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US-Africa Leaders summit: Obama’s speed dating exercise






THE first ever US-Africa Leaders summit which runs from 4-8 August in Washington DC can easily be construed as a demonstration that the US and Africa both value their relationship and that a new era in US-Africa relations has been born.


However, looking deeper at the presidency of President Barack Obama, a different picture emerges.


Having 55 heads of state in one place and expecting to achieve tangible results in four days is slightly optimistic for a president who spent the best part of his two terms literally ignoring the continent.


China overtook the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009, the same year when Obama started his first term as US president. The past years under Obama’s rule saw US trade with Africa decline.


Obama, despite his African origin, has been a less frequent visitor to the land of his ancestors than Chinese leaders. He made his first substantial visit to Africa only last year, while in the same year Chinese President Xi Jinping embarked on a three-nation African tour merely one week after taking office.


Obama started his presidency on a wrong footing with Africa, saying the continent’s leadership should forget about colonialism and look inward; yet was preaching a different story for the Middle East crisis. Obama clashed with the likes of president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who said western neo-colonial domination of Africa had impeded development.


This current ‘speed dating’ with African leaders is unlikely to do in four days what could not be done in five years.


The fact that there has been no threat of an African boycott to the summit is no demonstration of the value of this summit.




read more on Zimbabwe's take on the Summit.....




BN-DZ466_africa_G_20140805224000.jpg - Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Daughter Ange


BN-DZ484_africa_G_20140805232149.jpg President Paul Biya of Cameroon and first lady Chantel.





1407321965335_Image_galleryImage_Preside President of The Gambia Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh and first lady Zineb Jammeh arrive for the dinner


1407323220329_wps_48_Ikililou_Dhoinine_P Ikililou Dhoinine, President of the Union of the Comoros and his wife Hadidja Abubakar Ikililou Dhoinine



........ and Lionel Richie who performed.

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Amilcar Cabral


From 1963 to his assassination in 1973, Cabral led the PAIGC's guerrilla movement (in Portuguese Guinea) against the Portuguese government, which evolved into one of the most successful wars of independence in modern African history. The goal of the conflict was to attain independence for both Portuguese Guinea and Cape Verde. Over the course of the conflict, as the movement captured territory from the Portuguese, Cabral became the de facto leader of a large portion of what became Guinea-Bissau.


In preparation for the independence war, Cabral set up training camps in neighboring Ghana with the permission of Kwame Nkrumah. Cabral trained his lieutenants through various techniques, including mock conversations to provide them with effective communication skills that would aid their efforts to mobilize Guinean tribal chiefs to support the PAIGC.


Amílcar Cabral soon realized that the war effort could be sustained only if his troops could be fed and taught to live off the land alongside the larger populace. Being an agronomist, he taught his troops to teach local crop growers better farming techniques, so that they could increase productivity and be able to feed their own family and tribe, as well as the soldiers enlisted in the PAIGC's military wing. When not fighting, PAIGC soldiers would till and plow the fields alongside the local population.


Cabral and the PAIGC also set up a trade-and-barter bazaar system that moved around the country and made staple goods available to the countryside at prices lower than that of colonial store owners. During the war, Cabral also set up a roving hospital and triage station to give medical care to wounded PAIGC's soldiers and quality-of-life care to the larger populace, relying on medical supplies garnered from the USSR and Sweden. The bazaars and triage stations were at first stationary until they came under frequent attack from Portuguese regime forces.


In 1972, Cabral began to form a People's Assembly in preparation for the independence of Guinea-Bissau, but disgruntled former PAIGC rival Inocêncio Kani, with the help of Portuguese agents operating within the PAIGC, shot and killed him. The Portuguese government's plan, which eventually went awry, was to enjoin the help of this former rival to arrest Amílcar Cabral and place him under the custody of Portuguese authorities. The assassination[2] took place on 20 January 1973 in Conakry, Guinea. His half-brother, Luís Cabral, became the leader of the Guinea-Bissau branch of the party and would eventually become President of Guinea-Bissau.


