By Isaac Esipisu
There are many reasons for being angry with Africa ’s strong men, whose autocratic ways have thrust some African countries back into the eye of the storm and threatened to undo the democratic gains in other parts of the continent of the past decades.
For those who made ultimate political capital from opposing strongman rule in their respective countries, it is a chilling commentary of African politics that several leaders now seek to cement their places and refusing to retire and watch the upcoming elections from the sidelines, or refusing to hand over power after losing presidential elections.
In 2012 one of the longest strong men of Africa, President Abdoulaye Wade’s country Senegal is holding its presidential elections together with other countries like Sierra Leon, Mali, Mauritania, Malagasy, and will be shortly followed by Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Yoweri Museveni and Paul Biya of Cameroon , who are among the longest-ruling leaders of the Africa , won their respective presidential elections and continue to have a stronghold on their respective countries, albeit with charges raised of serious election malpractice. Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo Republic and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe will in one or two years face the electorate in an effort to further cement their authoritarian leadership.
What happened in the second half of 2011 in North Africa and more specifically in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya does not seem to have had any kind of effect on other Sub-Saharan African Leaders. In fact, they have strengthened their stronghold on power and in some countries even harassed and jailed opposition leaders.
In 2011, Africa for the first time witnessed the removal from power of three sitting presidents without an election. This was historical. Several leaders are preparing for elections and whether they win or lose will entirely depend on them and on which direction their country’s leadership will take.
Many long-serving presidents still cling on power even after the uprising in North Africa . Will the year 2012 see more of them leave office? Will it be through elections or an uprising like the one witnessed in North Africa ?