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Dictators' weapons of choice switch from military coup to stuffed ballot box

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  • pbs@iafrica.com
    From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org [Never forget that White Colonialists warned, for decades, that the new Liberators of Africa were really Dictator s in Sheep s
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2005
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      From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org
      [Never forget that White Colonialists warned, for decades, that the new
      "Liberators" of Africa were really Dictator's in Sheep's Clothing. They
      pretended they wanted to "free" the Black people... but in reality, they
      were in it for themselves. The White Colonialists are mostly dead and
      gone... and I'm one of the few who remembers this. The Whites told the
      TRUTH... the Blacks lied... but the world chose to believe the Blacks
      while ignoring the Whites. Jan]

      Comment from The Cape Times (SA), 2 May, 2005

      Dictators' weapons of choice switch from military coup to stuffed ballot

      By Peter Fabricius

      The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States
      (Ecowas) have incurred a responsibility to resolve the crisis in the
      sliver of a West African nation, Togo. Togo is descending into chaos
      after the electoral authorities declared that acting president Faure
      Gnassingbe, son of the late president, had won the recent elections - and
      then opposition leader Emmanuel Akitani Bob cried foul and declared
      himself the real winner. His supporters took to the streets and chaos
      ensued. Ecowas, which sent observers to the poll, said that there had
      been some rigging, but not enough to change the outcome. It and the AU
      condemned Bob for unilaterally declaring himself the winner. This was
      quite evidently irresponsible of Bob, who also turned down an invitation
      from Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Faure to join a government
      of national unity. But if Bob is behaving badly (no, not that Bob), you
      can't heap all the blame on him. Who could really believe that Faure
      Gnassingbe had conducted a free and fair election? This is, after all,
      the son and heir of Eyadema, the long-time military dictator who
      metamorphosed into a civilian democrat by manipulating elections for
      years. And the champion of the shadowy military men who pull the strings.
      The democratic process simply lacks credibility in Togo - as it does
      elsewhere in Africa - and that is a reality which those with influence on
      the country will have to address. The question is how; the AU, Ecowas and
      the international community as a whole are all over-stretched in West
      Africa. They are battling to keep the lid on the cauldron in Ivory Coast,
      just two countries to the west. Liberia and Sierra Leone are just
      emerging shakily from years of chaos.

      But the AU and Ecowas have incurred a responsibility in Togo which goes
      beyond their normal duties. When Faure tried to bypass the constitution
      after his father died earlier this year, and simply take over the country
      without elections, the AU and Ecowas stepped in and insisted he remain on
      the constitutional path. They exerted considerable diplomatic and other
      pressure and eventually Faure complied, agreeing to hold elections. For
      this the AU and Ecowas received critical acclaim and many flattering
      comparisons with the failure of the Southern African Development
      Community (SADC) to exert comparable pressure on Zimbabwe. Now Ecowas
      finds itself in a rather similar situation to SADC, both having given
      their approval to regional elections which the opposition and outside
      observers in each case condemned as fatally flawed. So perhaps Ecowas was
      no better after all than SADC? Perhaps. Perhaps in both cases we have
      reached the end of the African tether when it comes to enforcing
      democracy on the continent. The charter of the African Union holds its
      members to respect for democracy and human rights as a whole. It may,
      therefore, act to enforce any breach of them. But in practice the AU and
      its sub-regional bodies seem to define their interference rights the same
      way as the old Organisation for African Unity did. And that is that they
      may interfere only in the case of an unconstitutional change of power.
      That is what Faure attempted the first time. But not the second time.
      This time he merely crooked the books, or so it seems. In other words, he
      got smart and learned to play the game by the rules - not the universal
      rules but the AU rules. So it seems. Both Zimbabwe and Togo seem to
      illustrate that in the evolution of democracy in Africa, the tyrant's
      weapons of choice have evolved from the military coup to the stuffed
      ballot box. If the AU and Ecowas wish to change that perception, they
      need to be absolutely sure that the election was fair. And, having
      insisted on the electoral route in the first place, they have incurred a
      responsibility to ensure that it does not lead to chaos.

      Source: WWW.ZwNews.Com
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