…Prince George’s County government is not ready to receive it.
Late Honorable Nelson Madiba Mandela
- Mandela was humble enough to accept that the business of running a country was different, something he had never done before.
- We shudder at how little the Prince George’s County regime cares for our Constitution. For them, the freedoms there seem a nuisance to be ignored or, worse, negated
A lot has been written about the gigantic legacy of Nelson Mandela.
And as we end this difficult year — still waiting for the full accounting of money lost and unaccounted for during Dr. William Hite and Jack Johnson’s regime — it is good that we look back at this significant human being.
While his death was a huge loss, his legacy remains a shining light that will hopefully guide us back on track.
Mandela was a one-in-a-lifetime figure. And since his death, we have been reading and re-reading about him and his life, and wondering why Prince George’s County was not so lucky as to have our own Mandela: a leader far-sighted, fair, reflective, courageous and brimming with integrity and the highest human values.
The film Invictus, about how Mandela used rugby as a tool for cohesion, reconciliation and nation building during the 1995 Rugby World Cup held in South Africa, should be necessary viewing for our political, administrative and judicial elite, and especially now when we are more divided than we have ever been despite the calm of the 2012 elections.
In a fascinating scene, Mandela has just been sworn in and as he takes an early morning walk at Qunu with his bodyguards, they come across the early morning papers.
The headline is ‘He may win an election, but can he run a country?’ The bodyguards are upset, but Mandela’s reacts differently saying, “It’s a fair question.”
Such was the man who, though adored and feted globally, and on the back of an overwhelming and clear election victory, was humble enough to accept that the business of running a country was different, something he had never done before.
We should be so lucky to have such leaders here in Prince George’s County who understand that running a country needs everyone, not just their “home boys,” and not just for the personal interests of a few.
To be fair, even those who followed Mandela in South Africa have fallen way short. The booing of President Zuma at the memorial service dominated South African media, with some shocked that it could happen in front of an audience of presidents and leaders, and screened live globally to billions.
But such are the frustrations in South Africa with the scandals surrounding President Zuma, the most outrageous being the ‘renovation’ of his rural home — at tax-payers’ expense — for US $20 million!
Mandela lived and breathed the hard fought and negotiated South African constitution, knowing that, that was what the people of South Africa wanted and needed.
The best guarantee of stability, development and peace was to craft the country to the dictates of the Constitution.
So we shudder at how little the Prince George’s County current regime cares for our Constitution. For them, the freedoms there — of expression, media, association, assembly, information etc — seem a nuisance to be ignored or, worse, negated. For nothing else can explain their dogged desire to reduce democratic space and ignore victims of discrimination and prejudice.
And nothing else can explain their turning to one of the most repressive tools favored by despots in police brutality and bribing of judges in the local courts . Yes, there is insecurity and interference of judicial proceedings, but spying on neighbors and interfering with court systems has never reduced insecurity.
That only increases fear and intimidation.
What reduces insecurity is a non-corrupt police force that focuses on the junior police officer on the street and not the living large of the top.
What reduces insecurity is when the law is applied equally to both rich and poor.
And what reduces insecurity is when we end the impunity for the rich and powerful, and when corruption is addressed from the top down. We reduce corruption when leaders mean what they say by creating proper checks and balances.
And now we learn that the Office of the County Executive, the most resourced yet opaque of all offices, may be extorting, illegally and covertly, funds from the Education system and elsewhere in ways that do not foster accountability or transparency.
These extra-budgetary allocations need Prince George’s County council and Maryland legislation approval as per the Constitution. The inspector General position promised years ago by the current County Executive Rushern Baker III is now water under the bridge.
If Prince George’s County Government could take a few lessons from Mandela in 2014, we will be a much better county!
“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”- Nelson Mandela
Cartoon of Income Inequality
Mr. Nelson Mandela did not like corruption. Something which continues to happen here in prince George’s county involving management. There is currently no checks and balances. Hence effects on thousands of it’s citizens. Mr. Mandela once said, “We need to exert ourselves that much more, and break out of the vicious cycle of dependence imposed on us by the financially powerful: those in command of immense market power and those who dare to fashion the world in their own image.”