Ghana, Beacon of Stability in West Africa; South Africa's New National Party Disbands; Mozambique's Marxist Rule Becomes Democratic
May 21, 2005

TUMI MAKGABO, HOST: Embracing democracy; a look at the growing number of democratic nations in Africa. We'll go back in time to see what's driving the winds of change across the continent. More than a decade after the introduction of democracy, Ghana looks set to become a beacon of hope in West Africa. Former President Jerry Rawlings shares his thoughts on the future of his country's political system.

And the changing of the guard in Mozambique as a new president takes the reign.

These stories all coming up on this edition of INSIDE AFRICA.

Hello, good to have you join us. I'm Tumi Makgabo.

Ethiopians are awaiting results from last weekend's parliamentary elections. Poll observers say the vote was mostly free and fair. Ethiopia's experience was the latest multi-party elections in Africa and there have been many in the past 15 years. While some may have been controversial and possibly rigged, others led to the establishment of several working democracies.

In our program this week, we go back into in time to examines Africa's efforts to democratize.


REV. TIMOTHY NJOYA, PRO DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: And when I entered and our people were about to listen to me saying the opening prayer, I saw their scurries. I saw the soldiers trying to come in.

MAKGABO (voice over): The Reverend Timothy Njoya recounting a turbulent era of Kenya's past, the 1990s when the pro-democracy movement was sweeping the nation.

NJOYA: And the people are seen being beaten here. People were hearing everywhere about the fuse. There was blood all over. And there were a lot of people crying and trying to look for escape.

MAKGABO: It was July 1997 when Reverend Njoya and other pro-democracy activists had organized a protest rally, gathering for a prayer services when security forces stormed the church. Out on the streets...


MAKGABO: ... students and other citizens called for President Daniel Arap Moi to be replaced. Government reacted violently and many including Reverend Njoya were injured. Years later, President Moi gave in and held free and fair elections.


MAKGABO: And the euphoric crowd greeted opposition leader Mwai Kibaki when he was inaugurated as Kenya's president in December of 2002.

What happened in Kenya was not unique. The 1990s witnessed the growth of pro-democracy movements right across the African continent. Mass protests in Zambia falls longtime President Kenneth Kaunda to call multi- party elections, which he lost in the early '90s.

By 1989 there were few working democracies in Africa. In fact, many studies mention three: Senegal, Mauritius and Botswana. But the end of the Cold War saw the demand for democracy grow. And since 1990 more than 20 countries held elections that most observers consider free and fair.

CHRIS FOMUNYOH, NAT'L. DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE: Because when you look across the continent, Africans, African citizens in various countries are more committed to the democratic process today than ever before.

MUTAHI MGUNYI, POLITICAL ANALYST: Essentially, we are making progress in terms of limiting the lifespan of these leaders. But I think we need to go beyond that and redefine the institutions they occupy. And the move towards that is actually on.

MAKGABO: A move to redefine the institution of leadership in Africa to consolidate democracy. Critics say though governments may have changed in some countries, much remains the same. In Kenya, for example, President Kibaki was elected on an anti-graft platform. But his war against corruption has not yielded much success. And people, like Reverend Njoya, are once again lashing out against the system.

NJOYA: The good thing about it is that you distribute wealth more among many thieves than amongst a small group of thieves. Otherwise Kenya is not better in terms of change.

FOMUNYOH: It's going to have to take the involvement of civil society organizations. Organizations such as Transparency International and other watchdogs. Independent watchdogs to kind of hold these leaders to their feet.

MAKGABO: Some argue however that it may simply take time to fully consolidate democracy. To the critics, they say there are already some signs of change.

ALEX MLICHAI, NAIROBI RESIDENT: I think you're given utmost freedom to express whatever you're feeling. A minister can challenge his own government.

MAKGABO: For that, people like Alex believe the mass protest of the '90s were not in vain.


MAKGABO: Well, analysts say successful African democracies follow no set pattern. But the common denominator for some was the end of the Cold War, which seemed to have spurred democratic movement in many countries.


