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Africa: Gambia’s longtime autocratic leader finally leaves the country and go into exile January 22, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh finally left the country on Saturday evening local time after several days of negotiations with West African leaders and Gambia’s incoming government over the terms of his exit from office.

Locals were relieved that his departure managed to take place without a violent resolution as tension had built up while the protracted negotiations carried on. The erratic former leader left from capital city Banjul on a plane headed to Conakry, Guinea, and is expected to leave there to spend his time in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

Many Gambians believe that had Jammeh stayed in the country, he would never have actually relinquished power to the incoming government of president Adama Barrow. Jammeh’s departure brought an end to 22 years of eccentric and repressive rule over a small country which has not made much economic progress under his leadership. Instead, a disproportionately high number of young Gambians have left home to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean in an attempt to reach Europe.

Jammeh, 51, had agreed 24 hours earlier to step down nearly two months after losing a general election to Adama Barrow. Jammeh initially agreed to hand over peacefully soon after the elections only to change his mind. His final agreement to step down and leave the country only came after soldiers from neighbor Senegal crossed the border under the auspices of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS).

The focus for Gambians has now turned to calling Jammeh to account for some of his alleged human rights abuses. A joint declaration issued on Saturday by ECOWAS, the African Union, and the United Nations sparked controversy among Gambians because it seemed to prevent Gambia’s new government leadership from seizing assets and property from Jammeh that he acquired while president, and to allow Jammeh return to the country whenever it suits him:

ECOWAS, the AU and the UN will work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that former President Jammeh is at liberty to return to The Gambia at any time of his choosing in accordance with international human rights law and his rights as a citizen of the Gambia and a former head of state.

Though the joint declaration is not likely to be legally binding, responding to it will still be a tough early test for president Barrow, who was sworn in on Jan. 19 at the Gambian embassy in Dakar, Senegal, after Jammeh refused to step down.

While many ordinary Gambians welcome the country’s first peaceful transition of power since independence in 1965, they also hope Barrow will investigate some of the claims against Jammeh, particularly human rights abuses. In an interview on Saturday with the BBC, Barrow said he was looking into creating a truth and reconciliation commission similar to one established in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid in 1994.



Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh finally left the country on Saturday evening local time after several days of negotiations with West African leaders and Gambia’s incoming government over the terms of his exit from office. Locals were relieved that his departure managed to take place without a violent resolution as tension had built up while…

via Gambia’s longtime autocratic leader finally leaves the country and go into exile — Quartz

The Civic Broom movement: How Burkina Faso rediscovered a revolutionary hero—and overthrew a dictator. #Africa December 5, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Burkina Faso, Corruption, Free development vs authoritarian model, Revolution 2.0.
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Call it a coup or a revolution—Burkina Faso has finally overthrown its longtime strongman Blaise Compaoré. During his 27-year-long rule, Compaoré’s regime was accused of corruption and nepotism and of violently quelling a student and military rebellion in 2011.

Revolutions now happen in real time and Compaoré’s overthrow was no different. This October, protestors, journalists and politicians used the hashtags #Lwili and #Burkina to live-tweet their way through a chain of events that started with massive street protests and ended with a cellphone video of Compaoré fleeing the country with his convoy of SUVs.

The digital connection between Burkinabé youth activists—who dubbed the protests “Revolution 2.0,”—their diaspora, and supporters in the West led to a flurry of online interest in Burkina Faso.

Images showing streets and squares flooded by demonstrators, many of whom were women brandishing wooden spatulas, a local symbol of gender defiancewere shared thousands of times on Twitter and Instagram.


Alongside international focus in Burkina Faso has been a resurgence of interest in the man many protesters credit as their inspiration—Thomas Sankara.

Overthrown and murdered in Compaoré’s 1987 coup, Sankara has long been revered by African nationalists and leftists for his charismatic blend of revolutionary zeal and progressive philosophy. President of the country for four years between 1983 and 1987, Sankara has only a few interviews and speeches attributed to him—yet his legacy is far larger. Today, his message is finding a new, broader of pool of admirers in the social media generation both in Burkina Faso and abroad.




As president, he changed the name of the country from the colonial Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means “land of upright people” in an amalgam of the country’s most popular languages. A guitarist, he wrote the national anthem, a stirring ode against neo-imperialism.

Coat of arms of Burkina Faso 1984-1991

Coat of arms of Burkina Faso 1984-1991(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

And the phrase on the lips of protesters this summer—“La patrie ou la mort, nous vaincrons,” (homeland or death, we shall overcome)—was on the national crest during his tenure.

One of the popular movements behind Compaoré’s recent ouster—Le Balai Citoyen or The Civic Broom movement—was led by two self-professed Sankarist musicians, who spread their message of “sweeping clean” Burkina politics through social media, a number of popular songs, and large political gatherings. In May they held a rally with the political opposition that filled a 35,000 capacity stadium.


Sankara was famous for his stance against repayment of African debts and his advocacy of economic self-reliance. Under him, Burkina Faso accomplished massive child immunizations, started a national campaign to fight desertification by planting 10 million trees, banned female circumcision and forced marriage, and had a government with women in high positions.

Feminist activist Minna Salami, one of Applause Africa’s “40 African Changemakers under 40,″ has been writing about Thomas Sankara on her influential Ms. Afropolitan blog since 2010. For her, discovering the works of Sankara was a revelation.

“Like other young women of African heritage—and men as well— I thought, why did I not know about this person?” she told Quartz. “Why are we so many millions of miles away from the vision he had for the African continent?”

It’s unclear what will happen next in Burkina Faso. After seizing power when Compaoré fled, the military agreed to form an interim government that will run the country until elections in Nov. 2015. The new prime minister, former military leader, Isaac Zida has vowed to repatriate Compaoré, stamp out corruption and launch an inquiry into Sankara’s 1984 death.

Since the Compaoré’s ouster, neighboring Togo (#tginfo) and nearby Chad have seen large demonstrations with protestors invoking Burkina Faso as a roadmap to unseating their own long-term autocratic leaders just like the Burkinabé activists credited the movement that ousted Senegal’s Wade before them.

You can follow Aaron on Twitter at @aaronleaf. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.  

Read more @ http://qz.com/305056/how-burkina-faso-rediscovered-a-revolutionary-hero-and-overthrew-a-dictator/

Freedom is not Negotiable June 11, 2011

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Freedom is not Negotiable.