“It is a nightmare for some and the eyes wide open dream for others for the spearhead of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts to cross the desert and overwhelm, like a tsunami, the Sub-Saharan strongholds of the autocratic regimes. Might such a political scenario ever be credible?” Thus asks the ‘Jeune Afrique’ portal, summarizing the debate that has occupied African media for the past few weeks.
Everyone agrees that ‘the ingredients’ at the origin of the protests in Tunis, Cairo and Libya exist in many Sub-Saharan countries: corruption, nepotism, poor governance, unemployment, deep social inequalities, muted opposition and high percentages of youth in the population. Some note that entire new generations of Africans have only known one president, such as Cameroonian Paul Biya, who has been in power 29 years, or Angolan Eduardo dos Santos, in power since 1979, the recently re-elected Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni after 25 years of rule in Kampala. The list of regimes is ling, according to the Nigerian daily ‘This Day’, which contribute to the ‘African malaise’
Wondering about the therapy to be prescribed to the continent, some editorialists are wondering whether the cure might emerge from revolts modeled on those of the ‘Arab spring’ and especially if Africans are ready to take to the streets.
Some factors suggest that the time of the ‘made in Africa’ revolutions is not yet upon us including the high illiteracy rates among youth, the very scarce access to internet (less than 1%), an embryo level middle class and the presence of an infinite number of ethnic groups. Yet there have been some protests attempts or similar appeals in such countries as in Zimbabwe, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Djibouti.
According to ‘The Chronicle’, from Ghana, there is the obstacle posed by “the burden on the collective conscience of the Black continent from colonial domination” and “the visionless policies expressed by a series of despotic regimes which the West has imposed upon Africans”.
The Togoloese ‘Liberté’ is more optimistic in its conviction that “Africa’s time has truly arrived and that it is now up to Africans to decide which road to take.” Similarly, the Burkinabe “L’Observateur Paalga” warns: “Apprentice dictators, be warned, a new wolrd could rise and see the light!”. The Malian ‘Le Républicain’ speaks of a “viral revolution”, everywhere in the continent: “nothing will be the same as before: the army that has not opened their fire on the people shall study jurisprudence. A new good governance parameter is being enforced”.
Finally, says ‘L’Observateur Paalga’ “now the historic silence of leaders has been deafening”.