Fire in the Arab World: A real lesson for African politicians

January 30, 2011

As the African Union meets in Ethiopia, two if its long-serving members will not be there. Tunisia’s former President, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, has been forced out of office by a determined mass of those he had ruled for 23 years. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled his country for 30 years now, is in the throes of losing power and cannot afford the luxury of leaving Cairo to attend the AU summit.

Will these two familiar faces be sorely missed by their colleagues at the AU summit? Or will their fate teach these “colleagues” the lesson that they have refused to learn all these years as they rule their countries without listening to the voice of the people? Are the events in Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, and Egypt forcing their hearts to do overtime? Or will they refuse to read deeper meanings into what a disgruntled but determined people can do if pushed too far to the wall? Counting on the domino effect of such uprisings, any African leader who shrugs off the current happenings in the Arab world will end up laughing at the wrong side of his mouth. Falling suddenly from grace to grass is not a good feat. Read more