Imperatives Of Strong Institutions:Mugabe’s Exit And The Lessons For Nigeria

The Oasis Reporters

November 25, 2017

When a people are at peace with a friendly, civilized and well educated army.
Kudos to the Zimbabwean army. A country with one of the highest literary rates in Africa.
Their Chief of Army staff holds a PhD in Cyber security.

As the Western world celebrates the disgraceful exit of Mugabe considered as public enemy number one of Britain, there are many lessons that can be learnt positively so as to properly anchor democratic practices on the African continent battered by Mass poverty, civil wars and political instability.

This is because of the obvious fact that although Mugabe is gone but there are other Mugabes all across Africa including Equatorial Guinea; Rwanda; Uganda; Ethiopia; Sudan; Nigeria .

The first of the many positive lessons to be drawn from the circumstances that made loyalists of then strongman of Zimbabwe to turn around and reject him and compel him to quit office, is that dictators and their evil regimes will always have to end tragically.

Importantly, another key lesson is that no matter how long the political dictators like the type in Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon continue to self-perpetuate themselves in office, all that it will take to upturn their perpetual stay in office is for the people’s power to be brought to bear.

All over the world, humanity are becoming increasingly open and disposed to accepting the enforcement of fundamental human rights which basically makes it imperative that the will of the greatest majority of the people must take prime position at all times.

Manfred Nowak had argued that: “Human rights are the most fundamental rights of human beings. They define relationships between individuals and power structures, especially the State”.

“Human rights delimit State power and, at the same time, require States to take positive measures in ensuring an environment that enables all people to enjoy their human rights”.

Nowak noted that history, in the last 250 years has been shaped by the struggle to create such an environment starting with the French and American revolutions in the late eighteenth century, the idea of human rights has driven many a revolutionary movement for empowerment and for control over the wielders of power, Governments in particular.

“Governments and other duty bearers are under an obligation to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, which form the basis for legal entitlements and remedies in case of non-fulfillment”, he submitted.

” In fact, the possibility to press claims and demand redress differentiates human rights from the precepts of ethical or religious value systems.”

Arguing from a legal standpoint, human rights he said can be defined as the sum of individual and collective rights recognized by sovereign States and enshrined in their constitutions and in international law.

According to him, since the Second World War, the United Nations has played a leading role in defining and advancing human rights, which until then had developed mainly within the nation State.

As a result, human rights have been codified in various international and regional treaties and instruments that have been ratified by most countries, and represent today the only universally recognized value system.

Nowak, believes that Human rights cover all aspects of life.

Their exercise enables women and men to shape and determine their own lives in liberty, equality and respect for human dignity, he said.

Human rights comprise civil and political rights, social, economic and cultural rights and the collective rights of peoples to self-determination, equality, development, peace and a clean environment.

“Although it has been – and sometimes still is – argued that civil and political rights, also known as “first generation rights”, are based on the concept of non-interference of the State in private affairs, whereas social, economic and cultural – or “second generation” – rights require the State to take positive action, it is today widely acknowledged that, for human rights to become a reality, states and the international community must take steps to create the conditions and legal frameworks necessary for the exercise of human rights as a whole”.

This perhaps explain the global dimension of the interest shown to the political transition that took place in Zimbabwe on November 21st 2017.

Africans should therefore exercise their inherent capacity to demand that only the choice of the majority of the people determined through a democratic process must be allowed to preside over the governance of their nations.

The fall of Mugabe should also remind us of the imperative of building strong democratic institutions and not propping up strong individuals.

For us in Nigeria, we must also show our determination to compel the political leaders to abide by the precepts and rules enshrined in the law books and the constitution.

Such key institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Nigeria police and the armed forces must not be structured and controlled by forces or elements who are put in place to defend particular religions or ethnic affiliations. The Nigerian military must therefore defend all Nigerians from forces bent on destroying some communities such as the armed fulani terrorists and must not wait for Buhari to direct them on how to defend the human right to life of farmers.

Therefore, appointments into strategic national offices must be in compliance with the federal character principles and based on competences and not the lopsided nature and shape it has taken under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari.

For instance, this people -led revolution that saw the exit of Mugabe was unanimously undertaken by all ethnic groups of Zimbabwe.

The ethnicities are: Shona people; Ndebele people, White people in Zimbabwe; Lemba people; Tokaleya; Goffal; Vadoma; Ndau people; Kunda people; Zulu people; Indians in Zimbabwe; Tonga people; Nambya people; Gokomere; Manyika tribe; San people; Venda people; Kalanga people; and Sena people.


Written by Emmanuel Onwubiko, the head of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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