Some quarters on Kenya would have you believe that the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS (and its baby sister, the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS) has failed to stem the tide of military putsches that have deposed rulers who have been in power for longer than the soldiers deposing them have been alive. Those quarters are full of very clever idiots.
Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Gabon have been the victims of great political cruelty. For the fig-leaf of independence, they have remained the vassal states of France. The economic wealth tied to their natural resources has only enriched their presidents and France. Burkinabe, Malians, Nigeriens and Gabonese have seen how multi-billionaires live while they have continued to live lives of penury, struggle and strife. Clever idiots would have you believe that the only way to remove the thieving rulers from power is through "democratic means" because these idiots are wedded to the idea of the law being stronger than the will of even a committed military minority.
One of Jimmy Cliff's songs says that "democracy is a road that leads to tyranny" (Democracy Don't Work, 1998) and I can't say that I disagree. In our hearts of hearts we know that a democratic tradition that impoverishes is no true democracy. Democracy, true participatory government, is meant to enrich the greatest number of the people. It is not meant to be a vehicle for the aggrandisement of a single family or thieving clan. Clever idiots will never admit this.
Now it may be that the military juntas that have installed themselves in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Gabon will not succeed in giving power back to the people. And if that is the case, they, too, shall fall victim to punches as well. Shakespeare knew that one who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. But as we have learnt from the histories of our peoples, military juntas fail in part because they the seduced by the promises of the likes of the perfidious British and malevolent French. A pox on both their houses.
Clever idiots will point to Kenya and Tanzania and the relative political stability they have enjoyed since they gained Independence, ignoring that the political opposition in Kenya and Tanzania has had to fight, tooth and nail, for political expansion, sometimes at great cost to lives and limb. Merely because military putsches failed in Kenya and Tanzania is not proof that they are true democracies; it is a testament to the resilience of the the thieving first families or the overwhelming degree of control that ruling parties possessed. The absence of war is not proof of peace.
ECOWAS and ECCAS have no leg to stand on when they demand that the military juntas hand back power to the dictators they have flung out of office. The majority of the members of ECOWAS and ECCAS are ruled by thieves and gangsters. These governments should set about setting right their nations, empowering the people to participate fully and meaningfully in the politics of their nations or suffer the same fate as Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Gabon. And the windbags in Kenya calling for military intervention to restore to power the puppets of the malevolent French should sit out the debate. Forever.