It has been an awesome year for the political arena in Africa in 2017. We witnessed a lot of transformations in different parts of the continent. There were moments we were scared a country was going to explode in violence, yet peace reigned at the end of the day. We were held bounds by coups that didn’t look as if there were serious, yet, they changed political landmarks.
2017 came with shocks and surprising. Some life presidents were brought to their knees within hours without the killings. It was as if Africa has become a master in political manipulations. What did we learn from these events that made headlines in 2017?
The military cannot be Ignored
The Zimbabwean Defence Forces ended the notorious reign of President Robert Mugabe in November. What we thought was going to led to military takeover ended up paving way for a transition in government. The ousting of Mugabe was a major lesson to other African leaders who believe leadership is their birthright.
You Can Get Away With Killing People If You Are Polite
Yeah! This happened in Zimbabwe. The military intervention has been dubbed as the ‘politest coup.’ Mugabe wasn’t sent on an exile or killed; instead he was allowed to stay in his house. The bloodless coup was highly applauded around the world.
Judges Are Powerful Tools of Democracy
Kenya had its own drama after the Kenyan Supreme Court became the first judicial body in Africa to nullify the election of a sitting president– Uhuru Kenyatta . However, this doesn’t mean that the judges could do it alone. They need a collective effort of everyone to become very powerful.
Political exclusion breeds secessionism
It has been a year of upsurge of secessionist affection in Nigeria, Kenya and Cameroon. There were protests that were met with hostility. Things were not beautiful for many people who lost their lives during these protests. This didn’t stop the governments from taking measures that kept their countries in one piece.
Western companies Conspiracies
Don’t ever think that some western companies are free from causing trouble in Africa’s democracy. Some of these companies were supportive of some politicians operate divisive public relations campaigns to boost their electoral prospects. There was the story of Bell Pottinger, a British “reputational management agency” accused of starting a racial tensions in South Africa as a way of deflecting attention away from the poor performance of the African National Congress government.
We learnt that Africa has gone a long way in its democracy. There may be challenges here and there in some countries but this doesn’t mean that we are not growing in our democracy. There are situations we won and lost. However, one of the best news in 2017 was that some long serving presidents discovered that they are no longer invisible.
We believe that 2018 got more dramas for us. We cannot wait to see who is stepping up his game and who is stepping down as a leader. What do you think?