10 April 2019

Africa: Is Africa Ready for an Uprising That Will Move Her Forward?

analysis

The hashtags #AlgeriaWakesUp and #SudanUprising have been important signifiers of the fact that Africans as a people are tired of old, ineffective regimes that do not bring about change and that Africa as a continent needs young leaders.

On 19 December 2018, the first trickles of what would lead to a three month-long protest began in Sudan. The country's president, Omar Al-Bashir, who has been in power since 1989, sent in the military to act against the protesters. Three months later, the protesters would camp in front of Army headquarters and the military would not shoot at them. This is a sign of victory for the protestors. Zimbabweans will tell you not to trust the military, but then again, who does one trust?

Algeria's Abdulaziz Bouteflika, who has been in power since 1999, finally fell to the consistent protests of young Algerians who demanded a regime change. Guided by the hashtag #AlgeriaWakesUp, many protesters filled the streets of the capital city, Algiers, and those of other cities too. The interim president, Abdelkarder Bensalah, the former Speaker of the Upper House, has also been rejected by protesters, who classify him as an insider.

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir arriving back in Khartoum earlier this week after the African Union conference in Johannesburg. Image: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah, Reuters

Some TIA readers from Cameroon stated that they needed to do the same thing to unseat President Paul Biya. As the countdown for leaders on the continent who have overstayed their welcome in power ticks on, there is a growing desire for change in leadership across the continent.

While the populations of most countries in Northern Africa have taken to the streets, demanding change, Francophone countries have yet to break through with their demand for change. For example, the 2017 to 2018 protests in Togo against the 50-year-long rule of Gnassingbé Eyadéma and his son, Faure Gnassingé, did not bring about much-needed change.

In English-speaking parts of the continent, including Nigeria and Kenya, where corruption is rife, there have been pockets of demonstration but not on the scale of Togo or Sudan. Uganda, on the other hand, has been more vocal in its demand for change, largely thanks to the leadership of the enigmatic Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine.

With the younger generation of Africans demanding change and asking for a better, stronger continent, could a trans-continental uprising be the solution? Young Africans uniting, speaking in one voice, demanding progress? It certainly is an exciting notion.

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