Fit to fight, misfits in govt – Owei Lakemfa

SOME Brazilian generals have given notice that they will overthrow the government of President  Michel Miguel Elias Temer. One month has rolled by since the notice was given, yet there has been no official reaction, no arrests, no mass protests against such treason, and no condemnation   from those who claim to be champions, defenders and custodians of ‘democracy’ which is based on elections and the constitutional change of government.


What these tell me is that the fraudulent Temer government which came into office on August 31, 2016, is a lame duck; that the people are disenchanted, and that world powers who preach Western Democracy as the only acceptable form of government, are complicit in what appears  a rolling coup.  The silence of the latter may be an indication that they would accept the opportunistic and unconstitutional change of government in Brazil.  Tragically, 43 percent of Brazilians polled, are for the proposed coup; an indication that in the last 32 years of civil administration, a new generation of Brazilians who did not experience the horrors of 21 years of military dictatorship in  the country, has arisen.

Temer was not the democratically elected President of Brazil; the foxy lawyer who was Vice President, connived with anti-democratic forces to impeach President Dilma Roussef under the  claim that she gave exaggerated figures on the state of the Brazilian economy. The argument was that this amounted to corruption. So President Roussef’s removal and her replacement on August 31, 2016, was a civilian coup. In reality, the person facing corruption trial was Temer, but it was convenient for anti-people forces to use him in the removal of  Rousseff, now with corruption charges hanging around his neck, his lack of popular support unlike Rousseff and her predecessor, President Luiz Inacio Lula Silva, the coup plotters think the time has come to execute the open coup and in the name of fighting corruption and  terminate constitutional rule in Brazil.

The unfolding drama began last month (September, 2017) when at  a lecture in Brasília, General Antonio Hamilton Martins Mourão declared that the country’s generals have decided to carry out a coup. In reference to issues  of corruption in the country,  the  general who was in uniform said: “Either the institutions solve the political problem through the courts, removing those elements involved in illegal acts from public life, or we will have to impose the solution”.  Confident that the coup is unstoppable,  Mourão said:  “This solution won’t be easy. It will bring trouble, you can be sure of that”. He was rewarded with applause by the audience. Rather than condemn Mourão and order his immediate arrest, the  Army Chief, General Eduardo Villas Bôas, praised him, and falsely claimed that the constitution backs the military to intervene in governance.

I have a maxim based on my limited reading and experience; that generally, soldiers are fit to fight but are misfits in government when they seize power. The act of seizing power involves intimidation,  suppression and repression and in almost all cases, the criminal misapplication of the their training, misuse of service weapons and a betrayal of the country they took oath to service.  In almost all cases, military rule or misrule, is an unmitigated disaster.

In most  cases, military takeover come at horrendous costs, sometimes, actual genocide is carried out.  Going through  the  history of coups  including those of  William III in 1688, Napoleon Bonarparte in 1799 and Francisco Franco in 1936, perhaps the bloodiest military putsch  in history is the Indonesian coup which rolled from October 1965 to early 1966 before it was fully actualised after an estimated 2-3 million Indonesians were wiped off the earth’s  surface.  Indonesian  founding President,  Kusno Sosrodihardjo Surkano was thought to be pro-communist,  so in 1962 the American and British governments concluded that it was necessary “to liquidate Surkano”. The planning included supplying the coup plotters with arms and funds. To precipitate the coup, six generals were adopted from their homes on September 30, 1965 and murdered. The military which might have carried out the murders in the first place, accused the Indonesian  Communist Party, PKI, which was sure of electoral victory in the post-Surkano elections, of carrying out the murders.   With the assistance of civilian militia, it went out to massacre all communists and radicals, and all ethnic Chinese on the excuse that they influenced the government’s  closeness to  the Chinese Communist Government. The preferred means of the summary executions were  shooting, beheading with heads placed on spikes, slitting throats and severing private parts. Some villages accused of being strong supporters of the party, were wiped out. So many bodies were thrown into rivers that  those  running into the city of Surabaya were clogged with corpses. On one  occasion, over one million political prisoners were held by the generals.

In 1971, the Chilean Armed Forces overthrew the democratic government of President Salvador Allende and shot people  on the streets like stray dogs.  There were so many people detained that when the barracks, cells, guard rooms, prisons and detention facilities were full, they opened the National Stadium and play grounds to cramp in people. When one of the detainees, Victor Jara, the famous poet started to sing in the stadium, the military broke his fingers.

We were so unfortunate in West Africa that of the sixteen countries, only Senegal escaped the scourge of military rule. Apart from the seeds of underdevelopment, exploitation and instability planted by British  colonialism, the single most devastating Tsunnami to sweep Nigeria is   the  cumulative 29  years of military rule  in her first 39 years of flag independence. It is primarily responsible for the criminally underdeveloped state of the country and the unitary system which has led to virtually all groups demanding  their own ‘Republics’

Brazil itself witnessed one of the bloodiest military regimes after President Joao  Goulart (Jango) was overthrown in an American-funded coup on March 31, 1964. His administration had decided to socialise the profits of large companies,  nationalise the oil refineries and introduce rent controls. In March 1963 the Kennedy administration gave President Goulart  the choice of either sacking all anti-American officials from government  or face economic sanctions, and a little disguised coup. He insisted on the right of Brazil to run its internal affairs. On March 30, 1964, the American Military Attache,  Colonel Vernon. A. Waters telegraphed the State Department that the coup would take place within one week; it took place the next day. With that, Brazil experienced 21 years of brutal military dictatorship.

It is not known which forces are planning the new coup in Brazil, but if it goes ahead, it will be another era of stone-faced dictatorship. Who knows, it may trigger more coups in the world. Humanity will be poorer for it.



The post Fit to fight, misfits in govt – Owei Lakemfa appeared first on Vanguard News.

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