Corruption and Misgovernment: The Benin and South Africa cases
May 16, 2019
Two important facts have recently taken place in Africa: the elections in South Africa and the non-democratic “golpe” in Benin.
Some years ago South Africa was the number-one country in Africa. Lots of people thought it was very similar to a western world’s country, where development was stable, government was democratic, investments were many and towns were livable. That was ten years ago, when Mandela ruled and Kgalema Motlanthe was about to succeed him.
With Mr. Zuma the country started its path towards economic and social disaster. Debt has increased from 26 to 56%, GDP has drastically decreased, about 40% of young people are unemployed and the country is considered to be worse than Nigeria. The tragedy lasted 10 years and, as a consequence, it reduced voting power.
Some weeks ago Cyril Ramaphosa became president once again. He was a young trade unionist while Mandela ruled, then he became a business man, and then the new man of ANC – that is Mandela’s party, which now has less than 60% of votes, while Democratic Alliance has 22% and Economic Freedom Fighters has 15%. Despite Ramaphosa’s election campaign was based on the fight against corruption and misgovernment and despite he is a strong man, people’s sceptisism is high.
Let’s talk about Benin, a country of western Africa, stuck between Nigeria and Togo. In 2016 Patrice Talon – one of the young followers of the firts marxist president in a quite democratic country, Mathieu Kerekou – won the elections.
Mr. Talon changed the law, defeated his opponents by using the police against them and destroyed the parliament. At the end of April, only two parties could run for elections and both of them supported Talon, who now can take all he can for himself and his friends, creating another bananas’ republic.
Two different cases in two countries which are different in history, importance and size, but similar in misgovernment and corruption.
All 54 African countries are taking some steps back in democracy, by choosing true dictatorships – especially in the North, in Islamic countries – or tribal victories – in sub Saharian countries – which become personal managing of the state and instruments for personal enrichment. And when people aim at this goal, they must support corruption so that elites can take all the advantages.
When this happens, the country gets poorer, it doesn’t develop and takes the population down with it. Poor, alone, abandoned.
This is the true plague of Africa and, with no active and democratic politics, the continent is condemned to be the rear wheel of the world. It’s evident in South Africa, it will be so in Benin.
There is a kind of hope at the end of the tunnel, for example in Ethiopia with Abij Amhed and maybe in Sudan, after Al Bashir’s defeat. Anyway, unfortunately, these are only hopes which may die. As it happened in Benin.