Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mali Coup & Elections in Senegal

Being a keen follower of African affairs is likely to give you cardiac arrest. The highs and lows are just too much! Just a week ago I was in the depths of despair after a military coup had toppled Mali's democratically-elected leader, Ahmadou Toumani Toure. I was beside myself with agony, and couldn't believe that such a calamity had befallen one of Africa's democratic success-stories.

From the depths of such lowly despair I was catapulted to giddy exhilaration, only a few days later, when Senegal's octogenarian President, Abdoulaye Wade, gracefully conceded defeat and bowed out of office. Having lost the election he even called the incoming President, Macky Sall, to concede defeat and to wish him well.

To think that I had gone to sleep on the eve of the election having "conceded" the Presidency to the incumbent, President  Wade! I thought that nothing would stop him from "cooking the books" and charging into a third term. But, alas, I had misread the situation on the ground. A unified opposition, a vibrant press and a (somewhat) neutral electoral-commission had ensured the impossibility of President Wade even attempting to "cook the books" and winning at the polls.

Such are the highs-and-lows of observing African-politics; the despair and exhilaration all rolled into one -- enough to give you a massive heart-attack!


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