by Hannes Wessels

Recently I watched a video clip of people being interviewed in what was still then Salisbury (now Harare) days after the official announcement made by then Governor Soames confirming that Robert Mugabe would head the first government of the newly independent Republic of Zimbabwe.

All the Africans interviewed were thrilled and spoke gleefully of the new dispensation that would bring them free homes, free schools, free hospitals and almost boundless prosperity. The Europeans, on the other hand, were, almost without exception, apprehensive at best and downright angry at worst. They disagreed vehemently with the majority but this view was easily dismissed as typically racist and sour grapes on the part of a once privileged elite.

But this visual is a painful reminder of the inherent dangers that come with the introduction of liberal democracy to countries where the majority, possibly through no fault of their own, lack the basic knowledge needed to make a sensible decision based on facts about who is best placed to improve their lot in life. This is simply because they don’t understand the fundamentals essential to the creation of real wealth and the provision of good governance.

I cast my mind back to photos of the long queues that formed outside the banks in Dar es Salaam after Julius Nyerere came to power in Tanzania. The citizenry who voted him in and celebrated the end of British colonial rule believed that they could, with immediate effect, withdraw the money they needed from newly nationalised commercial banks because their understanding of the new dispensation was that all the money in the vaults had now become the property of the people. Much the same sad scenario has played out in some shape or form throughout Africa; hiding behind a veil of democracy millions of simple people had been cruelly hoodwinked into believing the impossible and this has seen most of the wealth bequeathed these countries by the former colonial powers quickly squandered prior to the descent into poverty and very often, chaos.

I clearly recall Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith appealing to a hostile world to hear his plea to be given time to implement an electoral system and a franchise, based, not on race, but on education and status that would facilitate the steady growth of an electorate made up of an informed black majority that would, in the course of time, be free to elect the leadership of its choice.

His point was premised on the fact that democracy was a new and relatively sophisticated political mechanism that would need time to be understood and absorbed by a majority used to a system where power was invariably acquired through violent endeavour. He reminded the few who would listen that the European had stumbled on to a continent where rule was by decree, based on often brutal authoritarianism with little or no recourse to any individual or institution where what we now refer to as our ‘human rights’ were interfered with; simply put, the platform to power in Africa was based on the maxim, ‘might is right’. He argued time was needed to wean the majority off this daily diet of arbitrary misrule before the majority could ingest the utterly alien and complex political systems and institutions that the colonists had introduced.

He was also at pains to point out that the European had introduced a modern communications infrastructure to facilitate the development of a diverse and complex economy that required a high level of skill and expertise to manage and maintain so he implored his critics to accept that politicians, civil-servants and captains of industry and commerce had to be suitably qualified or it would all collapse. Well we all know these entreaties were dismissed as the rantings of a mad racist and ignored. We also now know that Zimbabwe, along with much of post-colonial Africa is wrecked; now we watch as South Africa appears to follow the familiar, tried and tested road to ruin.

This much celebrated democracy, delivered by Nelson Mandela, was recently relieved of the popularly elected President Jacob Zuma, a man who almost certainly would be unable to run a tuck-shop, who was tasked with managing the most developed country in Africa. Needless to say, apart from the gross incompetence his administration exemplified, we now, thanks to the revelations of the Zondo and other commissions, are getting the full blast of the truth about what happens when you fill the public sector and state-owned institutions with fools and villains. The damage done is almost certainly irreversible and while some are hopeful of more responsible rule under Cyril Ramaphosa, I fear I see the writing on the wall.

Despite failing almost every single test of decent governance and set to continue to direct the country on a path to poverty, the ANC will almost certainly retain power after the next election due in May. This will happen, simply because most of the electorate, are naïve, angry, easily misled and unaware of the political confidence-trick that is playing out before their very eyes. Democracy has had its woeful way; Jacob Zuma got most of it wrong but I fear he is right when he assures us, “The ANC will rule South Africa until Jesus comes back.” For this I suppose we can blame the Greeks.










By Managing Editor

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13 thoughts on “Democracy and Destruction”
  1. Thanks, Hannes – solid stuff as usual from you.
    I’ve become more of a realist these days and I fear that the southern part of Africa that I know and love is lost to corruption and incompetent government for a long time to come at the expense of its mostly peaceful and lovely peoples.
    Without some completely unforeseen event or development, the situation can only further deteriorate- the peoples have been emasculated while the governments further entrench themselves.
    Perhaps current developments in Venezuela may light a path?

    1. Yes Hugh, I suppose some sort of constructive and determined foreign intervention is the only hope but the chances of that are slim. Let’s see what happens in Venezuela and if President Trump intervenes? That might send a signal to these despots who are ruining Africa but it’s a long shot.

  2. Dear Hannes, you are a teller of sad truths, accurately told, but only for those who either don’t know the truth or those who want to wallow in a sad past. If only these truths could be put to some form of ‘rectification’ action, but alas, we the few are too dispersed, old and now wiser from our experiences to want involvement. For what it is worth, we can but say, ”I told you so!”
    I love history and I believe you are the most accurate when it comes to our history, unfortunately, those who climb for power use it for their own gain, not for that of the people.
    I enjoy your posts. Thank you.

