never call Winnie Mandela a heroine but it does not matter.

To me she is a true (African) heroine, flawed but courageous and tenacious as a fighter. Let's come home and not go wandering to lands whose history we dont know looking for Gods or Goddesses to worship.

Peace!

Louis_Mbua

Pa Njakri,

Thank you. I am presently writing an article on Winnie Mandela. You are perfectly correct. Benazir ranks a dismal non-starter in relation to Winnie's astronomical political and human achievements. Winnie rose from nowhere to challenge entrenched evil in South Africa. Day in day out for 27 years Winnie fought in the streets of Soweto with the oppressed Africans. She was jailed, banned, exiled, assaulted, manhandled, reviled, beaten and almost killed but she never gave up. Winnie single-handedly defeated Apartheid. By her share strength of character, elegance, unparalleled bravery and force of oratory she held the whole world spell-bound until Apartheid was defeated.

History has a way of rewarding heroes. It was Winnie who defeated Apartheid. Mandela was in prison and but a symbol for 27 years-- although this was also a trmendously brave act.

We must stand on guard for western inspired manufacture of heroes that never were.

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