Will 2012 see more strong men of Africa leave office?
By Isaac Esipisu
There are many reasons for being angry with Africa ’s strong men, whose autocratic ways have thrust some African countries back into the eye of the storm and threatened to undo the democratic gains in other parts of the continent of the past decades.
For those who made ultimate political capital from opposing strongman rule in their respective countries, it is a chilling commentary of African politics that several leaders now seek to cement their places and refusing to retire and watch the upcoming elections from the sidelines, or refusing to hand over power after losing presidential elections.
In 2012 one of the longest strong men of Africa, President Abdoulaye Wade’s country Senegal is holding its presidential elections together with other countries like Sierra Leon, Mali, Mauritania, Malagasy, and will be shortly followed by Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Yoweri Museveni and Paul Biya of Cameroon , who are among the longest-ruling leaders of the Africa , won their respective presidential elections and continue to have a stronghold on their respective countries, albeit with charges raised of serious election malpractice. Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo Republic and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe will in one or two years face the electorate in an effort to further cement their authoritarian leadership.
What happened in the second half of 2011 in North Africa and more specifically in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya does not seem to have had any kind of effect on other Sub-Saharan African Leaders. In fact, they have strengthened their stronghold on power and in some countries even harassed and jailed opposition leaders.
In 2011, Africa for the first time witnessed the removal from power of three sitting presidents without an election. This was historical. Several leaders are preparing for elections and whether they win or lose will entirely depend on them and on which direction their country’s leadership will take.
Many long-serving presidents still cling on power even after the uprising in North Africa . Will the year 2012 see more of them leave office? Will it be through elections or an uprising like the one witnessed in North Africa ?
While it must be acknowledged that the African continent is in the transition from strongmen – dictators -who ruled without any form of democratic process, it has to be highlited that overall the continent is years away from real change.
During this transition, not only some are truly elected in a fair democratic process, some other are the product of vote rigging or electoral fraud.
The recent elections in Democratic Republic of Congo not only remind us of the Mobutu’s era, but re-ignite the debate on whether elections are worth holding or should we carry on with arms uprising to the last blood of Congolese.
What is controversial in the Congolese case is that leaders such Jacob Zuma helped Kabila on behalfof the Western governments in printing and stuffing ballot papers.
The light may not yet be at the end of the tunnel for most of the africansPosted by MANDANGI | Report as abusive
Year 2012 will see more upward looking events in Africa and I believe that more of the non-democratically elected presidents will be remove. Egypt, Lybya, Algeria e.t.c have all open the eyes of many African Nations that we are now in a world of Democracy and Human Rights.Posted by uncommondeal | Report as abusive
It should now be cleared to those remaining so called leaders that 2012 will be a year when many citizens of many African country are ready to fight for their rights.
Posted by lydieboka | Report as abusive
If it were just for the people’s will, yes, more strong men would be removed. But for geopolitical reasons they are needed. Would a Museveni be removed at a time when the US send troops to catch LRA’s Kony? Or the Ethiopian leader while the west, via the UN is trying to repel the Al-Shabaab militia. Chad’s Deby or Cameroon’s Biya may still be there for the same reasons although the latter was given some kind of warning during the last elections, which the US (and then timidly France) said were marred by irregularities… The other strong men need to be taken on a case by case basis: Kabila’s case is different in that there seems to be a “Congo fatique” syndrome in the West, which he is probably banking on to get away with substandard recent elections. Zimbabwe is also another complex case because of the powerful armed forces and as the impoverished population faces problems on a daily basis and too many logistical problems to organise itself. Things are, however changing, thanks to technology, especially mobile phones and there may be a few surprises this year. Even Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, who, because of his attempt to change the constitution, now falls in the “strong man” category, knows this. The army, however, is key in Subsaharan Afria. For more information: http://www.afrimap.org/english/images/pa per/AfriMAP_NAfrica_Boka_EN.pdf
I relly am interested in the question of the effect or potential effect of technological devices in desposing the ‘unwanted’ regimesPosted by sinyoro | Report as abusive
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