Lessons from our African forefathers

Yesterday, two historical events happened involving two people from Africa's political history. The events show how much African leadership has moved forwards - and backwards - in recent years.

The Good
Nelson Mandela celebrated his 90th birthday in London with some of his best celebrity friends and 46,664 invited guests. (I can't help but mention how Naomi Campbell can be disinvited to the concert, but drug addicted, racist Amy Winehouse can not only be invited, but also be allowed to perform on stage. But I digress.) The concert was a celebration of Mandela's dedication to a free, colorbind South Africa and what a social activist can do to mobilize the world to think differently.

Unfortunately, the next generation of South African leaders seem to be going in a different direction.

The Bad
Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe virtually won his "sham" run-off election, thanks in part to Morgan Tvansgirai's abrupt withdrawal and unfair voting procedures.

From the BBC:

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a monitoring group, reported that people had been forced to vote in most rural areas.

A Zimbabwean journalist said militias loyal to Mr Mugabe had gone door-to-door in townships outside the capital, Harare, to coerce people.

Despite the pressure, Marwick Khumalo, who heads of the Pan-African parliamentary observer mission, told the BBC that overall turnout had been low and the mood sombre.

"We saw one long queue, which we mistook for a polling station, only to find the people were queuing for bread," he said, adding that the ingredients for a free and fair election were missing.

There was a time Robert Mugabe also was a man seen to dedicate his life to the betterment of Africans. But something went terrible wrong a few years ago when he evolved into a dictator.

This is a lesson in democracy.



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