Colonel Gaddafi’s regime in Libya increasingly looks like the third in North Africa to fall through the peoples revolution that is sweeping through the region. The despot has been using foreign mercenaries in a horrific and unprecedented attack on his own people as he bids to cling on to power. In this edition, we ask whether the international community will use ‘smart intervention’ to bring Gaddafi before the International Criminal Court to face his comeuppance.
As these peoples’ movements sweep across Arab Africa, questions are being raised if they can spread further south (c/f NAA Issue 10). It’s certainly an idea being voiced by one journalist in Zimbabwe, Trevor Ngcube. He urged Zimbabweans to follow the example of the Egyptians and Tunisians in organising mass movements to voice their disapproval at the ruling Zanu PF party and ‘be their own liberators’.
In this edition also, we take a look at the similarities to be found between Zimbabwe and Egypt in order to assess the practicalities in emulating the Egyptian revolution. Both countries have been in the rule of the same leader for 30 years. Both have seen a lack of political opposition throughout that time. And both have high unemployment and basic food prices although true figures are hard to come by in Zimbabwe. Yet there are also key differences standing in the way of a similar movement occurring in Zimbabwe, such as a lack of national unity that has epitomised Egypt’s revolution.
In Uganda President Museveni will be aiming to join those leaders, in making it 30 years in power. He recently won re-election for another five year term, which will take him to the 30 year mark. It was a resounding victory, as he gained 68% of the vote, with the leading opposition candidate, Kizza Besigye receiving just 26%. The victory was overshadowed though by the vast use of tax payers’ money as part of the Museveni’s election campaign. Demgroup, an alliance of pro-democracy local NGO’s called the amount of money being used in the election, unprecedented. The army was deployed around the capital Kampala following Besigye’s call for mass demonstrations to match Egypt and Tunisia.
Meanwhile Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan unveiled the ’11 South African budget. As expected it continued the nation’s focus on trying to target unemployment particularly amongst the young. There were no great surprises in a budget which appeared to lack any substance. It failed to elaborate significantly on what had already been laid out by President Zuma in the address to the nation, as many had hoped for.
The country is in a more positive fiscal position than the previous two which has led to some cautious optimism. Training and education for young people to give them the skills needed in order to gain viable employment also formed a major part of Gordhan’s budget. Yet this still did not negate the fact that details of how the New Growth Path would create five million new jobs weren’t revealed.