Monday, February 20, 2006

Africa's "renaissance" men

...By most independent accounts, last May's parliamentary elections were free and fair. But when results revealed that the opposition won overwhelmingly in Addis Ababa, the capital, Meles responded by sweeping up thousands of rioting protesters and arresting political enemies. More than 80 people were reportedly killed in clashes with police last year.

Now Meles says he is likely to step down in 2010, after what would be almost two decades in power...

...Uganda was once at the forefront of the so-called African renaissance. Both Clinton and President Bush visited Museveni and praised his leadership in combating AIDS, helping to burnish the Ugandan's reputation at home.

But when huge crowds welcomed opposition leader Kizza Besigye, a former Museveni ally, home from exile last fall, the president promptly had him arrested on charges of treason and rape. He also threatened to prosecute Besigye's wife...

...Kenya's 2002 election marked a rare peaceful turnover of power to an African opposition party. In 2003, Kibaki was honored with a state dinner when he visited Washington.

But U.S. officials are debating whether to again cut development aid, as they did a year ago after Kenya's anti-corruption czar, John Githongo, resigned in frustration.

After fleeing to London amid death threats, Githongo said this month that he had told Kibaki about bogus government contracts. But Githongo said the Kenyan president did nothing, leaving him "dangling in the wind"...

Africa's 'New Generation' Likened to Old (Los Angeles Times) February 20, 2006