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Democracy

Much more difficult

Institute for Security Studies' logo

"Forecasting of democracy and of other governance variables is much more difficult than forecasting demographic or economic change."

Jakkie Cilliers, Barry Hughes and Jonathan Moyer, authors of the Institute for Security Studies' monograph, African Futures 2050, page 68.

 

Losers will cling

Raila Odinga, Kenyan prime minister

"It is an impediment to democratisation that losers will cling to power in the hope that power-sharing arrangements will be negotiated post-elections."

Raila Odinga, prime minister of Kenya, reflecting on Ivory Coast's political crisis.

 

Climbing the ladder

Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi

"There are many who still use money and networks as a stepladder to holding political office.  In the context of rising poverty and desperation, many of those who are interested in nothing but upward class mobility use this as a way to buy votes and community members and therefore buy their way to political office."

Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions, addressing members of manufacturing unions in April 2011.

 

T Jeff TallFoursome

"The four super states that we propose would be better able to deal with natural and man-made crises than any of the current states on the continent on a stand-alone basis.  This would remove a shameful fact of life that Africans have had to contend with for generations: In times of crises, you generally don’t see Africans coming to the rescue; you see Westerners."


T Jeff Tall, author of Fixing Africa, 2009, page 17.


All but postponed

The Africa Report, number 29

"Zimbabweans have been as fascinated by the events in the Middle East as have people all over the world.  The parallels to [Hosni] Mubarak and [Zine al-Abidine] Ben Ali's regimes are striking.  Zimbabwe, too, has been in the grip of a single party for decades; in fact, for the majority of its independent life.  As in Egypt, the ruling party has not hesitated to stifle democratic space, to loot national resources, to enfeeble parliament and to use patronage as a means of securing loyalty.  And as in Tunisia, power has been expressed through the police and military.  …  In the last week in February, just after [Robert] Mugabe turned 87, thousands of people thronged a Harare field for a rally organised by Mugabe's party.  The ostensible reason was to protest against Western sanctions, but it had another purpose altogether.  The message from Zimbabwe was clear: Mubarak, Ben Ali and even [Muammar] Gaddafi may be on the out, but Mugabe, one of the world's longest-serving leaders, still has a way to go: there is no change here, nothing to see.  In Zimbabwe, the revolution has been all but postponed."

Petina Gappah writing the Last Word in The Africa Report, number 29, April 2011, page 98.

 

The Thinker volume 26TV or not TV

"There is politics which creates good television and politics which creates good democracies.  They are not always the same."

Steven Friedman in "It Depends: Prospects for Democracy in the Middle East", published in The Thinker, volume 26, 2011, page 11.

 

 

Ambitious talk

The Economist"Better elections should in the end help resolve Nigeria's existential question – whether this wildly diverse country of 150m people from 250 ethnic groups created by British colonial masters can work.  But ambitious talk of taking over regional leadership is premature.  Nigeria should first try to close the democratic gap with South Africa, the continent’s top dog, as well as improve its scam-ridden economy.  The best way for Nigeria to show leadership is to help its neighbours to stop rigging their polls.  Not all have the right staff or can afford high-tech answers.  But as countries from Côte d’Ivoire to Kenya have found, bad or contested elections can be the costliest mistake of all."

The Economist’s reflections on the Nigerian elections, 16 April 2011, page 13.

 

Laurent Gbagbo emerges from his bunkerBunker buster

"I’m not a kamikaze.  I love life.  My voice is not the voice of a martyr, no, no, no.  I’m not looking for death.  It’s not my aim to die."

Ivorian strongman Laurent Gbagbo's speaks to LCI, a French television station, after being forced from an underground bunker in his heavily guarded compound in Abidjan, 11 April 2011.

 

 

 

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