MAKGABO: In the 1980s, there were barely any former presidents in Africa. Change of government usually came through the barrel of the gun. Today with democratic elections across the continent, there are 25 former presidents and heads of state and the democratic trend continues.

In Namibia, presidential elections last November brought Hifikepunye Pohamba to power, replacing longtime President Sam Nujoma. In Malawi, former World Bank economist, Bingu wa Mutharika was elected president in May of 2004.

Despite the progress there have been some countries that witnessed a reversal in the democratic trend. In the Ivory Coast, President Laurent Gbagbo was swept to power after a people's revolution forced the military to acknowledge Gbagbo's victory in 2000. But the country has since been plunged into a civil war.

There have also been questionable elections in countries like: Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. And while regional organizations are credited with supporting the democratic movement, critics also blame them for doing little to solve crises arising from disputed elections.


MAKGABO: We're going to take a break now. But coming up, we're going to Ghana for a look at its young democracy, and the role of Jerry Rawlings, Ghana's controversial former president.

Don't go away.



PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 2005: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote D'Ivoire,

Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sudan, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania.


MAKGABO: Welcome back.

For all its troubles in the past, Ghana today is an example for other West African nations. It too saw multi-party democracy introduced in the early '90s, and with that came economic growth and other dividends, as Jeff Koinange explains.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know it's not only that. What's your view on what's being discussed?

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN LAGOS BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The sounds of democracy over Ghana's airwaves. Listeners calling in from around the country and giving their opinions on just about anything and everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The power line, which was not connected...

KOINANGE: And not far away, democratically elected members of the country's parliament engaged in lively debate, something that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Once one of Africa's most turbulent countries, Ghana is enjoying the dividends of democracy.

FRED SLAY, DEPUTY SPEAKER, PARLIAMENT: And definitely indications are clear that we're on the right path towards good governance and democracy.

KOINANGE: That was the hopes back in 1957 and the country, then known as the Gold Coast, became Ghana; sub-Sahara Africa's first independent republic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At long last...

KOINANGE: But Ghana's post-colonial euphoria was short-lived. It's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, turned the country into a one party state and was overthrown in 1966. A series coups and counter-coups followed, until this man intervened. Jerry Rawlings, a junior Air Force officer staged what he called a "People's Revolution" in 1979. His government had a reputation for serious human rights abuses.

But in the 1990s he introduced economic and democratic reforms, turning to the West for aid, and was twice elected president before giving up office voluntarily.

Some here quietly wish for the ghost of Rawlings to be exorcised from Ghana's history, others disagree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ghost of Rawlings can never be gone out of Ghana's history. This guy was in power for 10 years as a ruthless, military dictator. So yes, he gets a discredit for coming in as a military ruler and overthrowing a military dictatorship. And he gets credit for transforming into a democratic leader and setting this foundation, which to for took over.

KOINANGE: John Kufor, an Oxford-educated economist succeeded Rawlings in 2001, and was recently re-elected in a vote described as free and fair by observers. And a new poll conducted by the country's Center for Democratic Development shows Ghanaians are generally pleased with their leadership.

GYIMAH BOADI, GHANA CENTER FOR DEMOCRATIC DEV.: People prefer to be governed under a democratic dispensation. Considered by a vast majority, they are happy with what democracy has delivered on the political front.

KOINANGE: President Kufor projects the image of a modern technocrat. He says Africa needs to move beyond the days of one-man rule, and wants Ghana to be seen as a model. Observers believe progress is being made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ghana is a beacon of economic development. Ghana is a beacon of economic stability. But the neighboring countries need to sorted out yet, so that we can really know that yes, we are definitely on the right path and there's very little chance of reversal. '

KOINANGE (on camera): In a rough neighborhood, Ghana's stability is the exception rather than the rule. Ghanaians only have to look next door to Ivory Coast to see how relative peace and stability can evaporate.

A recent poll shows Ghanaians are more optimistic than most Africans about their future prospects. Twenty years ago that would have seemed laughable.

