Politics of regime change

It is just as well the coup d’ etat attempt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has failed. Nothing good comes out of these violent regime changes.

However cantankerous, incorrigible, myopic and stubborn a regime might be, there is no justification for violent regime change. The answer is robust exchange within the democratic system, however expensive and futile it might appear.

What is true is that many African leaders have no regard for the democracy which brings them into power. They consider their assent into power as an end in itself and will burn the bridges by undermining  the judiciary and electoral process which they then abuse to ensure their longevity in office.

It is indeed true that the democratic process and enterprise in Africa has failed. It has totally floundered because of intolerant leaders, who shun institutions of governance that should enhance and entrench democracy, choosing instead to dominate them and in the process undermine the democratic enterprise.

 What is not true however is that these regimes can be successfully changed by violent upheavals. Invariably these upheavals, especially the military type, have been the cause of so much misery oppression, repression and autocratic rule which such countries as Ghana and Nigeria are yet to recover from fully.

Ever since the advent of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and from experience in older military states  it has become evident that sudden regime changes, however popular will never produce desired changes, because they are often led and later supported by individuals with very fixed  intolerant dispositions.

This was the case in Egypt where moderates were very quickly overtaken by the religious fringe which frowned upon the very freedoms that the revolution had been about.

Much as the international community reviled and despised Libyan strongman Muamar Ghadaffi, his proverbial words have come to haunt the very nations the expedited his removal from power including the United States of America which has lost an ambassador to terrorist attack. He warned that Libya would break into chiefdoms which would also be overtaken by religious zealots.

This has come to pass.

 Now the Western world is accusing Al-Qaeda of undermining Libya and for being responsible for the September 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. Experts however say that the attack was organized and undertaken by one of the many local militias that have mushroomed in the troubled political fishing waters of the country that is tittering on the brink of anarchy.

For all practical purposes extremist forces are now in control of the original Arab Spring country Tunisia where a street vendor sparked  the popular uprising that was intended to prick the conscience and therefore force the ruling class consider the plight of the poor.

That ideal has been lost.

There is absolutely no reason to believe that the upheaval in Congo DR would have produced any positive results, where uncharacteristically the ‘apparent leader’ is a religious leader, who according to Information Minister Lambert Mende Omalanga   was opposed to the settlement that the Kinshasa Government brokered with the Rwanda supported M23 insurgents.

The answer for internal reform does not lie in violent upheaval; it lies in political engagement with the leadership, however difficult this might be.

That is why the opposition must not tire. It must instead unite and profer a united front in order to ensure that democratic reforms are achieved.