Otherwise how has your month been?

Todd Moss over at the CGD blog notes that, despite the hurrah over the Obama/Clinton African tour, it’s actually been quite the bad month for democracy on the continent:

  • Congo. In the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou-Nguesso won another seven years in office with 79% of the vote. Ok, they held an election, but Sassou has been in power since 1979 (except for 1992-97).
  • Gabon. Next door in Gabon, Omar Bongo — who was married to Sassou’s daughter — recently died after ruling that country for 42 years. But Gabon might not be looking at a new era. The ruling party just selected Bongo’s son, Ali Ben Bongo, as their candidate to run in the upcoming August 30 elections.
  • Niger. President Mamadou Tandja won a dubious 92% in a referendum to extend his term and remove term limits. If at first this sounds like a legitimate mandate, consider that the courts ruled the referendum illegal in June, so Tandja just dismissed all the judges. Yikes. Unfortunately, Tandja is far from alone in removing term limits.
  • Mauritania. In a sad but little-reported event last month, General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was elected president of Mauritania. The vote was so obviously suspicious that the electoral chief resigned and the opposition rejected the results. The real problem is that Mauritania already had a promising democracy before (who else?) General Aziz launched a coup last August.

All of this despite the efforts of Secretary Clinton to promote good governance. Tracey Samuelson from the CS Monitor (link from Texas in Africa) summarised Clinton’s trip with a wonderful info graphic:

samuelson csm graphic