Other than being a guerrilla leader, Cabral was highly regarded internationally as one of the most prominent African thinkers of the 20th century and for his intellectual contributions aimed at formulating a coherent cultural, philosophical and historical theoretical framework to justify and explain independence movements. This is reflected in his various writings and public interventions.


Cabral is considered a "revolutionary theoretician as significant as Frantz Fanon and Che Guevara", whose influence reverberated far beyond the African continent


One can read more of him here


The world has lost many many great men.





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Patrice Lumumba




Patrice Émery Lumumba 2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961, was a Congolese independence leader and the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo). As founder and leader of the Mouvement national congolais, Lumumba helped win his country's independence from Belgium in 1960.


Within twelve weeks, Lumumba's government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis. Lumumba was subsequently imprisoned by state authorities under Joseph-Desiré Mobutu and executed by firing squad under the command of the secessionist Katangan authorities. The United Nations, which he had asked to come to the Congo, did not intervene to save him. Belgium, the United States (via the CIA), and the United Kingdom (via MI6) have all been accused of involvement in Lumumba's death




His last letter to his wife reflects the type of man he was. .


My dear wife,


I am writing these words not knowing whether they will reach you, when they will reach you, and whether I shall still be alive when you read them. All through my struggle for the independence of my country, I have never doubted for a single instant the final triumph of the sacred cause to which my companions and I have devoted all our lives. But what we wished for our country, its right to an honourable life, to unstained dignity, to independence without restrictions, was never desired by the Belgian imperialists and the Western allies, who found direct and indirect support, both deliberate and unintentional, amongst certain high officials of the United Nations, that organization in which we placed all our trust when we called on its assistance.


They have corrupted some of our compatriots and bribed others. They have helped to distort the truth and bring our independence into dishonour. How could I speak otherwise? Dead or alive, free or in prison by order of the imperialists, it is not myself who counts. It is the Congo, it is our poor people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage from whose confines the outside world looks on us, sometimes with kindly sympathy, but at other times with joy and pleasure.


But my faith will remain unshakeable. I know and I feel in my heart that sooner or later my people will rid themselves of all their enemies, both internal and external, and that they will rise as one man to say No to the degradation and shame of colonialism, and regain their dignity in the clear light of the sun.


We are not alone. Africa, Asia and the free liberated people from all corners of the world will always be found at the side of the millions of Congolese who will not abandon the struggle until the day when there are no longer any colonialists and their mercenaries in our country. As to my children whom I leave and whom I may never see again, I should like them to be told that it is for them, as it is for every Congolese, to accomplish the sacred task of reconstructing our independence and our sovereignty: for without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men. Neither brutality, nor cruelty nor torture will ever bring me to ask for mercy, for I prefer to die with my head unbowed, my faith unshakable and with profound trust in the destiny of my country, rather than live under subjection and disregarding sacred principles. History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that is taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or in the United Nations, but the history which will be taught in the countries freed from imperialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history, and to the north and south of the Sahara, it will be a glorious and dignified history.


Do not weep for me, my dear wife. I know that my country, which is suffering so much, will know how to defend its independence and its liberty.

Long live the Congo! Long live Africa!

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Zimbabwe's Grace Mugabe enters Zanu-PF politics




The wife of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has entered politics after being endorsed to become head of the ruling Zanu-PF party's women's league.


Grace Mugabe, 49, will take over the role in December at the party's annual congress.


The BBC's Brian Hungwe in Zimbabwe says the post will allow Mrs Mugabe to sit on Zanu-PF's powerful politburo.


There has been tension in Zanu-PF over who should succeed Mr Mugabe, who was re-elected president last year.


Mrs Mugabe was officially recommended to become the national secretary of the Zanu-PF women's league at its elective congress, which has been taking place in the capital, Harare.


The gathering was addressed by her 90-year-old husband, who has governed Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.


She is his second wife and used to be his secretary. The couple married in 1996 and have three children.


