#BounceRewind2018: 4 Major Political Events That Shaped Africa
It is the last week of the year in 2018 and we are taking a look at some of the biggest stories in the year across various sectors.
In continuation of that, we bring you a special edition with the review of the major political events we saw across the continent in Africa this year.
Graceless Fall Of 'Emperor' Mugabe And Rise Of Mnangagwa
The streets of Harare exploded in jubilation and celebrations following the announcement of the resignation of Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe for almost four decades.
He was the only president that the country had known for over 37 years of independence. He was also the world’s oldest president at 93.
For a week, he had clung to power after the country’s military Generals moved against him following his sack of Emmerson Mnangagwa, his erstwhile deputy. The decision to sack Mnangagwa marked a break with his major support base, the war veterans and the military leaders who participated in the liberation war.
The drama lasted for a week, culminating in his resignation that marked a major turning point in the history of Zimbabwe. The move echoed across the continent where a number of rulers, gripped by the lure of power, now confront the possibility of their edifice crumbling in like manner. It will be recalled that in a speech before the African Union in 2016, Mugabe had vowed to remain at the helm “until God says: Come.”
Emmerson Mnangagwa took over as Zimbabwe’s president in front of a stadium crowd after a divisive election.
Thousands of people, some from outside the capital, joined foreign leaders at Harare’s national stadium for the inauguration of Mnangagwa, who narrowly secured the 50% of the vote he needed to avoid a runoff against Nelson Chamisa.
The election was seen as a significant step toward shedding the reputation Zimbabwe gained under Mnangagwa’s predecessor Robert Mugabe, and securing international donor funding to revive the country’s crippled economy.
George Weah Took Oath Of Office
"I have spent many years of my life in stadiums, but today is a feeling like no other," President Weah told crowds in the capital Monrovia during his swearing-in ceremony in January.
It was Liberia's first transition between democratically-elected leaders since 1944.
Liberia elected former soccer star George Weah as its new president following a run-off election.
Weah, 51, won the polls with 61.5% of votes and was sworn in on Jan. 22 2018. The event was particularly significant as it was Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power since 1944.
Weah’s victory at the polls came after his third attempt having first contested back in 2005 and again in 2011, as the vice-presidential candidate under Winston Tubman.
Jacob Zuma Bows Out
The biggest change to the political arena came in the form of South Africa gaining a new president. After a convoluted political war within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) – which culminated in a fierce fire fight at Nasrec in December 2017 – Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as the party’s president.
On 14 February 2018, Jacob Zuma, who’s tenure had been marred by controversy, stepped down as the president of South Africa, relinquishing his throne to Ramaphosa.
The resignation of Zuma marked the end of an era. An era of one corruption allegation after another. An era of divisions, infighting and public squabbles.
Some of President Zuma's fiercest political foes came from his own ANC party. Comrades who fought white minority rule in the same trenches as he did, could not wait to see his back.
The ANC's Jesse Duarte summed up the mood for many supporters of Mr Zuma's when she said "this is a very painful moment".
The ANC (African National Congress) issued a statement saying Mr Zuma's resignation provided "certainty to the people of South Africa".
Kabila Relinquishes The Throne
Joseph Kabila, who took over the Democratic Republic of Congo at age 29 after the assassination of his father in 2001, announced that he would not stand for re-election, raising hopes the country might carry out a peaceful transition of power for the first time in its modern history.
Kabila came to power in 2001 after his father, Laurent, was assassinated. Subsequently, he won elections in 2006 and 2011. He was however, constitutionally barred from seeking a third term. His opponents have accused him of clinging to power, and the political standoff since 2016 has seen riots and violence break across the country leaving dozens dead.
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