Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rawlings, Obasanjo planning coups?

Coups seem to on many lips in West Africa these days.

Ghana's president John Kuffour has accused his predecessor Jerry John Rawlings of trying to sollicit funds to overthrow the current democratic government. Rawlings engineered military coups in 1979 and 1981 but, when his handpicked successor lost, handed over to longtime opposition leader Kuffour. Ghana is now considered one of the most stable countries in West Africa.

The French language Le Messager of Cameroon reports on accusations that Nigerian president Olesegun Obasanjo is planning to create as much chaos as possible in the six geopolitical zones of the country in order to delay the elections planned for 2007 and maintain himself in power. One opposition leader accuses Obasanjo of 'preparing the way for a national state of emergency.'

On the other hand, the NGO Reporters Without Borders (known by its French acronym RSF) praised developments in respect for the liberty of the press in Mauritania. The pan-African weekly Jeune Afrique noted that Mauritania has improved from 138th in the world to 77th in terms of press freedom since the 2004 military coup that overthrew a long-standing dictatorship.

RSF noted that the military junta had put an end to the 'strong censorship' exercised by the previous regime and was pushing a liberalization of the airwaves.

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