Our reporter says her entry into politics is likely to fuel further tension over Mr Mugabe's succession.






interesting developments in Zim.

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not an African but an interesting leader worth studying......



The ascent of Turkey's Ahmet Davutoglu




Turkey's new prime minister was the key figure behind the transformation of Turkish foreign policy.


So far most commentary on Ahmet Davutoglu's selection as Turkey's new prime minister has been focused on what his relationship will be with the country's new president, Recep Teyyip Erdogan. Opponents of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) tend to portray Davutoglu as certain to play second fiddle to Erdogan who is both fiercely resented and feared, and regarded by his enemies as a "Turkish Putin". I believe that Davutoglu's record in foreign policy gives assurances that he will be a strong and effective prime minister.


Starting out in 2003 as chief advisor to the foreign minister, and later to the prime minister, Davutoglu's role as a highly influential and respected expert was quickly recognised. Long before Davutoglu became foreign minister in 2009, he was widely respected in Turkey as the creative force behind its energetic and effective foreign policy, which was causing a stir in the region and around the world.


Foreign policy priorities


Davutoglu's contributions were particularly notable in three domains of foreign policy. First, he understood and clearly articulated the importance for Turkey to adapt to the new regional setting created by the end of the Cold War, appreciating that it was now possible and desirable for Turkey to act more independently in the Middle East and beyond without disrupting its primary security ties with the United States and NATO.


Secondly, Davutoglu from almost the beginning of his role in government became Ankara's chief emissary seeking to clear the path to Turkish membership in the European Union, helping devise the "Copenhagen Criteria" that turned out to be more useful as a roadmap for desired domestic reform than to achieve their stated purpose of paving the way to EU membership. Satisfying the EU requirements gave Prime Minister Erdogan the justification he needed for impressively strengthening the civilian control of government.



Erdogan names Davutoglu as new Turkey PM

Thirdly, these moves to civilianise the Turkish government removed altogether the earlier role played by the Turkish armed forces as custodian of the republic through the medium of coups against elected political leaders. In retrospect, substantially removing the armed forces from the political life was a great step forward in democratising Turkey, even if this momentous development has never been acknowledged in Brussels, and not even often in Turkey.


Turkey has almost alone in the region played a principled and constructive role by challenging the Israeli blockade of Gaza and seeking to end the collective punishment and humanitarian ordeal of the Palestinian population. This role was resented in the centres of Western power and even in most Arab capitals, but it has endeared Turkey and its leaders to the peoples of the region and beyond. It also illustrated Davutoglu's insistence that a successful Turkish foreign policy should be as principled as possible while at the same time being creatively opportunistic, promoting national interests and values, and above all seeking engagement rather than confrontation.


More famously, and controversially, Davutoglu saw the opportunities for Turkish outreach in the Arab world, and beyond. The AKP effectively expanded trade, investment, and cultural exchanges throughout the region, an approach labelled "zero problems with neighbours" by Davutoglu. ZPN seemed a brilliant diplomatic stroke, a dramatic effort to rest Turkey's ambitions on the dynamics of "soft power geopolitics", that is, providing benefits, attracting others, and not depending for influence on military prowess or coercive diplomacy.


The Arab Spring arrives


Then in early 2011 came the Arab Spring that surprised everyone, including Turkey. It created excitement and turbulence throughout the region, but also the promise of more democratic patterns of governance. Davutoglu as much as any statesman welcomed these Arab anti-authoritarian upheavals as benevolent happenings, especially the extraordinary events in Tunisia and Egypt in early 2011 that overthrew two long serving authoritarian and corrupt leaders as a result of largely nonviolent mass mobilisations.


This optimism did not last long. Developments in Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen made it clear that there was not going to take place a series of smooth and quick transitions throughout the region. Turkey would have to choose sides as between the authoritarian old order seeking to hold onto or restore its power and its populist challengers.



