"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

One Of Us - How African Dictators Delight At America's Donald Trump Political Show Trials

Amin el-Letopo had ruled his African nation for decades and had no intention of relinquishing power.  His idol was Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who had held on to power for years, riding on his reputation as freedom fighter and Father of the Nation. 

Not content to have wrested power from the country's colonial rulers, Mugabe went on a campaign to rid the country of every last vestige of the white man, expropriating farms, ranches, and private property.  When in black African hands, the productivity of these holdings fell precipitously and Zimbabwe turned from a prosperous southern African showpiece to a poor, corruptly run and miserably managed land. 


As his country declined into economic and financial ruin, Mugabe turned up the heat, became a white-hating demagogue who claimed that Africa would always be only for black Africans.  'The white devil shall never return to our land', he shouted to the crowd forcibly assembled below the palace balcony.  More of Zimbabwe's wealth disappeared, and only Mugabe's collaborators benefitted.  Mugabe ruled well into his nineties, good reason for which Letopo regarded him as a model leader. 

The list of the continent's abusive, corrupt, and venal leaders is a long one, and no nation has escaped politically inept, brutal authoritarian rule.  Boya, Kagame, Amin, Meles, Deby are just of a few of the rulers who stopped at nothing to maintain their power - prisons were filled, the lists of disappeared were endless, and censorship, repression, and autocratic rule were the rule.  These men were as brutal and irresponsible as Papa Doc Duvalier whose secret police, the feared Tonton Macoute, kept him in power through waves of extrajudicial killings and kidnappings. 


One after another these African 'big men' were sought after by the International Criminal Court, accused of crimes against humanity, genocide, and endemic corruption; and one by one they escaped justice by tightening their rule and expanding their bloody roundup of dissidents.  

One high-placed West African government minister once taught a lesson to a visiting United Nations mission which challenged his ministry's desultory if not indifferent attention to implementation. 

Dressed in white, gold embroidered silk garb and drawing himself up to his impressive six feet, he said in his flawless Sorbonne-educated French, 'I am here in this position thanks to my family, my community, my tribe, my region, and lastly the nation; and they will be repaid for their support in that order'. 

Diversion of United Nations resources was par for the course, de rigeur, what one did in Africa, and no white man was going to change the course of African history.  The jails of his country were filled with dissidents and opponents to his government's regime, and he helped fill them.  

Because this country had been founded after independence by an iconic leader, an educated philosopher king, each successive government went through the motions of good governance.  They were most proud of the country's judicial system which was as good as any in the West, they claimed, and every prisoner received a fair trial. 

Of course nothing could be further from the truth, as prisoners were led out of holding pens into the courtroom, tried, convicted, and sent to a miserable incarceration in a rat-infested hellhole of a prison, disease, and death. 

'We have learned well from France', a Justice Minister had said, 'and our country is a model for African democracy'.  Based on these vain, transparently obvious deceptions, credulous and gullible Western donors poured money into government coffers anxious to show that the black man was indeed worth a chance and that there was hope in this blighted, retrograde continent. 

Trials in this and any other African country which bothered to have them at all were shams, show trials no different than the witch trials of Salem in America.  In that seminal period of history, Puritan prosecutors condemned hundreds of women of witchcraft and burned them at the stake.  Accusation was tantamount to conviction, but since the good pastors felt the need, being in America, their new land free from the oppression of Europe, to show justice and fairness, trials were held.

Amin el-Letopo enjoyed these political trials and often sat in the gallery as one primed, bribed, or threatened witness after the other added to the case against the defendant.  Trials were short, often begun in the late morning and completed before lunch. 'Although we regret the incarceration of any citizen in our great land, it is a necessary evil; but you can be sure... (this directed to the doubtful foreign delegates who had the temerity to suggest otherwise)...that every prisoner is treated with dignity and respect until his release'. 

The President of a Sahelian country known for its music and tribal folklore, was proud of his record of free elections and impeccable system of justice. His political opponents were put in the dock, tried, convicted, and exiled not for their opposition to him, but for corruption or moral turpitude, and his legal staff had become quite skilled at creating dossiers which chronicled abuses and criminal behavior. 

'The foreign press is invited to consult them', the President said with no intention of carrying out his promise; nor were any foreign journalists anxious to be shipped off to the famous La Marguerite, the old fortress of the French Foreign Legion converted into a prison in the middle of the Sahara. 

Amin el-Letopo was delighted to read of the trial and conviction of Donald Trump.  He understood perfectly and instinctively what it was all about.  No former president of the world's greatest economic and military power could possibly be tried for such an insignificant, petty, and inconsequential act without political motivation.  The whole affair was similar to what he had done in the late 90s when a former president returned from exile to mount a campaign against him. 

The President's memory was a bit foggy on the details but the interloper was accused of a minor crime, hauled before the courts, and disgraced - not by the 'facts' of the case, but the smarmy extra-judicial details which were allowed in court by the President's judge.  The man's reputation was ruined, his supporters left him, and he was exiled once again. 

Letopo could have just had him killed, but he had gotten used to high-chicanery - an expression of power far more exhilarating than simple murder because of how it toyed with the arrogant presumptuousness of the white man. 

So it was not surprising to Letopo that Biden and his men had engineered the whole Trump affair, chosen a partisan judge who would choose a partisan prosecutor, who would use his voir dire prerogative to fill the jury with men and women with animus for the former President. 'It's exactly what I would have done', Letopo said to his advisors.  'Biden might look like a dummy, but that man knows a thing or two about African politics.'

Letopo or any of the other African big men following these events cared little for democracy, the rule of law, the infrastructure of civil rule - the issues raised by the Democrats in America.  They only were interested in how other world leaders acquired and retained power.  

In like matter, if Joe Biden and his New York claques had not looked to Africa for inspiration in the Trump affair, they certainly looked like they had.  Letopo knew that America had always been a so-called Third World nation, and this Trump trial proved it. 

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