African dictators try to snuff out flames of discontent

By By MICHELLE FAUL and ANGUS SHAW | Associated Press

Ethiopia’s 20-year government announced a cap on basic food prices within days of President Zine al Abidine Ben Ali’s flight from Tunisia. Opponents said Saturday the government has rounded up some 200 opposition members in the past week “in a preemptive action to prevent the popular uprising that is sweeping through northern Africa.”

Angola’s ruler of more than 30 years, President Eduardo dos Santos, has used mass troop deployments and arrests to quash a planned pro-democracy protest. Opposition politicians and human rights lawyers in Angola, a virtual one-party state, have been receiving anonymous death threats and the cars of two lawyers were set ablaze.

In Djibouti, riot police moved against an estimated 6,000 people at an opposition political rally on Feb. 18, and opposition politicians said five people were killed and dozens wounded. A second rally planned for March 4 didn’t happen after security forces filled the streets. Opposition leaders have been jailed.

“There is no way anybody can win against him,” opposition leader Abdourahman Boreh said from exile in London, referring to President Ismail Omar Guelleh. “He uses all the power, all the police, all the government instruments and resources, and he uses brutality.”

Uganda’s Conservative Party leader John Ken Lukyamuzi said “it is very possible” the protests will spread to sub-Saharan Africa. In his own country, police fired tear gas against people protesting alleged rigging in last month’s presidential vote that saw incumbent Yoweri Museveni, 66, who has been in power since 1986, win again. He threatened his opponents.

“I will deal with them decisively and they will never rise again,” Museveni said, promising at one point to “bang them into jails and that would be the end of the story.”

In Zimbabwe, Jeenah said, people are held back from taking to the streets by fears of the beatings and torture meted out to dissenters, while Mugabe is sustained by the lack of criticism and even support demonstrated by other African leaders.

Ivory Coast threatens to slide back toward civil war since Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept that he lost November elections. As Gbagbo’s intransigence turns the commercial capital, Abidjan, into a war zone, African leaders have been hesitant to intervene militarily. Some who side with Gbagbo are themselves anti-democratic.

If Gbagbo prevails, he would be the third African leader to refuse to accept election results, following the lead of Mugabe and Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki.

It’s a dangerous precedent. More than a dozen presidential elections are scheduled across Africa this year. If winners of free and fair elections are prevented from taking office, the people’s discontent can only build.

(Faul reported from Johannesburg. Associated Press writers Jason Straziuso in Nairobi, Kenya; Godfrey Olukya in Kampala, Uganda; Divine Ntaryike in Douala, Cameroon; and Phathizwe-Chief Zulu in Mbabane, Swaziland contributed to this report.)

7 thoughts on “African dictators try to snuff out flames of discontent

  1. Menge on

    Too late Melese, this is not going to save you. You better leave in peace and without blood shed so we can delete all your past sins and forgive you. Otherwise, your sin will be remembered until your next seven generation.

  2. Yegermal on

    People advice tyrant dictators to leave power willingly. Hmm…

    Tyrant dictators will never leave power of their own free will because they think that the whole country and its human, financial, material and natural resource exclusively belongs to them and and their family and as such MUST BE defended to END even more than their lives itself. That is why most of then die fighting or forced from power in the last minute.

    The Ethiopian tyrannical dictator have been buying his time through dividing and destroying just like any dictator. Even Gaddafi did know who to accuses and blame for his own personal wrong doings. He tried to blame the Libyan people as Alqaeda, as Islamic terrorists, as kids smoking drugs, as former imperialists coming back, as gone mad militia terrorists, etc.

    But both the national and the international communities regarded his dumb claims as clowning and baseless. The Tunisian, the Egyptian and all the other ongoing genuine struggle of the 21st century enlighten people minds and attitudinizes OPENING all of our eyes and senses as well as placed blatant liars and spineless tyrants run for their sweet lives or face the peoples’ wrath.

    The Ethiopian dictator was living on lies and divisive cheap scare propaganda just like Gaddafi and the pother dictators hanging between life and death. His absence will usher in blood bath. Peoples’ struggle and rejection of his brutalities meas an inset of genocide, etc. And then he is always going to fight with some external enemy.

    At the same time he is retailing as well as wholesaling lots of Ethiopian fertile land resources,mineral resources, agricultural out puts as well young school girls to foreign companies in which he owns secret share holding /partnership interests. Even white colonialists did not go that far to exploit the people they were colonizing.

  3. Diladergachew from DC on

    Pulic Enemy Number One Meles Zenawi lied when he recently said he belives that “change of leadership in Ethiopia is impossible anytime soon as he and his party have a five-year “contract” with the Ethiopian people”.

    Then why is Public Enemy Number One Meles Zenawi in such a hurry to construct a lavish residence for himself and equip it with very highly technological defence mechanisms including an underground get-away path by costing tax payers 80 million Birrs to construct this never before seen type of palace/militrary camp in Addis Ababa?
    The answer is easy as usual he is doing everything in his power to protect himself from harms way and prolong his time as a dictator at whatever cost , deep inside Public Enemy Number One Meles Zenawi knows that his time is geting close to runing out and he is fighting hard to prolong the inevitable.


  4. goitom on

    This Regime in Ethiopia is trying every propaganda to stay in power but there is one thing Meles does not understand TPLF 101 is out dated there is no politics he can tell Ethiopians any more actually thanks to Meles both Ethiopians and Eritreans realize they are brotherly people can live together with out hate but recently Meles was giving an interview accusing
    Eritrea/Shaebia is the only ethiopian enemy off course his politics worked
    in 1998-2000 Ethio Eritrea war all ethiopians went along with Woyane to
    defend a nation with no question but it did not teach Woyane a lesson in fact
    they start undermine Ethiopians to this day but i don’t think any Ethiopian
    with a right mind will think Eritreans are his Enemy . I do also think both
    People of Ethiopia and Eritrea need democracy and transfer power to the people
    let both people find a lasting peace once for all….

  5. Nebiyyu on

    4# Diladergachew from DC,

    You said it all. THANKS!


    By the way this last ditch expensive desperate palace building project while Ethiopians are starving, fleeing the country as refugees as well as selling themselves to slavery in Arab countries is the shame of shames that defies any rationality.

    The palace idea is the direct copy and paste Libyan dictator,s (Gaddafi) imitation who claims that the entire Libyans love him and will always die for him, while at them same building multiple palaces with deep underground(bomb protected) luxury complexes equipped with the latest communication and computer technologies from where he was planning to conduct his brutal command and control activities during major crises away from fear of bombardments and missile attacks.

    Some of these special palaces have already been over run, ransacked by the opposition and publicly displayed on television. It in in fact is the last retreat from the threats of the people, the democrats and the international human rights pressures.

    No amount of technology and top class security arrangements can save human rights violating criminal dictators who are bent on robbing the people for ever. The bests security is the security based on equality and justice for all whereby every ones life is made secure and live in welfare and well-being democratic society. Underground secret bunkers may not save professional organized criminal elites.

  6. Wubshet on

    #5. Wayane,

    This is NOT about the dictators from Burma, North Korea, asmara, Sudan or Yemen. Let those ones be taken care off by their own people and the concerned international communities.

    Our exclusive business is about our own Ethiopian business. That business is about the tplf minority dictatorship dividing, brutalizing, dehumanizing and exploiting 80 million people.

    So please DON’T keep diverting attentions too much because every one knows your intention. :)

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