Counting the Cost - Turkey: An economy at a crossroads

Syria posed this challenge in its severest form. The Assad regime in Damascus had earlier been the poster child of ZPN, and now was committing one atrocity after another against its own people. Turkey abruptly switched sides, losing trust in Assad, and aligning itself with rebel forces. Both pro and anti-Assad postures proved controversial in Turkey. Critics accused the government of playing sectarian politics by supporting an insurgency that was increasingly dominated by Sunni militants associated with the Syrian version of the Muslim Brotherhood.


Davutoglu skilfully and reasonably reformulated his ZPN by asserting that when a government shoots its own citizens in large numbers, Turkey will side with the people, not the governmental leadership, which lost its legitimacy through its actions. From now on the doctrine associated with his outlook could be more accurately understood as "zero problems with people", or ZPP.


The mass mobilisation against the elected Morsi government in Egypt illustrated another kind of difficulty, leading Turkey to stand out in the region, joined only by Qatar, in its refusal to give its blessings to the military coup that brought General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to power in July 2013.


Principled pragmatism


The touchstone of Davutoglu's approach to foreign policy is the effort to blend principle and pragmatism in relation to shifting policy contexts, doing what is right ethically while at the same time exploring every opportunity to promote Turkish national interests. These include enhancing Turkey's international reputation as a responsible and strategic player. This blend of goals was well-illustrated by the seemingly frantic Davutoglu diplomacy in many settings, including the Balkans, Crimea, Armenia, Myanmar, Africa, and Latin America, wherever possible seeking to resolve regional conflicts while lending support to humanitarian goals.


The most impressive example of such an approach was undoubtedly the major initiative starting in mid-2011 to help crisis-ridden Somalia when the rest of the world abandoned the country as a "failed state". From this bold humanitarian gesture of solidarity came a major opening to Africa for Turkey. This produced an immediate rise in Turkish prestige that brought with it major opportunities throughout the continent.


Davutoglu's mistakes


Despite an extraordinary record of achievements, the Davutoglu foreign policy experience also has its share of blemishes, even taking into account the difficulties that all governments faced in adapting to the abrupt sequence of unexpected changes in the Middle East during the last several years. Perhaps because his plate was so full with an array of diverse undertakings, Davutoglu didn't sufficiently focus on the daunting complexities of the aftermath of the Arab Spring.


The most serious of these blunders concerned Syria, not the underlying impulses, but the lack of nuance. Ankara acted as if the Assad regime would quickly collapse if pushed even slightly by the uprising. Turkey seemed continuously surprised by Assad's resilience and by the internal, regional, and international support Syria was receiving. Turkish policy seemed mistaken, embroiling Turkey in an unwinnable foreign civil war, and tarnishing its image as a prudent and calming diplomatic influence throughout the region.


A similar line of criticism applies to Davutoglu's overall response to the Arab Spring and its aftermath. It was consistent with the principled side of the foreign policy approach he was pioneering to welcome the events of 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt. It was premature to consider these developments as irreversible, and to presuppose their continuous deepening and regional spread. It soon became evident that Davutoglu did not appreciate the political will or capabilities of counter-revolutionary forces in the region, and did not seem to take account of the impact of an anti-democratic preoccupation that pervaded the dynastic politics of the well-endowed monarchies in the region.


All in all, Ahmet Davutoglu has had a remarkable run as a foreign minister, and as Turkey's new prime minister, is almost certain to embellish further his many notable contributions to the success of post-Kemalist Turkey. His thoughtfulness about policymaking combined with his personal integrity and decency while operating at the highest levels of professional competence make him a rarity among politicians. Turkey is poised to play a crucial role as a force for peace and justice in the roiled waters of the Middle East, in surrounding regions and sub-regions, and even in the world.


Richard Falk is Albert g Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Research Fellow, Orfalea Center of global Studies. He is also former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.


Editor's note: A version of this article was previously published on Al Jazeera Turk.


The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.