Jeff Koinange, CNN, Accra, Ghana.


MAKGABO: Well, Jerry Rawlings, the man who brought multi-party democracy to Ghana remains a controversial figure.

Earlier this week he spoke with Jeff Koinange, reflecting on Ghana's past and the future of its democracy.


KOINANGE (voice over): He was only 31-years-old when he seized power in what he calls, "A People's Coup" in 1979. Air Force Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, the man simply known as J.J., went on to install himself as president and would rule Ghana for the next decade as a radical firebrand.

The former ace helicopter pilot is now 57-years-old. He says these days he misses sitting in the cockpit more than he misses sitting in the driver seat of power. On any given day Rawlings can be seen driving himself around town. Nobody guards. No escorts. He even stops at traffic lights. And when he takes a walk about, it's clear that the former military dictator-turned-president can still pull a crowd.

Rawlings knows he's in a unique position when it comes to former African dictators. Many live in exile, banished from returning to their countries. He gives credit for this to the masses.

(on camera): You're obviously very popular with the people.

JERRY RAWLINGS, FORMER PRESIDENT, GHANA: I think so. I did the right thing all along and that is what provides my safety; not the constitution. Not your Western powers, yes. Not this government.

KOINANGE (voice over): This government he's talking about is the one that replaced him. It's led by this man, John Kufor who was recently re- elected to a second and final four-year term.

RAWLINGS: Ghana has matured as a nation. However, the drawback is the leadership, the government.

KOINANGE: There is no love lost between Rawlings and Kufor. Rawlings says Kufor wants him to stand trial for crimes he is supposed to have committed during his days as military head of state. Chief among them, the execution by firing squad of eight of the country's former army generals on charges of corruption. Rawlings insists he did what he had to do to bring about peace and stability. Kufor says justice has to be done no matter how long it takes.

Far from the maddening crowds though, Rawlings talks freely about the past, a past that's come back to haunt him a quarter of a century later.

(on camera): Nineteen seventy-nine...

RAWLINGS: Yes, sir.

KOINANGE: .. you are so disillusioned with what's going on in this country, you staged that first coup.


KOINANGE: You give up power two years later, you staged another coup.


KOINANGE: And then you are there for the next 18, 19 years or so. Any regrets? Looking back now, any regrets on what happened 25, 26 years ago?

RAWLINGS: Absolutely not, because we couldn't have done -- and I don't know if anyone could have done better than we did under those circumstances.

I don't have any regrets because by our intervention, and the sacrifice that we made, the massive call for blood and the sacrifice of our generals, as painful as it was, I know that's what saved the nation.

KOINANGE: If Kwame Nkrumah was alive today, would he be disappointed in today's Ghana? How would he view this country today?

RAWLINGS: Quite frankly, I think Nkrumah -- I think Nkrumah might congratulate us. Yes, not because we recognized finally and set up that beautiful monument. No. No. No. No. I think when he looks at his policies and looks at our policies, our sense of nationalism, accountability to the people, the people coming first to give the right leadership, I think he would give us credit for making a little more progress than where he did.

KOINANGE (voice over): Africa watchers describe Rawlings as an exception to the rule in African politics. A strong-arm dictator who changed course midstream and quickly adapted to the winds of democratic change sweeping across the continent.

Many in Ghana still don't know quite where to place him. But love or hate him, Rawlings will forever evoke strong emotions across the board as a hero or as a villain, depending of course on who you ask.

Jeff Koinange, CNN, Accra, Ghana.


MAKGABO: And coming up after the break, South Africa's former ruling party searches for a new identity.

Don't miss that, in a moment.


MAKGABO: Hello again. You're watching INSIDE AFRICA.

South Africa's National Party was once the guardian of the racist apartheid policy in that country. Today some members are searching for a role in the new democratic society. They found a home in the ruling African National Congress, perhaps one of the signs of how much has changed.

Mike Hanna has the story.