  3. “But this visual is a painful reminder of the inherent dangers that come with the introduction of liberal democracy.” This sentence in the article plays a central part in the subject. Wikipedia describes six different types of democracies in the world and a further search even described Athenian (Greek) democracy! I believe the underlying problem here is the complete collapse of morals in the western world and no kind of democracy can work properly without them. The strong moral integrity and strong sense of right and wrong has been the glue that has kept western civilization going for so long. With the complete collapse of morals we have been seeing in westerns countries I fail to see how anything can ever work properly again. This is the underlying cause of all our woes. In the U.S. we are seeing an aggressive push by liberal Democrats (demonrats as many Conservatives like to call them) to legalise post-birth abortion, the brainwashing of children at a young age to run with the insane liberal agenda, lesbian and homosexual couples adopting children, brothels in Germany where people can have sex with animals and in Australia liberals pushing for birth certificates to have no gender on them so that later on in life they are able to ‘choose’ which gender they want to be. Need I go on? I could do so but the list is long. I believe it is impossible to get ‘democracy’ up and running again unless the very principles that made it so successful in the first place are not re-introduced first. Absolutely nothing is ever going to work properly in the western world again until basic moral values are re-introduced.

    1. I agree with you 100% Alistair. This world seems full of people that take an enormous amount for granted because they have spared any real hardship.

  4. It still amazes me that just about the whole of Africa was bankrupt shortly after their independence and the world insisted that Rhodesia and South Africa had to have majority rule. Why.? Thank you for another excellent article.

  5. Surely the point is we must try to put things right!!!!
    In other words, there has to be a constitutional restraint on the abuse of power in Zimbabwe and in UK!!!.

    In England this used to be trial by jury, where 12 persons of equal status to the accused could decide guilt or innocence(and still is to some extent) and this is the popular defence against a corrupt government passing laws which do not have the consent of the governed. Another power of the jury originally was that a refusal to convict meant that an unjust law was annulled and removed from the statute books!! Statements by judges of old confirm that the jury do NOT have to accept as law that made by politicians!! That is real people power and we are in great danger of losing it. This threat comes from remaining in the EU which is a Napoleonic legal system of corpus juris made by bureaucrats.
    Again I urge readers who might still be connected to the UK not to despair but engage in putting things right. First you need to understand how the party system has corrupted the English constitution (and our politicians like Soames and Carrington to boot), that means STUDYING my article on and also to contact the New Chartist Movement website for a more detailed explanation of what democracy should be. Come on folks. The past is a disgrace, but to leave it like that is also a crime of negligence and cowardice unworthy of Rhodesian resolve.
    Just as an aside, some may know that a certain Tommy Mair shot and killed a Labour MP Jo Cox because of her activities in support of mass immigration into UK. However, the police state which now runs the UK whisked him away to central London, away from where he was known, denying him that part of justice to which he should have been entitled. Trial by his local peers. Instead he was tried by total strangers.

  6. “For this I suppose we can blame the Greeks”

    The poor Greeks always get the blame, but I suspect that, if one studies real history and not the garbage that has been fed to us by the left-wing liberals, one will discover that the ancient Greeks never had a universal suffrage, and that “democracy” only applied within the ruling classes.

  7. “I clearly recall Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith appealing to a hostile world to hear his plea to be given time to implement an electoral system and a franchise, based, not on race, but on education and status that would facilitate the steady growth of an electorate made up of an informed black majority that would, in the course of time, be free to elect the leadership of its choice.”

    But they already had such a system – there were two voters’ rolls, A&B, which required varying degrees of academic achievement and/or stake in the country (business or property ownership, etc) in order to qualify for one or the other.
    In fact the B roll required virtually no qualifications, so almost anyone had a vote, but the A roll counted for more points.
    If those registered on the B roll had all pitched up to vote, they could have out-voted the A roll voters any time they liked, but, by and large the Bantu were fairly happy with their lot – it was only a few communist-inspired trouble-makers within and outside the country who caused the trouble – and they seem to have taken over western civilization completely now!

  8. Thank you for your writing. I seem more clearly, and what’s happening breaks my heart.

  9. Thanks, once again, Hannes. What can one say. You are preaching to the ….. unfortunately those who need to listen are drinking in their shebeens.

  10. Well said Hannes.
    However it needs to be said at the outset that even in Europe we do not have democracy. We have “universal suffrage” and a system of parties pretending to be “democracy”. Since the reader possibly does not understand the difference he/she should go to and realise that voting is part of most dictatorships. eg. the DDR in East Germany or German Democratic Republic or the Democratic Republic of the Congo!!!
    It has to be understood that under “universal suffrage” the winning party which gains a majority acquires total power and while there is a semblance of restraint in European nations (with a pretence of constitutional restraint)with the same system in Africa where power is everything the system immediately adapts itself to that situation. In Britain we are now witnessing the true democratic disconnect between people and party politicians as revealed by Brexit which not even the European version can conceal any longer. Hence the expression “elective dictatorship” I look forward to comments from visitors to the website.

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