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The 10 Iron Laws of African Misgovernance— Law No.1


In the course of my intense study of modern African political and economic systems over the decades, I have observed certain self-evident facts or truisms that African dictators cannot ignore or may choose to do so at their own peril. There are 10 of them and the striking thing about them is their infallibility or immutability. You may call them “Ayittey’s Laws of Bad African Governance” or the Iron Laws of African Misgovernance. I often ask my students to dispute or add to them. See if you can do the same.


Law No. 1: The destruction of an African country, regardless of the professed ideology of its government, ALWAYS, ALWAYS begins with some dispute over the electoral process or transfer of political power.


On April 12, 1980, a group of enlisted men under the command of Sergeant Samuel Doe, a member of the Krahn tribe, stormed Liberia’s executive mansion and overthrew the regime of William Tolbert, native Liberians roared with euphoria. But it quickly evaporated. Liberians who had initially welcomed the coup recoiled in horror when Doe, an illiterate, proceeded to institute a brutal reign of terror and his own brand of tribal apartheid. All top positions in his government, the army, and his presidential guards were filled with members of his own tribe.


The coup itself was accompanied by acts of savage brutality. Tolbert was murdered as he lay in bed. The soldiers disemboweled the dead leader and gouged out one of his eyes with a bayonet. His mutilated body was displayed for two days at the John F. Kennedy Hospital morgue and then buried with 27 others in a mass grave. The soldiers then went on an orgy of massacres and barbaric reprisals, killing an estimated 200 people. The chilling spectacle was televised nationwide. High government officials of the deposed regime were summarily tried and executed by a drunken firing squad. Their half‑naked corpses were then dangled from a row of telephone poles on the beach.


Under pressure from the United States, Doe held elections in 1985, but they were massively rigged. When the votes were being counted and Doe saw that he was losing, he ordered the vote count halted. The ballot boxes were taken to a secret location in the barracks and the votes counted with Doe declared the winner. In December 1989 Charles Taylor, a descendant of the Americo-Liberians, set out with about 150 rag-tag rebel soldiers of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) to oust General Doe from power. Other tribes, including the Gio and Mano tribes of eastern Liberia, who were victims of Doe’s brutal tyranny, joined in, as did half of even Doe’s own soldiers, who deserted. But the objective of the uprising quickly changed. Bitter feuding emerged, even before Doe was captured and killed in September 1990, between Taylor and his commander, Prince Yormie Johnson, with each claiming the presidency.


On January 27, 1996, General Ibrahim Bare Mainassara seized power in Niger. Under both domestic and foreign pressure, he scheduled presidential elections for the country on July 6, 1996 and declared himself a candidate.


When early results showed that he was losing, Mainassara sacked and replaced the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) with his own appointees, placed his opponents under guard in their own houses. The other contenders’ home phone lines were also cut off. A ban on public gatherings in Niamey was announced on the evening of 9 July. Security forces were deployed at candidates’ homes and some political party offices. The floodlit Palais des Sports where results were centralized was guarded by an armored car and heavy machine guns mounted on pickup trucks. Two radio stations were stopped from broadcasting and all of the country’s international phone lines were suspended (African News Weekly, 15-21 July 1996; p.2).


This crass strong-arm tactic was aped by Africa’s longest serving autocrat, President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo. On June 21, 1998, President Gnassingbe Eyadema who had ruled Togo for 31 years, stood for re-election. His supporters, mostly his Kabye people from central Togo who back the army, the police and the bureaucracy, fudged the electoral rolls, denied the opposition access to the state-run media and intimidated opposition politicians. Still, “when the votes began to be counted, it was clear that Gilchrist Olympio, the chief opposition candidate and son of the country’s first president, was going to win.


Whereupon the paramilitary police stepped in and stopped the count in Lome: ballot boxes were seized and burned. The head of the electoral commission and four of its members resigned. The interior minister declared President Eyadema the winner anyway” (The Economist, 4 July 1998, 40). The country was plunged into violence and chaos. Foreign investors fled, the European Union suspended aid and the country’s economy lay in ruins.


