As I write these lines, Pape Alé Niang, journalist is in detention, transferred to hospital in critical condition; my heart is bruised and sad thinking about his medical situation and I dare not imagine the worst. It does not bother you ?

As I write these lines, a gendarmerie captain who wanted to do his job honestly, was struck off, then prevented from working in the private sector and finally deprived of salary after his recruitment in a decentralized but autonomous public administration. A gratuitous and counter-productive wickedness. It does not bother you ?

As I write these lines, a gendarme working for intelligence has strangely disappeared, his friend and colleague found drowned and his body in such a state of decomposition that an autopsy could not be carried out. The truth about these atrocities apparently does not interest you, otherwise two of your courtiers who claim he was murdered would be brought to justice to provide proof of their assertions. A doctor, bound by respect for his oath, rejects the corruption of a plotter, refuses to change the content of his medical report and sees his life threatened daily, fear haunts his nights, for lack of protection by whom it may concern, he no longer has no other recourse than to alert his fellow citizens. It does not bother you ?

As I write these lines, more than twenty political detainees are languishing in your jails, sometimes for offenses of opinion, sometimes for parody and “unsuitable” humor, if not accused of wanting to carry out “terrorist acts”. Among the latter, a young mother temporarily imprisoned pending a hypothetical judgment which would undoubtedly clear her logically. In the meantime, one deprives one’s young children of their maternal love. Those who subject this poor lady to this “punishment”, have they ever imagined their own mother, their own daughter, their own sister in the same situation as the latter? It does not bother you ?

At the time when these lines are written, this country is still preparing to live, as ten years before, the same dark hours of a fight against a 3rd term. However, the new leader and his advisers, drafters of the 2016 constitutional revision, after a costly referendum, had made the “profession of faith” to want to be clearer in the text to definitively settle, they said, this question on the limitation the number of mandates to two (2). Under the psychological torture of the risk of recanting, there remains the language of wood or to walk away shamelessly. If we have come to this, we must not only point to the changing and wavering words of the leader, yet an integral part of his oath of truth, but also to question the serious responsibility of the drafters of the 2016 constitutional revision. The height of intellectual compromise, they even offer to interpret their own writings as experts. Incompetence or cynicism? What about the entourage (eyewitnesses and solidarity with the dozen dead) who had fought the 3rd candidacy of President Abdoulaye Wade on principle, out of conviction, it was said? They are also ready to follow the leader’s new posture, their variable geometry principles and convictions being explained by the fact that in the meantime they have their feet firmly planted in the intoxication of power. What moral decay! And Mamadou Diop and consorts therefore died for nothing! It does not bother you ?

Finally, as these lines are written, politicians and other shady and shameless administrators of public funds have blithely used the money intended to deal with a devastating epidemic which has finally claimed the lives of many of our compatriots. Their excuses: the impunity conferred by proximity to the chief, the apparently “insignificant” nature of the sums stolen compared to the size of the envelope available to draw from without foreseeable consequences, except to foresee the “suspicious” eye and “harmful” of professional auditors accused today of “hooded politicians” by a powerful son-in-law who publicly threatens potential critics of an image that is already degraded. It does not bother you ?

What is the use of an end-of-year speech if not to regret all these evils and to commit to closing definitively these dark parentheses in the management of public affairs that we had forgotten to close?

But what effect so euphoric, powerful and inhibiting would the hypodermic syringe of power have to the point of dehumanizing those who embody it? Am I perhaps too naive and romantic not to imagine myself exercising power one day? And yet, when we scrutinize history, people who wanted to lead with love, we find some: did not Martin Luther King say that “hate will not eradicate hate, only love will succeed”. Is it not Mandela who responded negatively to the call for revenge from the radical wing of the ANC this: “revenge does not drown the pain, it is for the love of humans that I went in prison, it is through the love of humans that I got out of it, it is with this same love that I intend to lead”. What can be said of Ghandi who responded to the call for armed resistance from his supporters: “Ah, if I could enter the heart of every human being and discover there the secret of his expectations… Unable to do so, I live with the satisfaction of always trying my hand at it, every day”.

Ultimately, down-to-earth humanitarianism is what is lacking in the field of daily action of African leaders. This is why they will never be like Mandela. Happy new year to everyone!

Ndiaga Loum,

Professor, University of Quebec in Outaouais CANADA