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2017: Year of Africa’s crashing dictatorships


Analysts say some of the ‘battles’ will likely continue into 2018

By John Eche


After the Arab Spring that commenced in 2010 and which resulted in the crashing of dictatorships in, among others, the North African nations of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the departing year 2017 is looking like one more year of remarkable political adjustments.

Eary in the year, the people of the Gambia went to the polls. The outcome was the unexpected trouncing of the dictator, Yahya Jammeh by the estate agent, Adama Barrow! After initially accepting defeat, Jammeh made a u-turn and would not go. However, when concerted pressure was brought to bear upon him, he finally conceded and left.

Then came the turn of Angola’s dos Santos who arranged a succession programme that brought in his former Defence Minister, Joao Lourenco into office.

Now it is the turn of Zimbabwe’s 37-year old leader, Robert Mugabe.

As we write, some more battles are being fought. Raila Odinga is locked in combat with Uhuru Kenyatta in Kenya and the Togolese opposition has been marching for three months now that President Faure Gnassingbe who succeeded his father Gnassingbe Eyadema in 2005 must go!

But there are some others that are yet holding out. Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon survived a very fierce 2016 electoral stand-off with former African Union Chairperson, Monsieur Jean Ping just by the whiskers. Ditto Yoweri Museveni of Uganda who had yet another bruising fight with his long-time antagonist, Kizza Besigye. And in Zambia, President Edgar Lungu was almost taken out by Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition.

As for Obiang Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, he remains the grand daddy of African dictators having ruled the oil=producing nation since 1979!

Analysts say some of these ‘battles’ will very likely continue into 2018 and the years that follow.


President Obiang Teodoro Nguema of Equatorial Guinea.


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