On February 15, 2000, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who had been in power for 19 years, asked voters in a referendum for draconian emergency powers and an extension of his 20-year rule by 10 more at the age of 75. The mad power-grab was sugar-coated by asking the people for a parallel authority to seize white farms for distribution to landless peasants. Despite heavy appeals to black nationalism, Zimbabweans resoundingly rejected the constitutional revisions by 55 percent to 45 percent.


After his first defeat in 20 years of virtually unchallenged rule, members of Mugabe’s own party called on him to step down at a heated Central Committee meeting. Paranoid and desperate, Mugabe vowed retribution and played his trump card, sending his war veterans to occupy white farmlands. Over 1,500 farms were occupied, despite a high court vacate order. Ten occupied farms were owned by black opposition leaders.


The police, under instructions from Mugabe, refused to evict the war veterans, who threatened civil war if Mugabe lost the June 2000 elections. On April 1, about 10,000 anti-government protestors rallied in Harare, denouncing Mugabe and the war veterans. “Say No – to threats of war, lawlessness, corruption and to willful violation of constitutional rights,” read one placard. The war veterans and other thugs beat up the protestors mercilessly.




continue reading here:




excellent study.

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Zambia’s new president may be white, but that’s not what makes him interesting


On Tuesday, Guy Scott was the vice president of Zambia. Now, he’s being hailed by many in the international press as the first white leader of a sub-Saharan African country since the fall of apartheid two decades ago (that's not quite accurate).


Scott, 70, became president Wednesday after the death of his ally, President Michael Sata, in a London hospital. It’s an interim position; fresh elections are expected in 90 days. Scott says he is ineligible to contest because his parents, Scottish colonial settlers, were born outside the country.


Sata, a firebrand politician whose sharp tongue earned him the sobriquet “King Cobra,” picked Scott as his deputy in 2011. The appointment came after a hard-fought election campaign between Sata and then incumbent President Rupiah Bandah, a contest that was deeply divisive.


"Michael knows about political symbolism," Scott told the Spectator magazine, a center-right British publication, in an interview in 2012. "It’s one in the eye for his critics who say he’s a tribalist. Obviously, he’s not."


The pair's closeness has now vaulted the Cambridge-educated Scott into an unusual perch. His political life began, in part, as a result of his father, who supported Zambian independence and became a member of parliament. The younger Scott served a stint as agriculture minister in the early 1990s and was credited with navigating Zambia out of a drought-spawned food crisis.


Scott described his appointment as president as a "bit of a shock to the system," according to the Daily Telegraph, and labeled himself the first white democratic leader in Africa since "maybe the Venetians in the days when they ran the world" -- a cheeky comment that's a sign more of his irreverent banter than historical acumen.


Zambia was once the former British colony Northern Rhodesia (Southern Rhodesia is now Zimbabwe). Independent since 1964, the country has a reputation for being one of the more stable democracies in southern Africa. Whites number only around 40,000 of the country’s 13 million people, and a number of those arrived in the last decade, following the land seizures enacted by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.


Scott is not as hard on Mugabe as many other white politicians in the region; Zambia's government under Sata was seen as being close to the aging autocrat. In a 2013 interview with the Guardian, Scott even described Mugabe as an unwilling ruler, ready to hand over power in a democratic election. He spoke of Mugabe with a degree of affection: "He's a funny chap," said Scott. "He seems to doze off, and then he suddenly laughs at a joke while in the middle of dozing."


In the same interview, Scott also was scathing about the region's biggest player. "I hate South Africans," he said, before recognizing "that's not a fair thing to say because I like a lot of South Africans." He explained, eventually: "I dislike South Africa for the same reason that Latin Americans dislike the United States, I think. It's just too big and too unsubtle."


Though Zambia is a relatively small country, it's part of wider regional conversations. Most prominently, Sata and his supporters traded on anti-Chinese sentiment during their election campaign. China plays a huge role in the country's economy, building infrastructure and retaining a massive stake in Zambia's crucial mining sector -- investments that some describe as a form of neo-imperialism.


Scott, speaking to the Spectator in 2012, was already trying to rein in the rhetoric that brought his ally to power. "It was a shock tactic to point out the problems with the Zambian-Chinese relationship," he said.


Critics also pointed to what they called a creeping authoritarianism in Sata's government. The secrecy surrounding the late president's poor health echoed the cloak-and-daggers scheming seen when nondemocratic regimes experience a leadership transition.


Scott defended his government with colorful language in the Guardian:


It doesn't help that people don't know where Zambia is and they don't know what Zambia is like. If you were to write a story about America getting out of hand and going to a one-party state, everybody knows so much about the United States that they won't believe you.


If you say, 'Somewhere over there in the African hinterland, not far from where Marlon Brando had a house surrounded by stakes with heads of his enemies on, not far from the Congo, there's a place where there's a one-party state …' Well, there probably is, probably several. And so it's a lot easier for that because there's no built-in balance.


Scott has said his success in political life is a unique consequence of a Zambia's stability and tolerance. "I don’t think I would be nearly as welcome in South Africa, for example. Or West Africa," he told the Spectator. "I get the suspicion they are pretty dubious, wondering what a white man is doing there. But for some reason, I’m very popular here."


He'll be hoping that popularity lasts, at least for 90 days.






how was this allowed to happen?



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Burkina Faso president resigns after protests


Blaise Compaore urges transition to "free and transparent" polls and reportedly leaves capital after violent protests.


Blaise Compaore, the president of Burkina Faso, has been forced to leave power after days of protests by tens of thousands of people calling for his ousting.


It appeared that the chief of the country's armed forces took power after the president's resignation.


Compaore announced his resignation in a statement on Friday and called for a 90-day transition to "free and transparent" elections in the West African country.


"I declare a vacancy of power with a view to allowing a transition that should finish with free and transparent elections in a maximum period of 90 days," said the statement, read on local radio and television by presenters.


Crowds danced and cheered in the capital, Ougadougou, blowing on whistles after Compaore's statement was broadcast. The mood cooled, however, as it became plain that military chief General Honore Traore had taken over the reins of power.


"In line with constitutional measures, and given the power vacuum ... I will assume as of today my responsibilities as head of state," Traore said in a statement.


Arsene Evariste Kabore, the former editor-in-chief of RTB Television in Ouagadougou, told Al Jazeera that Compaore had left the capital on Friday, travelling towards the southern town of Po, near the border with Ghana.


Compaore had been in power since a 1987 coup against then-President Thomas Sankara, Compaore's longtime friend and political ally, who was shot dead.


Ouagadougou riots


Protesters stormed the parliament building in Ougadougou on Thursday and set part of it ablaze in a day of violence around the country aimed at stopping a parliamentary vote that would have allowed the president to seek a fifth term in office.


In a concession to the protesters, the government withdrew the bill from consideration.


But the move did not calm protesters, and General Honore Traore, the army's joint chief of staff, later announced that the government and parliament had been dissolved and a new, inclusive government would be named.


At least one person was killed and several others wounded during the unrest, authorities said, and a curfew was put in place from 7pm to 6am.


Imad Mesdoua, a political analyst speaking to Al Jazeera from London on Friday, said details about the possible transition of power were scarce.


He said the opposition was demanding civilian rule, but the army was expected to take on a central role in the country's Mesdoua future.


"There are reports of looting and unrest in other parts of the country, outside of Ouagadougou. The army will continue to play a strong role," he said.


The EU called on Friday for the people of Burkina Faso to have the final say in who rules their country.


"The European Union believes that it is up to the people of Burkina Faso to decide their own future. Any solution must be the result of a broad consensus and respect the constitution," a spokesman for the bloc's diplomatic service said.






interesting developments in Burkina Faso.

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The lives of the filthy rich African presidents


The phrase “let them eat cake” is widely attributed to Marie-Antoinette (1755-93), the queen consort of Louis XVI. She is supposed to have said this when she was told that the French populace had no bread to eat.


