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African Leaders After Service: The Curious Case of Capt. Valentine Strasser

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The temporariness of power seems to be a lesson completely lost on many individuals, including African leaders, who find themselves in the position to wield it. Whether through the ballot or through the gun-barrel, many of those at the helm of African nations often realise, after they bow out, that power is an illusion.     

The continent has seen exemplary and outstanding leaders like South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, and Ghana’s Jerry Rawlings, revered at home and abroad.

There have also been a host of tyrants and despots notorious for their misrule, including Idi Amin of Uganda, Jean Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic, Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, now Democratic republic of Congo, and Samuel Doe of Liberia. 

These men are no longer living, but there are also several, whom fate has granted the privilege of staying alive to see the results of their rule … or misrule as the case may be.

The case of Africa’s one-time youngest head of state is nothing short of pathetic. Captain Valentine Strasser was 25 years old when he led a group of young officers to topple President Joseph Momoh of Sierra Leaone in April 1992. He was overthrown by members of his own junta, 4 years later in January 1996.

Strasser left for the United Kingdom, where he studied law at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England. He dropped out after a year and returned to Sierra Leone where he now reportedly lives in penury.

The case of Strasser’s national next door neighbour, Charles Taylor of Liberia is probably worse. He is currently languishing in jail in the UK. Taylor literally shot his way into reckoning after waging an armed uprising against President Samuel Doe. Although Taylor eventually came to power through elections in August 1997, his fearsome reputation ensured only a token opposition. 

He ruled with an iron bloody fist for six years, until forced to resign amid international pressure in 2003. He was eventually convicted of crimes against humanity at the international criminal court at the Hague.

For South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, he might still be a free man but he is still being dogged by justice as he continues to face criminal charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering, while in power. 

In fact, Zuma is no stranger to the courts as, during his years in the presidency, he faced a range of charges including rape and corruption. After succeeding Thabo Mbeki in 2009, he was forced to resign in 2018 following a vote of no-confidence in Parliament.

In December 2020, South Africa’s Deputy Chief Justice ordered Zuma to resume testifying before the Zondo Commission, to answer charges of graft. 

But it’s not entirely gloom for past African leaders, as a number of them, including Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo, John Kuffour of Ghana and Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf have evolved into respected statesmen whose wisdom, experience and influence are being tapped, both in their home countries and across the continent.

If only leaders would remember that there is life after power, perhaps they would do things differently when they are in government. Except for those who ultimately desire to remain there for life. Even then, everything has an expiry date, including life itself.

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East Africa Politics News

Bobi Wine Rejects Preliminary Presidential Election Results

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Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, candidate of the National Unity Platform in Uganda’s Presidential election has rejected the preliminary results posted by the electoral commission.

The Electoral Commission of Uganda has declared preliminary results from more than 10,000 polling units. From the results, incumbent President, Yoweri Museveni is leading closest competitor, Bobi Wine with a difference of over 2 million votes between both candidates.

As at the 5th update of the electoral commission, Museveni had 3,091,725 votes while Bobi Wine had 1,445,805 votes. Museveni currently has 62.74% of the votes while Kyagulanyi has garnered 29.34% of total votes cast.

Bobi Wine in a Press conference held in his home said the electoral commission was just there to announce the results given to it. He said the results being announced do not reflect the will of Ugandans.

“At the National tally center, Mr Byabakama, the chairperson of the EC is not in charge. Byabakama is only there to come and announce what has been given to him by several operatives who have been deployed there, ” Bobi Wine said.

Recall that the internet was shut down in Uganda barely a day before the election.

Several CSOs and electoral information-based NGOs were also denied accreditation to observe the election.

The US government and the EU were also not granted accreditation before the election.

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South Africa’s Mining Industry to Support COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

The mining companies say they are well-positioned to support the COVID-19 response due to decades of experience combatting tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS among workers, including the creation of on-site treatment facilities.

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In a bid to help curb the spread of coronavirus infection rates, South Africa’s mining companies, otherwise known as the Minerals Council have announced that they will support the government in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines as the country battles a spike in infections.


The mining companies say they are well-positioned to support the COVID-19 response due to decades of experience combatting tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS among workers, including the creation of on-site treatment facilities.
Also, The Minerals Council said its members are developing plans to use the sector’s healthcare infrastructure and delivery capability to accelerate the vaccination programme.

The government has called on the private sector, including miners, to assist with the rollout of vaccines but has not yet outlined exactly how it should assist.

According to the Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter, he said: “While Government is primarily responsible for funding the vaccine rollout and is the single buyer, the industry can play a material role in accelerating the vaccination programme on mines and in mining communities.”

Keep Reading:

COVID-19: South Africa Shuts Land Borders

South Africa’s Biggest Pharmacies To Offer COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19: South Africa to Receive 1.5 Million Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine from India

 Medical Schemes To Partly Fund South Africa’s COVID-19 Vaccination


Precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater disclosed that it could carry out 18,000 vaccinations a day using its 45 health and medical facilities. “We could probably vaccinate our entire workforce of around 80,000 people in about a week,” said Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted, while adding that talks were ongoing about extending vaccinations to the community.


Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been secured as the country battles infections which reached a peak of more than 21,000 a day, taking total cases to nearly 1.3 million, which is the most on the African continent.

With over 230 COVID-19 deaths in the mining industry, unions have called on mining firms to help pay for vaccines. “They have been making huge profits, and now it’s time for them to buy vaccines for their employees,” said National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu.

In a revealing budget for the vaccines, South Africa’s government has said it might meet 70% of its vaccine needs with AstraZeneca’s shot, which is the cheapest at an estimated 54 Rand ($3.56) per dose. At that price, vaccinating all the country’s more than 470,000 mineworkers with the two-dose regimen from AstraZeneca will cost around 50.9 million rands ($3.36 million).

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Libya Welcomes Dutch Ambassador to Tripoli

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The Libyan Interior Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fathi Bachagha, has welcomed the Dutch Ambassador to Libya, Lars Tomers, back to the Embassy in Tripoli.

Most diplomatic missions left Tripoli in 2014 due to the deteriorating security situation, but in recent years, many of them have resumed work again following the improvement of the situation.

“We will continue to cooperate together in the fight against corruption, terrorism and organised crime,” Mr Bachagha said in a tweet published after meeting Mr. Tomers.

During the meeting, which was held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior in Tripoli, Mr Bachagha and Tomers discussed the strengthening of bilateral cooperation in the areas of fighting organised crime, terrorism, money laundering, drugs and psychotropic substances, illegal immigration and other issues of common interest.

Earlier, Mr Tomers wrote in a tweet that he had “an open and fruitful discussion with Mr Bachagha regarding the strengthening of bilateral cooperation between Libya and the Netherlands in the fight against organised crime, corruption, terrorism and illegal immigration”.

He said he also reaffirmed his support for the UN Mission and the Libyan Forum for Political Dialogue.

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