News / Africa

Egypt: Analyst says Long-term Rulers Should Take Heed

Egyptian children hold an anti-Mubarak cartoon during a protest in Alexandria, Egypt, 4 Feb 2011
Egyptian children hold an anti-Mubarak cartoon during a protest in Alexandria, Egypt, 4 Feb 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

The popular uprising in Egypt should serve as a warning to long-time Arab and African leaders, says a University of South Africa professor.

Shadrack Gutto, director of the university’s Institute for African Renaissance Studies in Pretoria, says, “One would have wished that the leadership in Egypt took a cue from what happened in Tunisia to be able to really say when you have such a spontaneous uprising, which cuts across various classes, subgroups and so on, it’s very difficult to stand it down.”

Face of repression?

Gutto says the demonstrations represent those who see Egypt as a “repressive state.  And the president is a symbol of that.  He then personifies those acts of repression, like torture and so on.”

The Egyptian economy and the country’s high unemployment rate, he says, are other driving forces behind the protests.

“There are those that are out there primarily expressing their frustrations,” he says, “And I think it is only reasonable for those who have been in power to indicate they have not found a proper solution and let Egyptians choose new leaders.”

Some Arab and African leaders have remained in power for decades, similar to or longer than President Mubarak.  One example is Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

“The social composition in Libya is not quite the same as those in Tunisia and Egypt.  And maybe there won’t be an immediate uprising, but they are learning lessons.  And therefore one cannot say sooner or later we will not see some fundamental changes there,” he says.

He gives Cameroon and Uganda as examples of countries in sub-Saharan African countries that have long-time rulers.

“I believe that those leaders may be beginning now because of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that their strategy of thinking that they are indispensible to their countries – that they’re going to think quickly and move out before they are faced with (a) similar uprising, popular uprising.  So I don’t think that leaders who cling to power in any part of Africa ought to be feeling comfortable anymore,” says.

Professor Gutto says he’s not surprised by democratic stirrings in the Arab world.

“If you look at places like Yemen, it has a population which is fairly mixed with Arabs (and) Africans.  They took a…very quick cue from what was going on in Tunisia and…Egypt.  [In] Jordan, there were beginnings of rumblings and people’s dissatisfaction.  But there other parts of the Middle East where they have to think very, very carefully, particularly the kind of monarchical regimes that are there in Saudi Arabia, various emirates.”

Those countries have ruling classes that may believe that “they are anointed by ancestors or by God to be in power,” he says, “They ought to be quite worried.  People are beginning to realize that they do have power when they unite.”

Mubarak

Demonstrators have demanded that President Mubarak step down.  But would that end the turmoil?  Gutto says, “Mubarak has become the symbol of state repression…corruption…cronyism and so on.  And from that point of view, his stepping down would really be something useful at this particular moment.”

He adds that President Mubarak “shouldn’t pretend that if he were to leave there would be total chaos in Egypt.  It is not only him who holds Egypt together.”

You May Like

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More