Goodluck Jonathan was beaten by Muhammadu Buhari in the latest elections which seem to really reflect the will of the people, in a country plagued by various problems, which include the boko haram insurgency and astonishing levels of corruption. … Could Nigeria as the biggest economy and influential in other ways provide an example with this election for other African “democracies” or will it be one of the few exceptions? What do you think? How is it in your country or region? Join the discussion. (Might require a one time => registration)
I think this is a timely topic. The recent Nigeria election process is something many African countries could learn something from, but as recent & current events show, some people are probably to dense in their heads to learn anything.
The other day Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, the 71 year old president of Sudan has just “won” an election with 94% of the electorate voting for him. He first came to power in 1989 after a military coup & has been there ever since.
Currently, a couple of Burundians have already lost their lives, probably gunned down by police in ongoing demonstrations triggered by the re-election of Nkurunziza by the ruling party to stand in the forthcoming elections. That would not be unusual, if Nkurunziza was not just completing his 10th year (second term) in power, with the constitution allowing only 2 terms! As is common around Africa, one can go around this by changing the constitution, if necessary to remain in power. Collateral damage, like some deaths here & there do not matter.
It is not clear which turn this is going to take, either going the Burkina Faso way, where the president gave in to the public outcry. The other way of course is the man forcibly staying.
Then we have the case of Togo with the Gnassingbes, where one family has practically ruled the country for almost 50 years. The father, who died after ruling for 38 years was replaced by the son, Faure Gnassingbe in 2005. In 2010, after a violent and what was considered a flawed election, he was re-elected. The opposition, outnumbered by the ruling party failed in a bid to re-introduce term limits, which had been removed from the constitution in 2002.
Not quite sure where we are heading with this.
My 2 cents.
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Well, you are right, but these issues are not only in Africa.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, the 74 year old president of Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic, who has been in power since 1989 has just won 97.7% (!) of the vote in Sunday’s election, securing a new five-year term. This was announced by the Central Election Commission. There is hardly any opposition.
Not far away, in Uzbekistan, also a former Soviet republic in Central Asia on 29th March, Islam Karimov “won” 90% of the vote, his fourth consecutive term as president since 1990.
“Though the constitution limits presidents to two terms in office, the Central Election Commission allowed Karimov to run again, arguing that Karimov had only served one term since the constitution was adopted in 2002, and that his previous two terms before that should not count.” [Wikipedia]
We of course have Lukashenka in Belarus, referred to as “the last dictator in Europe” & a couple others in other former Soviet republics. Other than that, we have other countries with not exactly exemplary “democracies” like Venezuela, even after Chavez, Nicaragua, …, etc.
That is of course no excuse. If Africa is to move forward & develop, one of the areas that need to change is the political infrastructure. The problem is many of these leaders are actually dead wood and their politics is the very reason our countries do not develop and are stagnant, economically and in other areas.
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