Africa uprising: Bashir, 3 other presidents who were forced out of power


Former Presidents Bashir, Mugabe, Wade and Compaore. Photos/COURTESY
Former Presidents Bashir, Mugabe, Wade and Compaore. Photos/COURTESY

In Summary

  • Ironically, Bashir took over power in 1989 through a military coup.
  • In 2014, violent protests saw demanding an end to President Blaise Compaore's 27-year-rule forced him out of power.
  • Mass anti-government protests rocked Senegal in 2012 with youths shouting “Wade step down”.
  • In Zimbabwe, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe succumbed to the pressure of a military takeover and the humiliation of impeachment on November 21, 2017.

Frustration. Anguish. Tension. Fear. Resolve. Excitement. Relief.

This is what characterised the protests in Sudan that led to President Omar al Bashir finally stepping down on Thursday.

Ironically, Bashir took over power in 1989 through a military coup. His three-decade rule however culminated in months of deadly protests, with Al-Jazeera citing rising costs of living as part of what fuelled the uprising.

“But anger has been boiling across Sudan, with some describing it as a “ticking time bomb”, over the rising costs and other economic hardships, including soaring inflation and limits on bank withdrawals.,” Al Jazeera reported.

“There is no cash at the ATM machines most of the time. Banks keep sending people away with only 500 SDG [about Ksh.1000 at the official exchange rate] in their pockets, which is barely enough for a day,” 29-year-old Yusuf Elhag, told Al Jazeera.

According to Reuters, fuel shortages also sparked the protests as citizens were forced to queue for the commodity. The demonstrations reportedly began on December 19, 2018 and spread across the country leaving 20 people dead, local media said.

There were other reports that the Government then shut down internet access and arrested those they accused of being behind the protests.

BURKINA FASO UPRISING

In 2014, violent protests saw demanding an end to President Blaise Compaore’s 27-year-rule forced him out of power.

Compaore had been in office since he took power after a bloody coup in 1987.

Demonstrators stormed Parliament, setting fire to the building, according to a CNN report.

The incident followed reports of protesters storming the parliament building, where lawmakers were set to vote on a motion to allow Compaore to extend his time in power.

On October 31, Burkina Faso’s military chief took over as head of state of the West African nation and announced that he would lead the country through a political transition and elections.

Compaore said he would stay in power until elections were carried out but changed his mind and announced his resignation saying the move would preserve peace in the country.

SENEGALESE PRESIDENT WADE OUT

Mass anti-government protests rocked Senegal in 2012 with youths shouting “Wade step down”.

The clashes came amid mounting international pressure on 85-year-old President Abdoulaye Wade over plans to seek a third term, Reuters reported.

Wade had been in power since 2000, having began his career as president with a sterling democratic reputation, but drew criticism from the Opposition who accused him of breaching rules for candidacy in an election.

In January 2012, protestors set fire to a bus and threw rocks at riot police, who retaliated with tear gas and stun grenades and chased them onto the grounds of a university, Reuters witnesses said.

A month later, the riots continued as Senegal security forces clashed with protesters in the capital Dakar and surrounding suburbs.

Tires were set on fire, car windows smashed and roads barricaded near the presidential mansion; several protesters were injured as police fired back with teargas, rubber bullets and rocks.

Clashes later erupted in several other suburbs and neighborhoods of Dakar, raising the tension days before Senegalese were due to go to the polls.

Opposition leaders and civil society group M-23 then vowed to make the country ungovernable if Wade did not step down before the vote.

On March 25, 2012, Macky Sall claimed victory after a hotly contended presidential election over Wade, who quickly conceded defeat.

MUGABE RESIGNS AFTER 37-YEAR-RULE

In Zimbabwe, 93-year-old Robert Mugabe succumbed to the pressure of a military takeover and the humiliation of impeachment on November 21, 2017.

It was the culmination of an extraordinary week in the history of Zimbabwe that began when the country’s military leaders staged an unprecedented intervention to prevent the ascent to power of Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife, Grace.

Tens of thousands of protesters had taken to the streets demanding that President Mugabe step down.

After nearly four decades of unimpeded rule, which began amid the triumph of independence from Britain, Mugabe’s political downfall unfolded in just two weeks.

The crisis had begun on November 6 when Mugabe fired Mnangagwa as vice president, in an apparent attempt to clear a path for his wife, Grace Mugabe, to succeed him.

Army generals and senior figures in Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, suspicious of the first lady’s lavish lifestyle and political ambitions, were horrified by the possibility she could take over, CNN said.

Mugabe clung to power for a further six days, quitting only after his party ousted him as leader, and Parliament began impeachment proceedings.

ZANU-PF ousted Mugabe as leader of the party and installed Mnangagwa in his place.

Additional report from CNN, Al Jazeera and Reuters

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