Wednesday, December 15, 2004

'All opposition movements are democratic' and other temporary situations

Chippla, over at his blog, comments on the profilgate ways of Africa's last absolute monarch. Swaziland's King Mswati III, has bought DaimlerChrysler's flagship Maybach 62 luxury car worth $500,000... King Mswati never seems to be short of surprises when it comes to displaying affluence and wealth in the most bizarre of ways.

But to Chippla, the more interesting part of the story is this. Only three other people in Southern Africa own this luxury car according to the report. They are Cyril Ramaphosa, Tokyo Sexwale and Patrice Motsepe, three long-time activists of the African National Congress.

He opines Black empowerment 'doesn't seem to be a bad thing' especially when it creates billionaires and multi-millionaires out of former ANC activists and loyalists, some of whom were die-hard socialists turned market capitalists. Indeed market capitalism only seems to make sense when one benefits directly from it.

This reminds me of a comment by a Guinean friend of mine, who was a teaching colleague when I lived in that country. He noted, "Toute opposition est démocrate." All opposition movements are democratic. Or claim to be. But once they get in power, all bets are off. The same thing applies here. Ramaphose and others were devout socialists while they were part of 'the struggle.' But owning a $500,000 automobile is hardly an expression of solidarity with the masses, implicit in the ANC's professed values.


At 5:20 AM, Blogger Frank McGahon said...

Yeah, well I wouldn't mind any of them owning the car if they earned the money to buy it themselves. Surely the problem is the kleptocracy/cronyism rather than the ostentatiousness per se?


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