Opinion: Dictatorships too stubborn to reform, they are overthrown

By Deng Vanang,

Cde. Den Vanang, an Author and opposition UDRM/A’s Secretary-General(Photo credit: supplied)
Cde. Den Vanang, an Author and opposition UDRM/A’s Secretary-General(Photo credit: supplied)

Mar 1, 2021(Nyamilepedia) — History is replete with several failed attempts to democratize dictatorships, with Africa in general and East Africa in particular not being an exception.

One trying to democratize any of the rooted dictatorship, such as Chinese style democratic centralism, Hitler’s fascism or Robert Mugabe’s authoritarianism, normally runs the risk of getting eliminated or luckily exiled.

In addition to being a physically punishing process to reform which assumes a lifetime adventure that cuts through several generations before the actual goal is realized or vanishes altogether.

It is the goal which more often materializes long after the founders have gone to the Maker.

And only braved by strong headed types who have to resist a string of compromising baits to buy their allegiance with cash, positions or both.

These principled fellows, not the faint-hearted and materially possessed chaps, are the daredevil critics and actors who put themselves at liberty to face victor’s justice head on.

As they are totally immersed in a stoic philosophy of when injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes a civic duty.

With a whole host of countless challenges to face including wrestling with poverty, losing dignity, lives, jobs and close family members  to either frustration or undignified death.

Their selfless sacrifice puts them miles apart from harmless human rights activists regime mercifully left to make noise for bread and butter in order to justify its falsely claimed conducive environment of unimpeded free speech.


Tangible reasons why it is more expensive and nearly impossible to reform dictatorships than to oust them cheaply abound. Be it through either popular uprising or bloody insurgency.

Absolute control over intimidated and silenced civil population is the sole lifeline prolonging dictator’s intransigence.

While civil resistance to the raging reactionary forces {the incumbent} is deemed a sheer naivety of the revolutionary foot soldiers.

For even if civil resistance triumphs by sheer luck, civil reforms are naturally more accommodative in compliance to the deceptive desire for reconciliation and healing than being assertive to completely overhaul an entrenched dictatorship.

And neither do they remove deep rooted bureaucrats most of whom being the apologists of the old order and sitting dictator.

Particularly when retained at the top by partial reforms predicated on appeasement policies to give the struggling peace and national unity a destructive chance.

Since the dictator is still one to whom the bureaucrats pledge their loyalty as the full pledged or quasi appointing authority to water down change at the bottom where adverse effects of his ruthlessness hurt the most.

Another complex reason along the way is the dictator’s potent fear for retributive justice when out of power.

As every dictator is always conscious of atrocities he committed, making him solidly insulated in the reins of protective power than in the governing one that varnished with public legitimacy.

Likelihood of dictator relinquishing power more often happens far and in between through either death or forceful dethronement.

His mortal fear to back down is largely attributed to high stake consequences resulting from  total loss of power or loosening of its grips.

His refusal to let go brings into focus the arbitrary powers of security forces and kangaroo courts within brutal reach.

For the dictator knows only too well vengeance is more painful than the harmful act he previously exacted on his victims.

Host of other dire consequences as commonly known to many include loss of coveted power trappings and possible persecution for atrocities committed.

Taking its tolls too is degenerating loneliness in retirement or in deplorable jail conditions courtesy of past human rights violations, political and economic ills.

More misfortune dictator detests happening to him is exile into foreign land, probably for life, away from closest acquaintances and cherished loots.

He also fears the freezing and recovery of all assets in offshore accounts he swindled from miserable folks he drove into irreversible poverty and abysmal despair while in power.


Comparatively unlike the past, present day dictatorships are even more stubborn prototypes.

As well as increasingly growing powerful in tentacles and so deeply entrenched in throes of power in more than just one way.

Among the means to keep themselves in power is blackmailing with resources world powers intending to keep tabs on their gross human rights abuses.

Highly connected individuals to political echelons in those countries than fight dictatorship, become roundly compromised and co-opted through lucrative real estate contracts and sweat-free cash.

Public Relations and lobby firms in those world powers are equally roped in by burgeoning dictatorships as trusted allies in furtherance of the regimes’ life spans.

These firms are widely known as criminal syndicates of bribery networks through which monies are channeled to refurbish dictatorial regimes’ battered images abroad and change built-in negative perceptions towards them there.

Globetrotting with an empty truth to win politically is therefore an already failed diplomacy cleverer and determined opposition can’t buy for a quick fix solution and much desired success.

Competition for control of developing world’s unexploited mineral riches among world powers is the last reason why sustained crusade against dictatorships is either loosening or being lost altogether.

China has already set the stage towards which the rest of the world is now gravitating in as far as emerging unipolar or one way traffic world is concerned.

One that sees no incentive in democratic pursuits, while condoning dictatorial practices is rather more rewarding for its inhumane cause.

This currently trending political order is based on winning more resource rich countries that translates into spheres of influence in terms of neo-economic, political and cultural imperialism.

The current galaxy of descending Western leaders on Africa to reclaim once lost strategic spots is more indicative of how global politics have shifted from ideological persuasions to an interest-based economic dominance.

Clearly contrary to the past bipolar world when pro-capitalist western bloc checkmated pro-communist Eastern bloc.

Now with two ideological blocs {West and East} having technically merged into a single international monopoly capital, democracy is no longer an attractive agenda item on the wish list and as the prerequisite to do business in the developing world.

Albeit the fact that the former Eastern bloc is benefitting hugely economic wise from competing market forces called supply and demand.


Only viable option, for those interested in a real transformative approach than ones inclined to a series of accommodative processes that solely consolidate the status quo, is to embark on mass sensitization, mobilization and full-scale recruitment of nonsensical vanguards into the cause of revolutionary regime change.

Failure to violently overthrow the status quo, the opposition is  better placed to frog-match the regime to the negotiating table at their own dictates to fully and truly realize democratic reforms agenda.

With the new transitional government being inclusive of all political and social institutions that matter to solidly rally behind it all opposition forces disenchanted by the topple regime.

While concurrently implementing democratic reforms based on a truly holistic anti-graft and exclusivist crusade.

As truly instituted social healing platforms are thrown into the works alongside introduced political and economic revival based on a federal system of governance that gears towards formulating instruments of popular legitimacy which instill confidence locally and beyond.

Whose end result is total emancipation of the oppressed masses and complete isolation of the – would – be still holdout vociferous orphans of the vanquished regime and a few paid up foreign backers.

Deng Vanang is an author and opposition UDRM/A’s Secretary-General in SSOMA. He is cordially reachable at: dvanang@gmail.com.

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