In every part of our continent Africa, there is this cult of personality we see among the highest office holders. These leaders who are mainly men override projects or ideas of their countries or societies.
We have called these men political masters, fathers of nations and even fathers of the citizens. Africa is not only experiencing this cult because men like Adolf Hitler of Germany, Mao Zedong of China, Kim Il-Sung of North Korea, or Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania had this personality.
The cult of personality simply hands over excessive hero worship to leaders of some countries in Africa rather than the country through propaganda in events and the media. Countries that practice this cult are dictatorial and make these men omnipresent.
Some years ago, many countries made use of this cult as a model for governing their countries. Today, we still have the cult of personality in some parts of the continent. Some examples of these leaders include President Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, President Bokassa a.k.a the Emperor of Central Africa and the Burkinabe Blaise Compaore.
A careful observation in the governance of most presidential system of government shows traces of the cult of the personality. The visible ones include President Paul Biya of Cameroon and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi of Egypt.
In Egypt, many of us saw democratic changes embedded in dictatorship in their shops, toy shops and even pastry cooks, where the image or name of the president stares boldly at us. Al-Sissi didn’t spare their places of worship, advertising abroad and their music industry.
President Paul Biya has made it clear that democracy came to Cameroon because of him and he is not relenting in proving this. These two countries are not the only countries where cult of personality is visible, but there are a few examples of what this cult is about.
The question remains: Is cult of personality an outdated system of governance? Do we have a space for the youths to take over the helm of leadership in Africa? While the youths are gearing to take the leadership mantle, the older leaders are only warming up to take over from their age mates.
We have seen massive protests and revolutions happening around the continent- Thanks to social media that has made change faster than before. However, we may have to wait a little longer before this cult is eradicated.
The good news is there is hope of changing Africa’s system of leadership. With democracy having the front seat in the continent, it is easier to make a difference as a good leader if you have good cabinet and great ideas.
One day, we will look back and laugh over how we fought the cult of personality in our cities and countries. We believe the time is ripe to bring down this outdated system of governance. What do you think? Do you have any idea how you think this practice can be eliminated?