In Africa, politics trumps development


Elections fever grips Nigeria

By Akpo Ometan

In Africa, politics trumps development.

This seems to be the conclusion of observers even as political gladiators in several leading nations within the continent are currently enmeshed in almost internecine political squabbling.

In Nigeria, the tempo of political competition is presently fever-pitch such that a very late attempt by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to present the 2019 budget this week witnessed high-wire political tension.

Apparently in response to a fractitious assault on the National Assembly by the executive in the preceding years and months, and which has since led to the exit from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC fold of the principal leaders of the national legislature, the session was laced with intermittent heckling and booing of the president even as he presented his address.

In Kenya, with as much as three more years before the next elections take place, every move of the Uhuru administration is presently being interpreted within the confines of succession politics. Will he give it to his former deputy, William Ruto or would he back his new-found friend, Raila Odinga.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, some two years after outgoing President Joseph Kabila was forced to call long-delayed polls, it has been a daily coasting from one trouble to the other. Rallies have had to be cancelled, violence has broken out from time to time in the course of campaigning, most notably in strongholds of the opposition candidates like the capital, Kinshasa, and electoral materials have been razed. Even with the polls now postponed by a further one week, on Friday, six persons who had been involved in the distribution of electoral materials died when the plane they had been traveling in crashed.

Indeed, virtually all across the continent, politics has indeed come to register as almost truly ‘war by other means!’

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria

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