Thursday, June 2, 2011

Have A Lovely Day...


































 




Lagos 2012



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

African People And Review Mechanism

By Moses Obroku

Following the adoption of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) by the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee in March 2003, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was instituted. The APRM is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member States of the African Union (AU) as a self-monitoring mechanism.

Like all other policies informing the institution of various treaties in the plethora of regional, sub-regional and global organizations in the world, the APRM has lofty ideas that make it look promising on the paper it is couched in its secretariat.





















Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

Essentially, the APRM is meant to operate based on self-assessment questionnaire developed by its secretariat. Here, Governments that have subjected themselves to the review mechanism will assess their performances in the areas of democracy and political governance and socio-economic development, as well as checking their compliance with wide range of African and international human rights treaties.


As at the end of 2010, interestingly about 20 countries have signed the MOU agreeing to come under peer review. It would appear African leaders are leaning towards the idea of credible governance by this gesture, even though a number of them are sit-tight undemocratic despots.

But the APRM is not going to solve the problems of the African people. That is why they are beginning to look for a way out in recent times. What people hitherto had not thought possible is becoming very popular. The African people are beginning to realize that true power and political will reside in them, and results are being recorded promptly.




















(L-R) President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, his wife, Janet,
Queen Elizabeth II Of England, her husband, Prince Philip,
The Duke of Edinburgh, at a State banquet at State  House
on November 22, 2007 in Entebbe, Uganda, before the opening
of the CHOGM hosted by Uganda.


A new APRM (African People Review Mechanism) was established when the Tunisian people told erstwhile dictator Ben Ali that they had had enough and he quickly tucked his tail and fled into exile after massive protests and demonstrations. The review has started and it is spreading.

The youths of Egypt, embracing this rude awakening started demonstrating against the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak whom no one could stand up to formerly.


Before our eyes their numbers swelled and daily they thronged the streets of Cairo, converging on the Liberation Square  telling Mubarak that time was up. It is worthy of note that it took only eighteen days for this Egyptian revolution to mature. The heat became too much for Mubarak to handle.



Former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt

The African Peer Review is segmented into four namely: Base Review, Periodic Review, Requested Review, and Crises Review. However, it has been suspected that it is only the Base Review that may be practicable for now and the least time this has taken for the first four countries to go through it is eighteen months!


It is therefore apparent that the People Review Mechanism yields result with the speed of light. This movement has no patience for cheap talk and intergovernmental bureaucracies. With one strong voice the people shouted and the despots were forced to oblige.

If the African Union, NEPAD, and even the APRM were serious about good governance, what business do they have condoning the many dictators that parade themselves as leaders in Africa? As I look at the list of countries that have submitted themselves for review in APRM from 2003-2010, I thought the joke is on the leadership of the AU that set up the APRM. Surely, Algeria, Gabon, Uganda, Egypt, Sudan are a laughing stock on any kind of ‘good governance review’.




Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika
It is apparent that this People Review Mechanism will not stop with Tunisia and Egypt. It has quickly crossed to the Middle Eastern monarchical Bahrain where they are calling for widespread political reforms and I have no doubt they will get what they want.

And now it is back in Africa and Libya is under review. Muammar Gaddafi has turned Libya to a fiefdom. For forty two years now he has ruled the country with an iron fist. But like his counterparts he did not see this coming, and his best response was to station mercenaries and snipers with automatic weapons to take down protesters. Gaddafi does not understand that this type of movement has only one outcome, and that is victory! He also does not understand the Arabs. The people just don’t give up.

While, the protesters get gunned down, and Gaddafi is spitting fire and hailstone that he would rather die in power(as the villain that he is not a martyr), it is certainly only a matter of time before he gets kicked out of power or killed in the process according to his utterances.
It is profound when one thinks of the happenings in leadership in Africa. There seems to be that inherent tendency to want to remain in power for life like any monarchy.



Africa, My Africa


Perhaps, Africans are wired genetically to do so. Or else, how does one explain the shameless clinging onto office endlessly in a charade of democracy by African leaders?

 Forty two years and Gaddafi is still holding onto power. And he is not alone nor the first African to do so. Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Abdullaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, Theodore Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Blaise Campore of Burkina Faso, Hassan Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Jose De Santos of Angola, Idris Derby of Chad, Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Pakalitha Mosisli of Lesotho, Ismail Oma Guelleh of Djibouti, are all kindred spirits.

The saying that all it takes for ill intentioned people  to take over society and poison it is for good people to stand aloof and do nothing is now tested in these societies under review. Only in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other climes, the people had stood aloof for too long.

But this current review has come to stay. It is reminiscent of the renaissance movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s that swept the whole of Africa heralding the independence of many African states from colonialism.




















President George W. Bush shakes hands with Burkina Faso
President Blaise Compaore,  during a meeting Wednesday,
July 16, 2008, in the Oval Office of the White House.
(White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

As this piece is written, Libya is still under review by the same people who have groaned under the heavy hand of its leader and who has now turned the weapons he purchased with the money of tax payers on those same tax payers. The rest of North Africa and indeed the rest of Africa , the Middle East and every cranny of the world where dictators have held sway should warm up for their own review. African people are simply fed up with bad governance.

In the case of Algeria, it was the rising cost of food items that sparked off the riots in 2010 that eventually ousted the president. In Nigeria, the people would have  myriads of reasons to choose to protest about- electricity, bad roads, unemployment, rising prices of food commodities, fuel of all description, health care issues, housing , as well as the general hijacking of decent living conditions by a callous few.

As this revolution sweeps through Libya, we can only watch with bated breaths, anticipating which country will take it up until ultimately the whole of Africa will be free from economic and political oppression.


Enough is enough!
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Moses Obroku, a legal practitioner, contributed this piece to this blog from Abuja, Nigeria. (Email: mosesobroku@yahoo.com)