Going through my memory from the past year (and a bit just before 2008), I can recollect following change of leadership in African countries that didn’t go as smooth as they suppose to:
- Kenya – The results from the election in late 2007 were not accepted, and months of riots and killings followed.
- Zimbabwe – Mugabe and his Zanu PF did not accept the results from the presidential election in April 2008. Violence followed, and the situation is still far from resolved.
- Angola – Apparently rigged elections (almost always the case when a party gets over 80% of the votes…). Tense situation, but few reports are coming through from the aftermath.
- Guinea – The country's leader dies in December 2008, and the military takes over the leadership, promising free elections in two(!) years time.
- Ghana – Tense situation after a very narrow win for the oppositional candidate in the presidential election.
- South Africa - Although the presidential election is in April 2009, the ruling party, ANC, has sent out signals that it will use force if things don't go their way.
Maybe there are even more mishaps in 2008 in Africa. Perhaps I’m deceived by the media reports, and blowing things out of proportions here. But I truly feel that this veil of insecurity creates a situation of short-termness in African countries. This is now haunting the development of the continent, as risks are often too high for potential investors to contribute into the countries’ economies. I mean who wants to put in money in projects that are only certain to live until the next election…?
What many Africa countries need is a true evolution. The pivotal factors for this are variation and competition, which are currently very rare across many of the countries in focus. African leadership seldom change (low competition), and when it does it is within the same party/political line (low variation) (see Africa needs new blood). This has to change, and it has to change soon, or else the rest of the world will leave the African continent completely behind.
I wish and hope that we could see African leaders being as eager to criticize election frauds and election violence in other African countries, as they are eager to blame colonialism for all the bad things that has happened them. I would also be pleased to see the rest of the world showing the same level of engagement for the conflicts at this continent, as they show for any issues surrounding what America or Israel is doing. But maybe this is too much to wish for...?
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