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Reading the political stirrings in Africa today


Time to reassess developments on the mother continent

By Richard Mammah


If you lift up your head one notch higher, you may be able to notice that there are political stirrings taking place all over Africa at the moment.

What remains is to see how they will ultimately pan out.

In South Africa, about everything is being concluded as we write to ensure that embattled President Jacob Zuma does not finish the month of February still clutching the insignia of President of the Republic. While his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa will be the first beneficiary of that ouster should it be most successfully managed, the deeper victory would go to the people of South Africa who would then have been able to peacefully resolve one of their gravest challenges till date since the commencement of the New Republic and the historic era of the Nelson Mandela presidency.

In the West African nation of Togo, after a half-year of street protests, talks begin in days to work out modalities for ensuring the end of the 5-decade old Gnassingbe dynasty. But giving the body language of Faure Gnassingbe, that process has to be stridently managed to ensure that the reactionary forces assembled in that nation’s ‘military-political complex’ do not needlessly drag out what should be a quick and definitive turning point in the political fortunes of the Francophone nation as they have very sadly continued to do this far.

Also in West Africa, intra-national rumblings have continued to be stirred ahead of critical polls in Nigeria in 2019. With all eyes on the ball at the moment, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC has presently eaten humble pie on serious issues of national dissent as the restructuring of the federation and the introduction of state police. However, some political watchers caution that this may be mere ‘political posturing’ and that upon re-election, the party may as well return to the old hegemonistic framework that had been most evident in the aftermath of the herdsmen killings in Benue and Taraba states. But for now, the ruling party continues to throw in carrots and baits, including reaching out to the South East and South West of the nation; even as many wonder if the opposition will be fully able to put its house in order ahead of the forthcoming polls in a nation where public opinion has really not been the only decider of victory at the polls.

In Central Africa, boxed-in President Joseph Kabila continues to feel the heat as pressure continues to mount on him both internally and externally to ensure that he does not rewrite the constitution and continue to rule endlessly in the conflict-riven nation. And in Cameroon, the Paul Biya Government’s crackdown on its Anglophone components continues to be a thorn in the flesh of the administration that is seeking another renewal of its mandate in the next few weeks. Should Biya win again, he will be in position to then rule the nation into a personal and unprecedented fifth decade in power!

Even in situations like Zimbabwe which recently ended the era of four decades of direct rule by the 93- year old Robert Mugabe, there are still stirrings, no thanks to the compromised manner in which that transition was managed. The very opportunistic failure of the Emmerson Mnangagwa-led military-political alliance that took over the reins of power to put in place a more broad-based ‘Government of National Unity’ has left the door open for the ambitious Grace Mugabe-led Generation 40 group to continue to be relevant.

All over the continent today, ‘the struggle continues’ and the masses wait in the hope of a far more progressive outcome than has been their lot many years after the era of direct colonialism ended in the mother continent.


President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe


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