A Man Like Maraga

The week that was, Kenyan news trended globally for good reason. This small East African country delivered a judicial bolt from the blue and nullified a presidential election. “In Africa, of all places?” asked the baffled Westerners from across the Atlantic. Americans are waking up to the volatile temperament of the Trump presidency and there was open envy in the editorials that followed the breaking news.

A little African country had made a strong case for democracy with the Supreme Court ruling that had nullified a presidential election marred by irregularities. Foreign election observers who had given the election a clean bill of health, fumbled over retractions and penned long winded defenses. Citizens of African countries living under oppressive regimes were hopeful again, that the dim light at the end of a long democracy tunnel was not an illusion. Kenya gained new admirers. The biggest surprise was reserved for Kenyans who had never imagined that the courts could turn on status quo and rule against a sitting president.

The Upright Man. Ten Lessons From Thomas Sankara

 Where did all the genuine African revolutionaries go? They were either assassinated; Patrice Lumumba, Eduardo Mondlane, Samora Machel, Amilcar Cabral, Steve Biko, John Garang, Muammar Gadaffi  or fell under siege from their own legacies. Nelson Mandela here. It has been decades since we saw a visionary leader who inspired the Pan African idealism of the revolutionary 60s.

Look around. Africa is facing a leadership crisis. From South Africa to Egypt, Kenya to Senegal, there is a clear sense of ‘we deserve better’. As African men, stifling under the stereotype of rogue males in power, there are not many examples around to deliver a much needed inspirational leadership wake up call. The only standard for leadership presently is wealth and influence. Simple men with solid characters, sincere intentions and grand visions are consigned to the pages of African history.

Therefore, it is with deep nostalgia that I remember an iconic African revolutionary, a pragmatic visionary and an upright man, Thomas Isidore Sankara, the former president of Burkina Faso. It is 28 years, since his brutal assassination on October 15 1987. As far as African leadership goes, Thomas Sankara was cut from a different piece of cloth. In his short life, the charismatic military leader set about creating an enduring legacy for conscious African citizens that is more relevant today than ever before. Progressive forces fighting economic domination and ideological slavery of Africa can draw inspiration from Sankara’s life journey.