It has been a huge last ten days for African politics with fifty years of presidential rule between two leaders grinding to an end with striking similarities.
Abdulaziz Bouteflika of Algeria would perhaps be the most shocked by the turn of events given that all was “well” not necessarily with him but with his ambitions to continue in office.
In the case of Omar al-Bashir, political watchers had stressed that it was only a matter of how much longer he could hold on especially given the dogged nature of the opposition he was facing.
The two men fell to a common opponent – popular protests that had very little political involvement. In each case, concessions at different points might have emboldened the protesters.
The two leaders were also nudged by the army by and large. Bouteflika’s fate remains known as is that of the political future of Algeria – the country has an interim president and a July 4 date for the first post-Bouteflika vote.
In the case of Sudan, watchers say the real hard work is yet to begin with the military’s 48-month transition period rejected by activists. International pressure is mounting for a quick return to civilian rule, the next few days will be crucial, one analyst told Africanews.
April 1999 to April 2019: Key dates of Bouteflika’s presidency Algeria
- April 1999 = Arrival after winning polls
- April 2009 = Changes laws to seek 3rd term
- 2013 = Suffers a stroke
- Feb. 2019 = Protests start
- March 2019 = Bouteflika turns down bid, opts to leave
- April 2019 = Army calls for him to quit, abandoned by ruling party, Bouteflika quits
June 1989 to April 2019: Key dates of Bashir’s 30-year presidency in Sudan
- 1989 = sweeps to power
- 1999 = pushes coup-partner out of ruling circle
- 2003-2005 = the Darfur war
- 2011 = South Sudan ‘leaves’
- 2013 = Protests quelled
- 2010, 2015 = Won boycotted polls
- 2018 = Fresh round of economic protests, morphs to anti-government movement
- 2019 = Ousted by army despite state of emergency he declared. Military now in charge
Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa