My grandfather used to observe that “people who hold real power do not need to throw their weight around”. The quiet presence of real power is all that is necessary to sway the majority opinion.
Verbosity and confrontational politics is the domain of those who do not have good power bases.
They shout incessantly like Gadaffi did, hoping to agitate the status quo merely to create space for themselves and their personal interests on the power table.
In this regard Colonel Gadaffi is the classic example of global powerlessness.
I was ashamed to notice the map of Africa deliberately pinned on his robes because not all African leaders and people are demagogues like him.
Even the normally exuberant President Zuma of South Africa recognized the damage caused by using rhetorical speech at this important global forum.
On the other hand, examples of a more effective diplomacy are aplenty. Look at the quiet influence that the First Couple, Paul and Jeanette Kagame, are wielding today.
Even though they have the legitimacy to keep on reminding the world about its neglect during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, they have chosen instead to move forward and focus their energy on developing positive global networks.
Consequently the “guilty” nations are now tripping over themselves to open the global-power-doors to Rwandans.
These important doors will continue to be firmly locked against Colonel Gadaffi and his genre despite their lofty speeches and dramatic gestures.
Africa must now move beyond the usual rhetoric about colonialism and imperialism.
It makes no sense to keep on shouting s in the winter cold outside Buckingham Palace. We must find a diplomatic way to get in through those front gates and then communicate our continental agenda softly and rationally, while enjoying warm meals and drinks on the house.
Africans must now become comfortable with our historical identity within the global power structures.
Anybody who has been following and listening to President Kagame as he makes the diplomatic rounds in Washington DC has witnessed the African leadership which that is relevant for the future of our continent.
We must follow Kagame’s quiet dignity and ignore the Colonel from Libya.