Throughout history, unscrupulous men have sought positions of power and brought themselves and others to ruin. Today in Africa we see just such a tragedy of corruption and suffering unfolding. In Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) Robert Mugabe has presided over the country since independence in 1980. Once the breadbasket of the region, Zimbabwe must now import food to feed its people due to a violent land redistribution scheme that saw food production fall drastically. During his nearly 40-year administration, corruption has run rampant and elites have prospered while wages, living standards and life expectancy have fallen and unemployment and inflation have soared. Today, at age 93, the aging patriarch seems determined to hold on to power, in the face of rising calls for him “to go” (BBC Zimbabwe Country Profile, May 9, 2017).
In South Africa, where Jacob Zuma holds power, it is the same story. In spite of hundreds of fraud and corruption charges against him, once elected “he began to seize personal control of important state institutions by appointing loyalists… to harass Mr. Zuma’s opponents and protect his corrupt friends and allies” (The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2017). The legacy of his rule has been soaring rates of violent crime, high unemployment, widespread poverty and a continuing AIDS epidemic—all while corruption among the elite and mismanagement of the economy have destroyed the credit rating of the country. The situation has spawned anger among many South Africans who want to see the president replaced.
Long ago, Solomon observed, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). The Apostle Paul foresaw that selfishness, greed and the love of pleasure would be evident in the last days—including among the leaders of society. These are just two examples of why Jesus Christ is going to return and establish a world-ruling government that will bring peace and justice to all people (Isaiah 9:6–7).