Thursday, 22 March 2012

Perhaps we gave our rights to Animal-Kings: The social contract analysis

'There goes another of our Animal-kings again'. That was what i
thought to myself when i heard the news that Angola's president of
over 3 decades was contesting the next presidential elections. Yes,
Animal-kings. That's the nomenclature i assigned African leaders in my
little psychotic fantasy. After all, aren't they? They  see their
countries as territories which they guard with iron fists, crushing
oppositions with brutal force while assigning to themselves the
largest share of the spoils. Their subjects only have crumbs to get
by. I call them Animal-Kings because they habour no plans for peaceful
succession. Political authority nearly always has to be wrestled form
their clutches, most times by another set of aggrieved animals. They
should be called Animal-Kings because of their psychological fixation
and stagnation at the Freudian oral/anal stage of psycho-sexual
development, where primeval selfishness is all that matters to the
child. They exhibit the characteristics of those at the lowest rungs of
personality development. The ID stage, where bodily and vain physical
desires are prioritized over mental, physical and scientific
development. If not, how can a country like Nigeria that has earned
over $400bn from oil resources alone since its discovery, squander this
wealth and blame it on Neo-colonization? How can King Mutzi of
Swaziland, a country with over 70% of its population living under a
Dollar, have the audacity to ask the Swaziland parliament for $15m to
construct new palaces for his wives? Why should Africa to have an
Eyadema dynasty in Togo, Obiang monarchy in Equtorial Guinea and Biya
oligarchy in Cameroun? Why should pensioners well over 80 years like
Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Wade of Senegal continuously cling unto power
despite growing agitations from their people? Why should Mobutu
Seseseko use aid money to purchase a private jet for his daughter's
wedding when his people were dying like flies? Well you thought as
much, because they are Animal-Kings.
The absence of good leadership is litany in honour of anarchy. A good
leadership is like the band that binds society together. Absence of
such would give rise to anomie. Aristotle in his ethics, postulated
that the reason for the politiea (politics) is eudaimonia (well-being
of the citizens). The aim of the state is the fulfillment in all
respects, the fundamental social functions that are required for the
integration of humans namely (1) self defense of the community, (2)
safe guarding of its legal order, (3) promotion of general economy and
cultural welfare. In Aristotelian framework, the common good
(eudaimonia) does not consist of a piecemeat to be shared by members
nor the sharing of goods from a government store. Rather it is a
horizon of co-operative search for authentic values. It is a task to
be achieved, not a piece of cake to be devoured.
To emphasize the importance of effective leadership, Plato in his
Republic went as far as enunciating those who should be leaders. Plato
Divided the soul into 3 parts each attributed to a specific cadre of
Human. The sensations (soma) is guided by desire and represents the
Appetitive part. This according to Plato corresponds with the workers,
artisans, craftsmen etc. They form the general body of the state, the
masses driven by bodily and carnal desires. Next in hierarchy is the
spirit (thumos), which is guided by opinion. Humans in this
stratosphere have a spontaneous love for good and honour, and an
aversion for evil. This corresponds with the soldiers and guardians,
and are subject to rulers. The highest in the hierarchy is the reason
(nous). This is the seat of wisdom, guided by will and tends towards
what is good. It corresponds with the rulers.
The social thinkers, best elements in society and lovers of wisdom,
not those driven by fleshy desires such as greed, should be in power
and rule the state.
Using the foregone thesis, can we categorically state that African
leaders are the beat elements in society? Could we say that they are
lovers of wisdom guided by will and tend towards what is good? Could
we say that african leaders exist for the common good of the society?
Certainly not. Rather they have become the proboscis that drain the
blood of their people. It is true that the colonialists pillaged (and
are still pillaging) most of African resources, but African leaders
have done little with what they inherited. Even though the African
predicament has attended so many philosophical and inter-disciplinary
debates, even giving rise to ideologies such as Afrocentrism,
Negritude and Ubuntu, the situation is still deplorable with no end in
sight. Africa's Animal-Kings are mere puppets, recycling
underdevelopment and Africanizing global poverty.
Such anathema could only have been made possible through a dubious
social contract. Social contract theorists such as Hobbes and Rousseau
in their varied analogies have explained the existence of the state.
Thomas Hobbes depicted life as "short, nasty and brutish" in the
absence of political order. A state of nature where each person has
unlimited freedom. To avoid this, free men established a political
community through social contract, in which each gains security in
return for subjecting himself to a sovereign authority. Jean -Jacques
Rousseau agreed that we gain civil rights in return for accepting the
obligation to respect and defend the rights of others. In the same
vein, African citizens should expect security in return for subjecting
themselves to a sovereign authority. By subscribing to a higher
authority which would exist for the common good, Africans relinquished
their individual rights and liberties for civil rights, good roads,
education, electoral representation, a fair and just society and other
attributes of a civilized society. But if such rights and liberties
are given to animals in suits, as the late Fela Kuti described them,
should we expect the fruits of a civilized society? A jungle reception
is what we would get. A jungle reception is what Africans have gotten.
The continent is an exemplification of a jungle reception under the
guise of democracy. Africans in formulating their states entered into
a contract with animals, so much that these animals have become kings.
The absence of core concepts and statutes of governance on the
continent has created a vacuum hijacked by a pack of animals who have
now occupied the epicenters of power in Africa. An uninformed society,
ineffective public machinery and  submissive and dependent populace
has made these Animal-Kings demi-gods.
For Africa to break the social contract and expel the Animal-Kings,
there is the urgent need to revisit its institutions. What values do
African social institutions portray? What social parameters determine
those who should be leaders? What values, norms and mores are
cherished among Africans? What is the basis of succession and
socialization? Social institutions are the pillars and foundation of
society. They provide the templates on how society should be governed.
Hence the focus should be on the weak institutions that have thrown up
the emergence of animals as kings and not on the animals themselves.
After all, you invite lizards when you bring home an ant infested log.
You do not rid the lizards unless you rid the log of the ants. To rid
the animals, let Africa re-order its social institutions and

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