Defend Truth


The Grace of originality


Babatunde Fagbayibo is an associate professor of law at the University of South Africa.

My open letter to Madame Dr Grace Mugabe offers my eternal support and ever-lasting gratitude for her timeless idea about how to preserve her not-yet-late husband’s future, about which I think she is dead right.

Dear Madame Dr Grace Mugabe,

I hope the glistening sun over the anti-colonial, revolutionary city of Harare accords with your spirit and soul today. If so, doxology!

Madame Dr Grace, before I get into the gist of this letter, I would like to let you know that I have always been an admirer of your sagaciousness. Many who do not understand your special gift are always quick to label you with dismissive and unprintable names. They call you “Gucci Grace”, without understanding that fighting for the poor does not mean that you have to wear rags. Little do they know that the anti-reflective (AR) coating on your Gucci specs is very essential for the proper dissection of the situation, allowing your eyes to properly absorb your surroundings in order to determine the kind of assistance you will provide. They don’t know such, Madame Dr Grace.

They even dismissed your PhD, claiming that it is not possible to get a doctoral degree in two months (from the time of registration to completion). They even demanded that the thesis should be released. If you ask me, Madame Dr Grace, I am in support of you not releasing this thesis as it may contain important codes and algorithms for moving Africa forward, and as such, should not be exposed to imperialists and western hegemonic influences. In addition, it is our pride on this continent, and should be safely kept in the Chinese-built and donated African Union Secretariat in Addis Ababa.

I have digressed, Madame Dr Grace, but only to show my fondness for your solid stature in private and public spheres.

So let me go straight to the gist of this letter. It is about your recent assertion that even if our great leader and your dear husband, Uncle Bob Mugabe, kicks the bucket before the presidential election in 2018, you will not hesitate to present his corpse as a presidential candidate. Again, your detractors are angry, spewing all kinds of diatribes against your person. Some even said that this idea is an example of what the flamboyant Nigerian politician, Patrick Obahiagbon, called “Kakistomoboplutocracy” or “political crinkum-crankum”. Others called it “necrotocracy”, “zombiocracy”, “morbidocracy” etc, etc. But is this fair?

My answer to them is simple. Rather than get angry, why can’t we pause for a moment to fully digest this idea? Should this idea not be seen as an important addition to public intellection on governance in Africa, and in particular the importance of bridging the divide between the celestial and terrestrial? Should our political scientists not see this as a challenge to rethink the theories underpinning the seen and unseen forces that shape political movements on this continent? At first they doubted your PhD, and now they are crying wolf when you decided to put your scholarship to practice. Our people can never be pleased!

Madame Dr Grace, these thoughts occupied my mind for days, and I eventually made the decision to rather be on the side of those that will give more meat to the skeletal framework of your important contribution.

Madame Dr Grace, I have come to appreciate your originality, or what I would call the grace of originality, and therefore, I am prepared to work pro bono to give your idea the attention it deserves. The first step in this task is to reach out to our friends at the African Union, in particular the Department of Political Affairs, so as to request that an all African conference is convened to fully dissect this idea.

The best brains in the fields of law, theology, traditional healing practitioners, political science, and philosophy should be invited to discuss important issues such as the role of the ancestors in African politics, the bane of not allowing ancestors to take their rightful place in political deliberations, legal implications of the rule of a dead president, techniques of observing elections in which a dead person is a candidate, the training of officials that will serve as the medium between the living and the dead president, communication between the dead president and his sub-regional/continental colleagues on how to address regional integration matters, the symbol that will always represent the presence of the dead president, and more important, the correct terminology for capturing this important idea.

The papers delivered at this important conference should then be collated, and sent to the AU Assembly for further deliberation. The result of such deliberation should be a resolution that enjoins member states to feed this into their education curriculum, of which you, Madame Dr Grace, will be acknowledged as the creator.

We do not expect the imperialists to understand this idea.

Madame Dr Grace, please pardon me if this appears to be an overzealous action on my part. As I have already explained, my admiration of your originality coupled with the sweet thought of this becoming an important contribution to political knowledge is responsible for my child-like joy.

Madame Dr Grace, I am at your service in ensuring that this idea becomes reality, and also gains recognition across the continent. Context always matters, Madame Dr Grace. This is why great presidents for life such as Paul Biya in Cameroon, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Equatorial Guinea will have to adapt this idea to suit their environment. Their wives will also be very grateful to you for providing a safe methodology through which their husbands will remain relevant.

Madame Dr Grace, the opportunities are endless.

In conclusion, thank you for this brilliant contribution to the body of knowledge on presidential legacy in Africa. You will not be forgotten, Madame Dr Grace. I look forward to your order on my next move in respect of this important task.

Until then, I remain your faithful student and admirer.

Yours sincerely,

Babatunde wa Afrika. DM


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