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Publié le, 30 mars 2009 par

By Momar Mbaye,

The Ghanaian writer Ayi Kwei Armah seems to be right when asserting “the beautiful ones are not yet born”. In this novel published in the sixties, he laid emphasis on the way African leaders managed to banish the word “hope” from their vocabulary. He tried to demonstrate as well, how Africans are immature and refuse to change and take their destiny within their hands. I am unable to find the adequate words to express my disappointment this week when I bumped into a press article entitled “Africa: the 29 presidents or leaders assassinated within 40 years”. It seems to me that this kind of news occurs nowhere but in Africa, this land we dear so much. There isn’t the slightest doubt that Africa is the continent where democracy suffers most. After about fifty years of independence, African countries still lag behind, unable to look forward, as far as the implementation of democratic principles is concerned.

Some months ago, the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe denied poll results and maintained himself in power. The overwhelming world protest won’t make him change his mind. His challenger Morgan Tsvangirai is now compelled to share power with him, as it recently occurred in Kenya where hundreds of people were killed in violent riots after poll results were published. It’s pitiful to come up to such a state of irresponsibility from African leaders whose lust for power confirms Wole Soyinka’s thesis on the “wasted generation.” Like Mauritania, neighboring Guinea (Bissau and Conakry) plainly emphasized their refusal to a pacific transfer of power. They demonstrated how much they are eager to replace their presidents by using either violence or arms, at the expense of polls. The assassination of President Vieira last Monday by army troops reveals a pathology that affects the neighboring West African countries. Any gleam of hope?

While Europeans are trying to get united through the EU, while the new emerging Asian countries compete with Americans, Africa still undergoes tribal wars, political coups and violent power transfer. Diseases such as AIDS, cholera and malaria still shorten the life of young Africans whose future is very hypothetical. Additionally, one of the few stable West African countries is on the verge of joining the list of banana republics where people don’t care much about human rights. Violent assaults on journalists and citizens made of Senegal an insecure country where violence or riots may burst at any time. Consequently, it is reported that the US State Department recently issued travel warnings to American investors to avoid Senegal for security reasons. More downhearting, Senegalese people who casted a vote for President Wade no longer recognize the country they are living in. Senegal used to be one of the few states stated as a model as far as democracy, freedom and human rights are concerned. Today, the threat of many Senegalese is their Republic being turned into a monarchy where sons of president can succeed to their father. President Wade’s autocracy and his decision to associate his son to state ruling may endanger democratic achievements as well as the stability of the country. Karim Wade who got back to Senegal and became Senegalese only after his father came to power in 2000, is now in competing to become the Mayor of Dakar in March local elections. Such insanities may occur nowhere except in Africa where everything is possible. This situation shows to what extent Senegalese are looked down upon and how their democracy stepped backwards after the peaceful democratic power transfer in 2000. Talking about succession is indecent in a Republic worthy of it. However, whatever critical or polemic President Sarkozy’s speech in Dakar (in July 2007) may have been, it is partly worthy of credits, for having reflected to Africans their negative image they are not eager to face. A self introspection is more than ever necessary for the benefit of all. Face to the dangerous vacuum of leadership and the progressive decline of ideas, Africa seems to be a land where no progress is possible, a continent where things fall apart, to quote Chinua Achebe. Are we damned, are we cursed?