In Senegal Sunday night they were dancing in the streets as the election results came in. Very much in line with its 164 year democratic history, the president of twelve years, Abdoulaye Wade was unseated in what by most accounts was a fair and peaceful reelection. Wade who was 85 and running for a third term in spite of a two term limit, and attempting to position his son to succeed him, insisted on clinking to power in the face of widespread opposition.
At least six people were killed in the violence that accompanied mass protests in the earlier election in which Wade faced 12 opponents. For the run off, all of the opposition united around Macky Sall who received 65% of the vote to Wade's 35%. While the new president faces many challenges like high food prices and high unemployment, this was a day for the Senegalese, who took to the streets in protest a month ago, with some being martyred, to celebrate the fact they they have been able to chose new leadership.
In Mali, just next door, the story was quite different, on Monday people were out in the streets demanding that the military coup be ended and power returned to the civilian government. They were scheduled to have elections in a month but since elements of the army seized power last week, the future of the whole country has been put in doubt. The Atlanta Constitution reports:
BAMAKO, Mali Demonstrators in Mali's capital are demanding a return to constitutional order days after mutinous soldiers claimed power in a coup.
About a thousand people, including members of youth movements and political parties, gathered Monday in central Bamako.
Some of the youth groups threatened to march on state TV and radio headquarters, which are under the junta's control.
Junta spokesman Lt. Amadou Konare on Sunday warned demonstrators to "exercise prudence" on Monday, which marks the 21-year anniversary of the last coup.
In Libya, a struggle is building up around garbage, as trash fills the streets of Tripoli. It seems that garbage has not been picked up in Libya's capital for more than a month now, the situation is becoming intolerable. Naturally, most Libyans blame the revolutionary government which is tasked with reinventing virtually all of civilian society, but the problem is more complicated than just organizing the workers and equipment to pickup the trash.
The people that live in the communities around Tripoli are flexing their revolutionary muscles as well. They feel that they have been unfairly dumped on by the city of Tripoli in the old regime and they are demanding a change. Like many communities in Libya now, they are armed and they have blockaded the dump.
From the Tripoli Post:
The Cleaning Up Tripoli team (The Cleaning Revolution), a concerned group of Tripoli residents, will be holding a demonstration in front of the government building (Prime Minister's office) in Triq al Sika at 11.00am until 2.00pm.They're on Twitter @CleanUpTripoli. Maybe the revolution hasn't solved yet the trash problem but at least now they can demonstrate about it without being shot at!
The demonstration will demand that the government takes drastic action to solve the garbage problem that has caused an environmental disaster in Tripoli, and call on the people to be aware of the size of the disaster that's threatening the capital and Libya in general.
Along with organising such demonstration on Saturday, the group is also interested in tackling the growing trash crises in the city. It has set up a team to combat the ever accumulating environmental issues in the city through social media, the traditional media, cleaning campaigns and other mediums to raise awareness for proper trash disposal and conservative energy use.
The group is calling on all activists to review the Facebook event invitation at: http://www.facebook.com/events/145825295540733/
They were shooting in southern Libya. An armed clash between rival militias over a disputed car left 20 dead and 40 wounded in what may be the worst of such clashes since the defeat of Qaddafi. Al Jazeera reports:
Clashes between rival militias in southern Libya have killed 20 people, a doctor at a regional hospital said, highlighting the challenge the government faces in imposing its authority months after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.So far armed clashes of this type have been relatively rare but this is a very serious example of what everyone fears can become a persistent problem with so many armed groups in revolutionary Libya. The article continues:
A local doctor, Ibrahim Misbah, said on Monday that 20 fighters died of gunshot wounds and more than 40 people were wounded.
Local council member Ahmed Abdelkadir said clashes first broke out on Sunday between former rebel fighters from Sabha, Libya's fourth largest city, and gunmen from the Tibu tribe after a Sabha man was killed in a dispute over a car.
Last month dozens of people were killed in days of clashes between tribes in the far southeastern province of Al Kufra.
Government security forces eventually intervened to stop the fighting in a rare example of the Tripoli bureaucracy imposing its authority.
Abdul-Jalil said incompetent ministers may be dismissed in the coming months, but he gave no specifics.
A 200-member assembly to be elected in June has the job of appointing new cabinet ministers.
My other recent writings on Africa:
BREAKING: Wade defeated in Senegal & other Africa Updates
Mali Coup is latest post-Qaddafi fallout Fri Mar 23
What the PSL got right & wrong about KONY 2012 Sat Mar 10
African Spring continues in Senegal Mon Feb 27
Occupy Nigeria - 1st African fruits of Qaddafi gone? Tue Jan 10