Rule of Law Archives

Guest Analyst  |  April 25, 2007 12:57 PM

Nigeria’s Inferno of Post-Colonial Democracy

By Adebayo Williams

Once again Nigeria picks up the bloody pieces from its latest democratic fiasco. It is not unlike the aftermath of a party that went up in smoke. Much of the debris of desolation is still in place. The streets are tense and sullen and in the violent Niger Delta, the night still echoes with the staccato bursts of small arms fire as marauding insurgents engage government troops in a deadly face off. This is as close to Dante’s inferno as it can get.

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Guest Analyst  |  May 7, 2007 11:12 AM

Bangladesh State Emergency an Opportunity

By Mahfuz R. Chowdhury

From a political point of view, Bangladesh is currently undergoing dramatic change. The present caretaker government, which came to power on January 12, 2007 with the backing of the army after a declaration of emergency, was quickly perceived to have saved the country from the grave consequences of hostilities between the country’s two major political parties. Those hostilities had driven the country of over 140 million people almost to the brink of anarchy. During the two months prior to the takeover, the country had experienced unending riots and widespread demonstrations in which more than 60 people lost their lives, millions of dollars in property was damaged, and the economic activities in the country came to a squealing halt.

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Guest Voice  |  November 7, 2007 11:03 AM

Musharraf's Two-Faced Rule

By Alizeh Haider

Musharraf’s decision to impose martial law, disguised as “emergency rule,” on Pakistan’s people comes as a slap in our faces after the years we’ve spent listening to his sweet lullabies heralding the advent of democracy. The move is desperate and baffling, and his justification for it is shoddy, at best.

In his November 3rd address to the nation, General Musharraf warned of militant extremists who pose “a direct challenge [to] Pakistan’s sovereignty.” He also blamed Pakistan’s judiciary and the media for their “interference” in government affairs, which has “enhanced [an] atmosphere of uncertainty.” Pakistan, he said, is now “at the brink of a very dangerous situation.”

But consider the real circumstances. For eight years, Musharraf has simultaneously held Pakistan’s two most powerful offices, President and Chief of Army Staff. The country’s entire military and paramilitary power was at his command. He had hand picked his Prime Minister, and his major political opponents were in exile abroad. The West had offered overwhelming and unconditional support for action against these extremists.

My humble question to General Musharraf is this: With this kind of power, why has he not been able to contain these terrorists and curb this rise in militancy? Why are we, the people of Pakistan, being made to pay for his strategic failures in dealing with the Taliban?

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Guest Voice  |  January 28, 2008 3:07 PM

Peacemakers Unfit for Peace

By Njoroge Wachai

Amid the ongoing post-election bloodbath in Kenya, peace troubleshooters have descended on Nairobi. They’re from all walks of life: sitting and former presidents, career diplomats and religious leaders. They all have one mission: to bring President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to talk to each other and to encourage them to stop the spiral of violence, which a recent Associated Press report claims has killed close to 800 people and left some parts of the country in ruins.

The Kenyan crisis is of monumental magnitude, necessitating outside mediation, but I detest the free-for-all diplomatic theatric that’s slowly unraveling in Nairobi. Even Libya’s strongman, Muammar Gaddafi, a tyrant dictator to the core, has, according to the Office of Kenya’s government spokesman, dispatched his minister for African Union Affairs, Ali Tirku, to encourage President Kibaki and Mr. Odinga to share power. How can a dictator who grabbed power by the barrel of a gun 39 years ago, and has since never shared it with anybody, encourage others to do so? Libya has never held a democratic election. Until two years ago, it was a pariah state for its support of terrorism and abuse of human rights. A campaign strategy document for Mr. Odinga’s Orange Democratic Party (ODM) (which Human Rights Watch accused last week of systematic killing of members of one ethnic tribe in Western Kenya) shows that Saif al-Islam al-Gadaffi, Gaddafi’s son, offered material support to the opposition. In light of these reports, it’s preposterous for Libya to think it can mediate in the current crisis.

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