Mugabe at his happiest

4. August 2013

„Alone, vilified, attacked by Western governments but victorious – Mugabe was at his happiest.“

(Richard Dowden, Africa. Altered States, Ordinary Miracles)

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On Monday, July 15, Eric Lembembe, Cameroon’s most prominent LGBTI rights activists, was found dead in his home in Yaoundé. His body showed signs of severe torture. He is only the latest tragic victim of homophobic furor in Africa. He knew what might happen to him as he exposed what had happened to others, but in his very last article which was published after his death he still sounds optimistic.

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Hope is a faithless friend of Kenyans‘. While various attempts of democratic reforms had been made in the last years, disappointment was a constant companion. After Mwai Kibaki’s victory and John Githongo’s appointment as anti-corruption czar in 2002/2003 came the Kibaki regime’s scandals and Githongo’s escape in 2005. After the shocking post-election violence in 2007/2008, it was the constitutional reform process which raised hopes for the overcoming of the old system of tribalism, corruption and ignorance of the people’s will. But the soaring dreams might shatter again. Even though most Kenyans (and observers) feel relief that this time the elections took place peacefully and the losers stayed prudent, Uhuru Kenyatta’s triumph by very narrow margin is not the sign of maturity and reconciliation as which he tries to sell it.  It is the counterstrike of the old forces which instrumentalize ethnic tensions for their power game. The political landscape of one of Africa’s high potential states stays as deeply divided as ever before.

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