And Here Are Eight Good Reasons Why

Daily Mail (London), November 12, 1999 | Go to article overview

And Here Are Eight Good Reasons Why


Byline: EDWARD HEATHCOAT AMORY

GHANA

FLT LIEUT Jerry Rawlings, who this week played host to the Queen, staged a military coup in 1979, and made himself President.

He shot 50 political opponents; shortly afterwards, three senior judges were abducted, shot, and their burned bodies dumped. Leninist-style Committees for the Defence of the Revolution condemned thousands of people to death.

Since 1992, Rawlings has been 'democratically' elected, but not much has changed.

In 1995, his vice-president resigned after Rawlings kicked him in the groin during a cabinet meeting. Opponents and critical journalists are routinely locked up without trial.

Rawlings admits to 'excesses' in the Eighties, an act of contrition that seems to have made him acceptable to our Government.

KENYA

IT WAS once Africa's most promising nation, rich in resources, and relatively stable.

Then, in 1978, Daniel Arap Moi became president. His lavish lifestyle has been financed by an ever-poorer nation, and corruption is endemic at every level.

One Presidential adviser is believed to have amassed [pounds sterling]100 million, in a country where the per capita income is [pounds sterling]150 a year.

Opposition politicians are regularly beaten up by the police, which helps to explain why the introduction of 'democracy' in 1991 has not disturbed Mr Moi's grip on power.

Another reason is outrageous electoral corruption; one government candidate is believed to have handed out [pounds sterling]76,000 in bribes.

ZIMBABWE

THE British presided over the elections in which Robert Mugabe was chosen as president in 1980 after independence.

He soon went off the idea of democracy. He used his new power to pursue age-old tribal warfare, sending the army into Matabeleland, where they killed thousands of innocent Matabele.

Government money goes on lavish projects, such as a [pounds sterling]500,000 home for his second wife, Grace.

The ruling elite uses state cash to compulsorily purchase farms from white Zimbabweans for redistribution - but they keep the land for themselves.

Political dissent is not tolerated; two journalists who displeased the government this year claimed they were tortured. One said he received electric shock treatment and was almost drowned.

SRI LANKA

SRI LANKA'S politics are too chaotic to boast a single dictator. Several recent leaders have been assassinated.

But the current President Chandrika Kumaratunga has one thing in common with her predecessors; an extremely cavalier attitude to the human rights of her people. Thousands of people, some associated with the Tamil separatist movement, have been shot without trial or simply disappeared over the past few years.

Torture, according to Amnesty International, takes place on a daily basis, not only of suspected Tamil separatists, but anyone unlucky enough to be arrested.

GAMBIA

PROVIDER of cheap sun and sex for the British tourist, The Gambia has become so notorious that its President, Yahya Jammeh, was moved to remark that 'our men are not sex machines'. …

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