He was dragged out of his foxhole like a common criminal.
His countenance the picture of confusion, despair and resignation. Like a lamb to the slaughter he tagged along, totally subdued and helpless. In his silent prayer, he must have uttered the famous words: “Oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?”
I felt a tinge of sympathy for the savage, for I always have a measure of human compunction and pity even for the villain earning his just deserts.
All the defiance and arrogance had dissipated, like morning dew. Not long before, he had occupied the highest office in the land and a title to match, His Excellency.
There is nothing excellent about Laurent Gbagbo now, just a wretched, old, murderous and criminal ruffian, whose insatiable appetite for power blinded him to common sense thereby ruining a country which was an example of economic prosperity and socio-political stability.
“Yes, pride goes before a fall,” go the lyrics of Jim Reeves’ song.
Gbagbo is a despicable wretch with the blood of hundreds on his hands, a former history professor who learnt nothing from history.
Perhaps at this stage we should ask, what is it about some African leaders that makes them so intransigent they cannot feel the winds of change, even if they would be wallowing in them like a pig in mud?
What makes them think they have a divine right to rule, even when people no longer have confidence in them?
How do they ascend to presidency, anyway, and what makes them refuse to cede power?
Is it an inherent myopic dementia of self-importance or a result of lack of due diligence on the part of the body-politic that spawns such monsters?
When the undisputed Nicaraguan revolutionary and anti-imperialist Daniel Ortega lost power in a democratic election to Violeta Chamorro, he gracefully conceded, allowing the pro-West Chamorro to take office.
Ortega never lost sight of the fact that however important and central his fight against imperialism may have been, it did not amount to the right to supplant the people’s right and prerogative to chose their own leaders.
He realised that it was not his place to challenge the people’s will, irrespective of what contribution he had made to the struggle for emancipation.
Therein lies the genius of true leadership. After all, it is said that good leaders are good followers.
Just up north, Dr Kenneth Kaunda lost an election to Frederick Chiluba and gracefully bowed out, thereby helping lay the foundation for stable succession in Zambia.
Even the then senile and demented Hastings Kamuzu Banda saw the light in the end and gave way to democratic processes.
We cannot even begin to talk of giants of history like Julius Nyerere and the iconic Nelson Mandela who set the bar so high that lesser mortals can only gaze in awe.
Ortega is back in power again, after the people had renewed confidence in him on account of his humility in leaving office when they told him to.
This is the way it should be. Power belongs to the people and the people alone . . . leaders can only serve at the people’s pleasure!
Only the people reserve the right to choose who should lead them at all levels.
In Zimbabwe there is talk of, “only people with liberation war credentials will rule the country”, by some who have chosen to magnify and exaggerate their liberation credentials.
Who, is it assumed, does not have liberation credentials?
It is the people of Zimbabwe as a whole. It is the poor, toiling peasant in Binga, Rushinga, Muzarabani, Lupani, Bikita, Plumtree; it is the gun-toting cadre in the operational areas, in Gaza, in Karoi, Dete, Mukumbura, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and in Tanzania.
It is the women, with babies on their backs and the young and old, who liberated this country; it is that unborn child, who liberated this country.
In other words, no single person or persons can claim to have liberated Zimbabwe single-handedly . . . it was a national effort and all talk of exclusivity is just jingoism designed to massage over-inflated egos.
Any Zimbabwean, from the rich man in his castle to the beggar at his gate, has the same right to rule this country, and Zimbabweans have not surrendered their right to choose who rules them to any individual or group of individuals, however inflated such individual/individuals’ delusions of grandeur may be.
So, fellow Zimbabweans, whether you are tall or short, dark or light, fat or thin, Catholic or Protestant, Ndebele or Shona, educated or uneducated, war-vet or non-war vet, rich or poor, you have an inalienable right to aspire to rule Zimbabwe as long as you are chosen by the people. You only have to muster the people’s endorsement and you are there.
Only the people will choose and elect who rules, there will be no Gbagbo here.