Sunday, May 01, 2005

of politics and Africa...

"Cultural center destroyed in ______", "Refugees flee fighting in _______", "Government soldiers and rebels clash in ______"

You fill in the blanks, because those could be headlines about many different African countries. Isn't that sad? Now it's Togo, but there've been many more before, and it doesn't seem that as Africans, we've learned enough to hope that this might be the last. I've been greatly saddened by the conflict in Togo, and mostly because it comes in the wake of conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leonoe, Ivory Coast....and that's just West Africa. Will we never learn that nothing is worth the price a civil war exacts from a country?I realize that injustice can only be tolerated up to a point, and that after a point desperate people resort to desperate measures, but when has fighting resolved any of our problems?

After Faure Gnassingbe was installed as president earlier this year, it was international pressure that had him removed from power, and not acts of violent opposition on anyone's part. In fact, I think that if the opposition had tried to remove him by brute force, they would still be fighting a (losing) battle. Why then do they think that insurgensy now will reverse the results of the elections? Sure, it might increase pressure on the government to justify the results, but at what cost? Over 12,000 people have already fled the country, and it doesn't look like that is going to let up anytime soon. Wouldn't perhaps a campaign to increase international pressure on the government to hold another election, or to recount the votes in the areas with high irregularities have been more effective?
To answer my own question, maybe not. Especially not after ECOWAS ok'd the elections, saying there weren't enough irregularities to deem it unfair.

I'll end what is already a long posting here, but basically, i think african politics leaves much to be desired, and that we have no hope for eceonomic advancement unless we're able to move away from the transition of power by the gun to transitions by the ballot box..

Tags: africa, media, elections

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