If politicians of “our day” stopped using their power for revenge and settling scores, the African continent would be for the better, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams has said.
Using the forgiving spirit of late South African President Nelson Mandela as an example to admonish African leaders to stop using their power for settling scores, the founder of Action Chapel International said in his New Year’s Eve message that: “The reason why we fight one another, we hate one another, we destroy one another with education, with money, with power is because ignorance of purpose results in abuse”.
The Ghanaian preacher told the story of how Mr Mandela, while President of South Africa after having been abused, assaulted, manhandled and denigrated in jail for 27 years, still had a heart of forgiveness to the extent that he once extended a hand of invitation to a white warden who used to urinate on him (Mandela) during his prison days, to come and sit at his dinner table in a restaurant.
“… When he [Mandela] had power, I was told that he went to a restaurant. He got up one day and said to his security: ‘Let’s go have something to eat’. … So, they went to this restaurant unannounced. They got in there and Mandela sat and ordered for food. While they were waiting for the food, he saw this Caucasian man sitting there eating, and he said to his security: ‘Invite that man to come and sit by me and eat at our table’.
“So, the man came, sat down by him while he [Mandela] was waiting for his food and the man’s knees were shaking like this, his hands were shaking like this [he demonstrated]. Mandela didn’t say anything. And afterwards, he said: ‘Nice meeting you, have a good one’. He [the Caucasian] said: ‘Your Excellency, thank you’.
“When they left the restaurant, he [Mandela] said to his security men: ‘What do you think was wrong with that man? Did you realise he was shaking?’ And they said: ‘Yes, we think he is sick’. And Mandela said: ‘No, he is not sick. He was nervous and he was scared. And they said: ‘Sir, why was he nervous and scared?’ He said: ‘When I was in prison, anytime they beat me up and I called for water, he would come and stand over me and pee on me. And when he saw me as President with all that power, he was scared that I would do something to hurt him’”, Archbishop Duncan-Williams narrated.
“But Mandela said: ‘I’m better than that’. He realised that power is not for revenge; power is not to settle scores”, he noted, adding: “If the politicians of our day and of this continent would realise that power is not for revenge and power is not to be used to settle scores and to destroy people but power is to build and power is to be used to build bridges and help the next generation, we would have a better continent and a better Africa”.