News / Africa

Mubarak Trial Should Serve as a Lesson to Africa’s Strong Men, Says Analyst

This video image taken from Egyptian State Television showing former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak laying on a hospital bed flanked by his two sons Gamal and Alaa, inside a cage of mesh and iron bars in a Cairo courtroom, Wednesday Aug. 3, 2011, as hi
This video image taken from Egyptian State Television showing former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak laying on a hospital bed flanked by his two sons Gamal and Alaa, inside a cage of mesh and iron bars in a Cairo courtroom, Wednesday Aug. 3, 2011, as hi

Multimedia

Audio
Douglas Mpuga

The long-awaited trial of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak opened in Cairo this week. He was ousted by a popular uprising early this year. In Africa, many see Mubarak’s trial as a watershed moment in the history of holding dictators to account for crimes committed against their people.

It was the trial many in Africa thought they would never see. The appearance of Egypt's former president in court charged with ordering the killing of protesters during Egypt's uprising in January along with a host of corruption charges, has provoked condemnation from some African politicians and praise from some political analysts.

“It’s unprecedented in Egyptian terms; it is unusual in African terms, to topple a president midterm and bring him to judicial trial,” said Dr Tim Hughes of the South Africa Institute for International Affairs.  

He said this trial sets a significant precedent for Africa, adding “its unchartered territory for Africa. We have had coup d’états, and uprisings but not a situation where judiciary actually gets to bring a former president to trial.”

Hughes, a Governance of Africa's Resources Programme Research Fellow, noted that Africa has already begun to feel the shockwaves of the democratic spring in North Africa in central, eastern and southern Africa.

He cited a wave of popular protests in countries such as Uganda, where President Yoweri Museveni, has been in power for 25 years, the potential for significant protest in Swaziland and perhaps in Zimbabwe.

But even in other democratically elected countries such as Malawi, he said, “we now see this phenomenon of popular dissatisfaction leading to popular protest on the streets.”

“Lessons have to be learned and have to be shared,” he said in reference to political changes in North Africa. “...people in central and southern Africa need to establish how transformations can come about hopefully peacefully. This is a social phenomenon.”  

Hughes emphasized the desirability of constitutional term limits that have worked well in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

He however said there are rulers who can extend their stay in power because they have access to natural resources such as oil. Rulers of countries such as Angola and Equatorial Guinea, he said, can tap into these resources and in a sense, subvert the democratic process and extend their term in office.

Hughes said that Uganda falls in this category when it starts exploiting its oil since Museveni also has the potential to extend his term even more.

Lying on a stretcher in standard-issue white prison overalls, behind the bars of the defendants' cage, the 83-year- Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak denied all charges against him.

He stands accused of economic corruption, striking an illegal business deal involving gas exports to Israel, and the unlawful killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising against his reign.

Mubarak's two sons and co-defendants, Alaa and Gamal – the latter having once been Mubarak's presumed heir to the presidency – also protested their innocence. Former interior minister Habib el-Adly and six of his senior police deputies are also facing similar charges.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

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