Among the people who were moved, pained and disturbed by the tribulations and trials of former Egyptian strong man, Hosni Mubarak recently, is former Nigerian two-time president Olusegun Obassanjo. Obassanjo aired his view in Mombasa. Kenya where he was attending former presidents’ meeting, when he was asked how he views transitions happening in Egypt especially the trial of Mubarak. He had this to say, “Let them do whatever they want to do with Mubarak but putting him in a cage like chicken is not proper.” What a nugget of wisdom!

I greatly adore and respect Obassanjo for the noble and exemplary role he played for Nigeria and Africa in general. Again why didn’t Obassanjo say this when former Nigerian butcher, Sani Abacha was hurriedly and unceremoniously buried like a dog hanged for stealing meat? Simple logic is that Obassanjo did not say anything thanks to the fact that he was fighting and yearing for justice after being sentenced to death by Abacha illegally. This is the same situation those that lost their loved ones under Mubarak’s order are in.

Appearing before Cairo Court “frail” Mubarak was put in cage as he laid in bed as a drip hanged on him. His kids, too, were present though the media did not show them. The media did not show them simply because, for it, the biggest prize was Mubarak. For his supporters it was the most humiliating time in his and their lives ever. For those seeking justice it was a gratifying time ever. Essentially, what this actually was depends on the side one is in.

At his age, and for the time he spent in power, Mubarak was indeed slapped in the face. At 83, had Mubarak been a democrat or something near or even a seer like Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere, he’d have at least over twenty years in retirement. But nay! For Mubarak and other dictators, president is made of steel not flesh. He is made of light like Lucifer, but not dirty soil like Adam. He does not err. Whatever he says is a law in and by itself. Power is for him to love, have and hold forever. Power is among the bains of his life. Even his kids and wife are presidents in their own light. He does not retire or step down even when he messes and thinking about this is treason that guarantees supply for the noose of the hangman.

I don’t know if the word retirement resonates in the ears of strong men like Omar Bashir, Yoweri Museveni, Robert Mugabe, Denis Sassou Ngweso, Abdulaye Wade, Muamar Gadaffi, Paul Biya, Paul Kagame, Meres Zenawi, Isaias Afewerki and many more in the making in Africa. What happened to Mubarak is what is surely deserved, save that it took long time to happen. As a former president, maybe, just maybe, Obassanjo considered Mubarak as a special and sacred person thanks to being a former head of state. Had Obassanjo looked at another side of the coin, he’d realize that what happened to Mubarak is not shameful as it is wrongly perceived. What happened is the way justice works equally for all regardless of class, position, connection, clan and whatnot.

If you ask Sudanese refugees that were beaten and some killed under Mubarak’s orders, just for voicing their concerns, what Mubarak is going through is nothing but justice. If you ask Egyptians who lost their freedom for over two decades, what Mubarak is going through is but purification and promise of a justicious new Egypt. If you ask other Africans suffering from iron fists of their venal strong men, what Mubarak is going through is but a stalk warning for others in power. If you ask a poor man and woman on the street whose money was embezzled by Mubarak or the likes with their consigliore, what Mubarak is going through is nothing but something less in magnitude than what it would be shall they be given upper hand to decide his plight and fate. If you ask thinkers, what Mubarak is going through is nothing but the calamity he authored himself. For the judiciary in Egypt is reading from his scripts.

Importantly, if we make bone out of it, absolute power corrupts absolutely. When one looks at how Africa is languishing in begging and poverty unnecessarily, the same person finds no mercy for people like Mubarak. How can one forgive and defend the same creatures that have for long pushed Africa into the purgatory? Africa is rich in natural resources though poor in human resources. Again, African rulers are always ruining it. When one looks at African’s grim picture, can nary even shed cordial tears for any dictator on the cross. If Mubarak put his people in the cage like chickens, what is wrong with putting him in the same cage? Why better than thou when justice is delivered? Though grieving, even defending Mubarak is the right of the likes of Obassanjo and any other who want to defend him, so
too, it is the right for Egyptians to deliver justice the way they deem fit. Importantly, human rights must be protected. This is what matters most. Mubarak is a mortal human being that wrongly perceived himself as a saint due to commanding unchecked powers and jiggy life.

True, African potentates have very short or no memory. Who thought they’d easily forget what happened to their colleagues namely Samuel Doe, Jean- Bedel Bokassa ,Mobutu Seseseko, Charles Taylor and Laurent Gbagbo to mention but a few? A goat always has no memory. When you shout at it to stop destroying the crops in farm, it thinks this happened a long while ago. When you shout again, it thinks this happened yesterday. When you throw a stone at it, it realizes this is happening now! Again, the stone does not leave the goat well. When a human, especially one vested with power behaves like a goat, what happened to Mubarak is predictable and inevitable so to speak.

How many are going to go Mubarak’s way especially in South Saharan Africa? Many, many more! It is just the matter of time even if it takes a decade or so. Looking at what is happening to Mubarak, is it really shame or fame for Africa?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian living in Canada. He writes regularly for “The African Executive” and also has a blog entitled “Free Thinking Unabii”. He is a regular contributor to AfroSpear.

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