Africa on a Dangerous Path as Anger Against Govts Takes Toll

On July 25, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied suspended parliament for a month and dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi.

A dangerous power grab and a threat to democracy? The opposition in Tunisia certainly thought so, calling it a coup.

The people, those fellows who gave birth to the Arab Spring by pouring onto the Tunisia streets in 2011 to oust strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, had other ideas. They came out to celebrate Saied’s action, with a woman interviewed by an international TV, all sweaty, saying it was the best thing she had ever seen a Tunisian president do.

Tunisians are angry at one of Africa’s worst virus outbreaks, and at a bickering political class that has hopelessly failed to solve the county’s economic problems, but seeing them celebrating a president suspending an elected parliament and concentrating all power unto himself, was still unsettling.

Yet, Tunisia is not alone. In many places in Africa, we are seeing a sharp increase in disillusionment with elected government and parliament.

It can sometimes take very strange turns. In early July, violence and a frantic wave of national looting whose aftermath was visible from outers space, broke out in South Africa.

It followed the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court. When Zuma was president from May 2009 to February 2018, South Africa was nearly eaten to the bone.

Zuma refused to show up at the commission probing the corruption of his government and was hit with court contempt charges.