Africa News: ‘African Spring’ needed for revolutionary change

NAIROBI, Kenya — Last year as walk-to-work protests gripped Uganda it seemed as if the long winter of autocracy under which some African countries have labored might be drawing to a close.

But it turned out Kizza Besigye, Uganda's opposition and protest leader, was not the man of the moment, his support was not large or widespread enough and the protests fizzled in the face of a heavy-handed crackdown by President Yoweri Museveni's police and army.

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Also last year, in Khartoum students took to the streets, angry with rising living costs and angry with Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, the unpalatable head of a pariah regime. His security forces put a swift end to those protests.

Last month Nigerians railed at their government for removing fuel subsidies, an Occupy Nigeria movement was born using the social media tools of the Arab Spring, but then President Goodluck Jonathan backtracked and the protests withered away.

Now it is Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade's turn as the streets of Dakar fill with protestors against his continued rule, fueled by the suspicion that he is grooming his son for power.

Will Senegal see the beginning of an 'African Spring?'

Right now it seems unlikely but, in an interview with the Reuters news agency, the celebrated Nigerian writer and Nobel winner Wole Soyinka issues a warning to what he calls "sit-tight rulers."

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Soyinka hits the nail squarely on the head:

"What is wrong with them? Why do they think that the world will not continue to turn after they've left office, I don't understand," said Soyinka. "In the end, those who refuse to bow to popular will, who continue to treat, describe and regard their own peoples as inferior to themselves or their petty clans, I'm afraid will confront the same nature of violence as we witnessed in the Arab world."

Many across Africa will be hoping for just such revolutionary change.

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