Lets be honest, is Robert Mugabe really a dictator

    By Panashe Makufa

    For many years people have suffered under what they call democratic governance yet not even near to it by an inch but are ruled by anextreme autocracy system, in this analysis it is going to be made clear on whether some leaders are dictators or not.

    You won’t find a dictator who calls himself a dictator. Instead, dictators have ordinary titles such as president, emperor, great leader and similar monikers.

    A dictator is a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force by either self-appointment, vote rigging, brutalising citizens before or during election so that people will vote for him or her by fear and use of state forces at his own will just to mention a few.

    Most dictators have several characteristics in common. They usually rule autocracies, governments with a single self-appointed leader and no governing body to check his power. Often, dictators have totalitarian regimes, keeping their power through control of the mass media. Totalitarian dictators also use secret police and spy on the citizens of their state as well as restrict or completely remove their personal freedoms.

    Many of these dictators foster cults of personality, a form of hero worship in which the masses are fed propaganda declaring their leader to be flawless (and in some cases, divine or divinely appointed).

    To be considered a dictatorship means that a country is known to be run by one person without any checks and balances on his power. Dictators make unilateral decisions that affect their countries without having to consult any other branch of government for example occupation and distribution of land or other state owned resources without consultation of the responsible ministry.

    That’s because there’s no other branch of government that is not controlled by the dictator. Human nature being what it is, dictators don’t rise to power for the good of their nations (though they usually claim otherwise).

    They seize power to benefit themselves, their families and their close political allies.

    In modern times, it’s not unusual to hear news stories about dictators being elected by their citizens, when in fact the elections are manipulatedthrough intimidation of voters to ensure the dictator’s victory.

    A cult of personality often surrounds a dictator, driven by myths – typically perpetuated by the government-controlled media – about the ruler that are designed to build him up in the minds of the citizens as an all-knowing divine being who is the only one capable of bringing prosperity and to the nation but rather dragging it down, in some cases the ruler is even worshiped as a god, with some claiming that their president is Jesus and even claiming that their leader is God ordained and was commissioned to fulfil a certain mandate even though thepresident might be incapacitated  by ill-health or old age to justify his/her clinging to power.

    Unfortunately, dictatorships seldom usher in a nation’s prosperity. In the most brutal dictatorships, the citizens live in extreme povertybecause the government withholds food and supplies in order to keep the people under control

    The rigging of elections is just one example of how citizens in a dictatorship have little to no personal freedom. People living in a dictatorship have no rights of free speech, freedom of religion, a free press or even the right to hold an opinion in opposition to the ruler and ruling party.

    A Dictator is: Narcissistic, manipulative, assertive, nationalistic, powerful, charismatic, stubborn, passionate, Power hungry etc.


    For the record, a dictator guarantees none of the following:

    Freedom of speech.

    Freedom of the press.

    Free opposition political parties.

    Independent courts.

    Free and regular elections.

    • Panashe Makufa is a journalist and political commentator for Khuluma Afrika.

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