This statement perhaps best exemplifies the insensitive nature of the lifestyles of African leaders.


There are many ways of gauging the vanity of some African leaders. You could count the monuments, universities, football stadiums, hospitals, statutes, highways and schools that bear their names or are dedicated to them.


When it comes to lifestyles, some African leaders have no inhibitions. They spend lavishly on birthdays, anniversaries, statues and even weddings.


The money ranges from direct siphoning from government coffers and public agencies, to forcing contributions from officials, friends, corporate organisations and kickbacks from multinationals keen on securing deals for infrastructure development, oil and gas and other natural resources exploration.


The lifestyles of African presidents and their families reflect the tragedy of resource-rich African countries where the leaders spend millions on luxury items, as the ordinary people live in abject poverty, lacking access to basic amenities and services such as clean drinking water, health care and education.


Recently, the Angolan government spent $35 million (Shs94 billion) to mark president José Eduardo dos Santos’s 72nd birthday. The money is said to have been spent on various activities that were undertaken in the country, including sporting activities, a state dinner and a talk by the president.


Hosting international public figures

Angolan media reported that the country’s culture ministry spent more than $6 million (Shs16.2 billion) on hosting international public figures to talk about the president. Among the invited leaders were former Nigerian president Olesegun Obasanjo, the United Nations Secretary-General’s representative in Angola Magareth Anstee and former Namibian president Sam Nujoma.


It was also reported that international hockey and basketball tournaments were organised at the cost of $1.5 million (Shs4 billion) each, while the country’s defence ministry organised a talk on the president’s commitment to the pacification of the Great Lakes countries, at a cost of $600,000 (Shs1.6 billion).


About 500 guests were also hosted to a lavish dinner in honour of the president at a cost of $1 million (Shs2.7 billion).


President Dos Santos, Africa’s longest serving leader after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang’ Nguema has been in power since September 1979. In 2013, the president’s daughter, Isabel dos Santos, gave a personal loan to the government of Portugal when it was facing a credit crunch.


According to Forbes magazine, over the past decade Angola has been one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its gross domestic product grew at an 11.6 per cent annual clip from 2002 to 2012, driven by a more than doubling of oil production to 1.8 million barrels a day. The government budget stands at $69 billion (Shs186 trillion), up from $6.3 billion (Shs17 trillion) a decade ago.



Interestingly, even with its oil windfall, 70 per cent of Angolans live on less than $2 (Shs5,400) a day, while recent Angolan government estimates show that 10 per cent of the country’s population are staring at a famine, due to drought and bureaucratic neglect.


Angola’s defence is allocated more funds from the budget than health care, education and agriculture combined.


In 2012, the International Monetary Fund reported that at least $32 billion (Shs86.5 trillion) from oil revenue went missing from the federal ledger between 2007 and 2010. The country is also faring badly on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, with the latest findings ranking it 157 out of 176 nations.








i hope i don't become corrupt like these other Presidents.

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Yahya Jammeh: Gambia president 'home after coup plot'


The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh has returned to the country after a reported coup attempt, sources say.


Heavy gunfire was heard near the presidential palace in Banjul on Tuesday but officials say the military takeover was thwarted.


Details remain sketchy - an official told the BBC that everything had now returned to normal.


Mr Jammeh seized power in the tiny West African nation in 1994, and is accused of not tolerating any opposition.


Journalist Omar Wally told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that businesses had reopened, after closing on Tuesday.


He said military checkpoints had been set up at the Denton Bridge which links the island capital to the mainland and cars were being searched.


Residents walk on an empty street in Banjul, Gambia - 30 December 2014

Banjul was deserted on Tuesday but businesses have now reopened

The pro-opposition Freedom newspaper reports that four people were killed, including the alleged ringleader Lamin Sanneh, a former head of the presidential guards, but this has not been confirmed.


Mr Jammeh was said to have been in either France or Dubai during Tuesday's unrest but different sources agree he has now returned.






this man is a geesi.

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