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Finally, a clown in Parliament


Among elected (and unelected) leaders across Africa, there is the feeling that quite a number of them are actually clowns.

Not that any has ever owned up to being a clown or buffoon.

Their actions and inactions – and even thought patterns, reveal a lot more than the mere suspicion of being clowns.

But far away in Brazil, a man has just been elected to Congress, and he is, without controversy, a clown – a professional clown.

He campaigned under the name, Tiririca, but his real name is Francisco Oliveira Silva.

He is incredibly popular and used it as a springboard to launch a political career.

It is suspected that Tiririca is an illiterate: unable to read or write. He even survived a legal challenge to his candidacy over evidence that he did not meet the literacy requirement for an elected official.

The electoral authorities in Brazil still say Tiririca could still be removed from office if he failed to show he can read and write after the election.

All that didn't stop Tiririca from prosecuting his campaign successfully.

One of his engaging campaign messages was “What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don't know. But vote for me and I will find out for you.”

May be that's humorous, but it is also more honest than most of the things politicians claim.
After all, numerous photos from congress and parliaments around the world have shown elected officials dozing off right in the middle of important debates and discussions.

The tons of humour Tiririca carries around with alone might just cause him not to sleep during discussions in Congress. On that score alone, he would be better than many other politicians.

No wonder that by the time the count was over, Tiririca raced ahead with more than 1.3 million votes – far more than any other candidate in the race.

Romario, the former striker who led Brazil win the 1994 World Cup has also been elected, along with team-mate Bebeto.

In the 2005 Liberian Presidential election in West Africa, former FIFA World player of the year, George Oppong Weah stood as a presidential candidate.

It was an election that attracted the world's attention, as Liberia had not long emerged from a bloody civil war.

The prospect of Liberia having a former footballer as President, after the departure of Charles Taylor, was a story so tantalising.

George Oppong Weah didn't make it. Instead, Africa's first female president in the person of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected.

Clearly, the failure of mainstream politicians is slowly opening the way for celebrities to want to give it a go.

As with the example from Brazil, the celebrities will include professional clowns as well.

But who really wants a clown for a leader?
Now, Brazil has one – officially.
How many has Africa – unofficially?
The condition on the continent suggests that there are too many clowns and buffoons.

The catch is they are usually not called by their real names.

That's why it is nice to call a spade, a spade. Because a spade is one simple implement that is very easy to recognise.