It wasn’t supposed to be like this. At least that’s what he thought when he first considered running for public office over 30 years ago. Even in those early days, in the back of his mind, he always knew he wanted to be in the position he is currently in.
Well, not this exact position. Because the position he was currently in as President of his home country was not an enviable one. At this very moment, President Leonard Jacobsen was waiting outside the offices of one of the most ruthless dictators on the planet with his hat literally in hand.
The worst part was that he had tried. He tried so hard to keep the promises that he made during the election. But there are some things that even the best of intentions can’t solve. He and his administration were responsible for the worst economic conditions in his country’s proud
history. And if his constituents knew how close to economic collapse that the country actually was, they would be calling for his immediate resignation right now.
So now here he was. His last desperate effort to save the country he loved so much. His country. The country that he would do anything to save. He once told a close advisor when things were beginning to look bleak, that he would make a deal with the devil if only he could
turn things around.
When the door opened, the closest thing to the devil on earth walked in with the confidence of a predator that had his prey right where he wanted him.
“Mr. President, so gracious of you to have this meeting in my country”, said the man entering the spacious, opulent office.
Jacobsen stood to shake the General’s hand as each man’s assistant left the room to leave the two leaders in private.
“I’m honored to be here, General”
Both men knew there was nothing honorable about the visit. The only difference was that honor only mattered to one of the men in the room. And it definitely wasn’t the man who named himself General and President of his native land.
They took their places on each side of the desk followed by a moment of silence.
Jacobsen used the moment to take in his surroundings. He was sitting in a room that had furniture and décor that looked like it belonged in a royal palace. Diamonds and 24k gold adorned almost everything in the room. Art hung from the wall that rivaled any museum that he had ever visited. Not bad for the son of a poor fisherman, who 20 years earlier was eating from dumpsters with the rest of his family. Amazing what a starving, skinny kid living on the streets could accomplish with endless ambition and a machete. Which is why Jacobsen knew better than to ever underestimate a man like the one sitting in front of him.
General Echo Mombozi had risen from the streets of a third world country at just the right time. Oil was being discovered in his backyard and foreign companies began showing up to take advantage of that fact. Though Mombozi had no formal education, he was far from stupid. He knew that if white people were showing up, there had to be a good reason.
By this time, in his early twenties, he already had a reputation as a man you didn’t cross. People naturally followed him, either out of fear or respect. The reasons didn’t matter to the General. He knew that he had the type of skills needed to lead his people. And the ruthlessness to do what needed to be done. While a lot of the natives saw the oil boom as an invasion of their land, Mombozi saw it as an opportunity. He would make deals with the invaders one day, then steal the oil and sell it on the black market the next. The oil companies knew it, but could do nothing about it. They knew that without some cooperation from Mombozi, that they would not be able to extract one drop of oil out of what was fast becoming his country.
General Mombozi saw himself as a man of the people. He often would walk the streets of his hometown handing out gold coins to the poor people on the streets, and they loved him for it. But they didn’t realize that a few gold coins meant nothing to him. He made billions every year from oil contracts and then again from stealing the oil and selling it. The vast majority of which he used to line his own pockets and the pockets of his closest friends and allies. He had numerous vaults throughout the city stacked with cash and jewelry. All under 24 hour guard, not that anyone was dumb enough to steal from the General. His closest friends joked with him and asked him what he could possibly do with all that money. He would just smile and say, “Wait and see.”
And while Leonard Jacobsen sat in silence thinking about how he had come to this low point in his life, General Echo Mombozi sat across the desk from this soft, pasty politician with that same knowing smile and thought to himself, “This was the moment that I have been waiting on. History will never forget the name Echo Mombozi.”