How will we react if the ‘African Spring’ begins?

MANY African countries, including Uganda, have refused to recognise the National Transitional Council in Libya as legitimate representatives of the Libyan people.

By extension, these countries must therefore consider the overthrow of Muammar Gadaffi as illegal under international law.

Or possibly they have no strong views at all on the “Arab Spring”, other than harbouring a deep fear that it might give some of their own populations ideas on how to rid themselves of an oppressive, dictatorial regime.

This certainly seems to be the case with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, in power since 1986, whose police recently banned a rally to celebrate the overthrow of the former leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Museveni’s fears seem not to be entirely without foundation, for included on advertising flyers for the rally was a photograph of him, suggesting that he will be next to fall.

Perhaps we are witnessing the beginnings of a long-overdue “African Spring”, when populations in many sub-Saharan countries will rise up and sweep their oppressors from power.

If this proves to be the case, it will be interesting to see the reaction of Western governments, including our own, to the toppling of regimes through which there have for years been channelled large amounts of aid, while assuring everyone that the recipients were trustworthy, and legitimate representatives of their peoples.

John O’Shea


Co Dublin

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