Wednesday, March 23, 2011

African Leaders and Gaddafi

It is not surprising that there are African leaders including Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Mugabe of Zimbabwe, raising their voices in protest over the bombings in Libya by the western allied forces.  Although African Union (AU) members rejected Gaddafi's proposal for a united Africa under one government, army and currency, AU has enjoyed enormous contributions from Gaddafi.  He actually served as the AU president until last year.

Jacob Zuma
It can be argued that some of the African leaders raising their voices, like Museveni and Mugabe, are doing so because of the familiar similarities they share with Gaddafi. Museveni recently won another five year term adding to his 25-year profile as President of Uganda. Mugabe is on his sixth term as President clocking 31 years in office. African leaders have a way of "pushing their agenda" during presidential elections - which more often than not includes violence towards any opposition.
Robert Mugabe
Both men, like other despotic rulers have maintained power by crushing the opposition and altering any constitutional laws that would prohibit their stay in power.  Museveni, like former President Hosni Mubarak, has been grooming his son to take over the Presidency - like it was an inherited position of leadership.  It would not be surprising to find that Gaddafi has personal relationships with these leaders particularly in the area of training mercenaries.  African leaders desperate to hold on to power use mercenaries to do their bidding.  Gaddafi is currently using African mercenaries from Chad and Mali to kill and suppress any form of opposition.

Yoweri Museveni
As is the case with most sub-Saharan nations, economics are intertwined with politics and military force on your people is an extension of economics and politics.  However, Ugandan economy under Museveni has seen an economic growth rate that is higher than its neighbors (7%-8%) in the last several years. Museveni was the darling of the West and he persuaded IMF/World Bank and major donor debts to cancel all Ugandan debts.  Now this former darling has become a nuisance to the West.  As for Zimbabwe... what can I say that has not been said? The world has given up on Zimbabwe and decided to ignore Mugabe.

Additional Resources:
BBC News

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