MIKE HANNA: CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For decades, South Africa's National Party was all-powerful. For more than 40 years it held sway in a whites only parliament. A succession of leaders attempting to cement the party's power forever, to preserve and protect a white minority against an increasingly vocal and organized black majority.

When FW De Klerk came to power he appeared no different than his predecessors. But a change was taking place in the party; a growing recognition that white survival depended on sharing power rather than wielding it. And FW De Klerk set out on a course of change.

FW DE KLERK, FORMER PRESIDENT, SOUTH AFRICA: A new democratic dispensation is foreseen with full political rights for all South Africans.

HANNA: But despite De Klerk's best efforts, few among the black majority were prepared to support a national party that had a president for so many years. And in South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994, the National Party came a distant second to Nelson Mandela's ANC.

Maarthinus Van Schazkwyn was at the time the National Party's media officer.

MAARTHINUS VAN SCHAZKWYN, ENVIRONMENT & TOURISM MINISTER: And in '94 I believe the expectations were that South Africa will have a government of national unity for decades to come. The National Party basically representing the white and other minority communities, and the ANC representing the black or the African majority. But it didn't turn out that way.

HANNA: By 1999, Van Schazkwyn had replaced De Klerk as the leader of what was now called the New National Party. But the changes in leader and name did not prevent another massive defeat at the polls. And Van Schazkwyn began to wonder whether it would not be better to be a part of the government rather than to oppose it.

VAN SCHAZKWYN: If you want to bold a future here where black and white can feel that they have co-ownership of that, then you must make sure that you are a co-bolder of that same.

HANNA: In the 2004 elections the choice of the South African voter was made abundantly clear. The ANC won by a landslide, the New National Party routed. Last month, the final rites as the remnants of the party met and decided to disband. The last leader joined the ruling ANC and accepted a seat in cabinet.

VAN SCHAZKWYN: The reality now is that the ANC has basically occupied the center, they're not challenged by any body, they're a pretty moderate party. I believe in any terms, it's the only vehicle to bold non-racialism in this country.

HANNA: Along the walls of South Africa's parliament, photographs depicting the country's tumultuous history, a violent past in which the National Party played a leading part.

But amidst the images too, promises of a future in which the party will play no role at all.

(on camera): The hope that with the National Party's final demise, its ghost will no longer haunt this building. The ground cleared perhaps on which true democracy can flourish.

Mike Hanna, CNN, Cape Town.


MAKGABO: Finally, Mozambique is a country still emerging from years of a devastating civil war. The once ruling Marxist party has transformed itself, and in the process changed the nation. Today the country is experimenting with a young democracy.

Paul Tilsley is in Maputo.


PAUL TILSLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a curious sight, the Mozambican military for so long used to try to enforce the ideals of a one party Marxist state in a cruel civil war, now marching to a totally different tune in support of democracy at the recent inauguration of the country's new president, Armando Emilio Guebuza.

The president himself is a revolutionary who turned into one of the country's top businessmen. Some in his party, Frelimo, are said to have found it hard to shake off their Marxist overcoats and embrace a multi- party democracy.

ARMANDO EMILIO GUEBUZA, PRESIDENT, MOZAMBIQUE: At the beginning people were, let's say, a little bit hostile to private initiatives in terms of the economy; even in terms of government. But people come to understand the need of the centralization, and the need of encouraging more and more private investments and private initiatives.

TILSLEY: Mozambican business leadership are crying out for these needs to be met.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do hope that the new government will come in and help us to get forward and try and promote foreign investment, to make it more easier for investment to come to Mozambique.

TILSLEY: Increased foreign investment is seen by Guebuza as the key to a successful economic future here. More than 40 percent of the nation's budget already comes from foreign investors.

(on camera): African politicians, like Mozambique's President Guebuza, are not bred from parties' political meetings over tea and cake; but rather from the steely stuff revolution and struggle politics. So does that mean that the African brand of democracy is any different from that exhibited on other continents?

GUEBUZA: We in Africa achieved democracy through the process of ourselves becoming free. So we under colonialism we could not have at that moment any democracy at all. But once we got freedom then we had to develop that.

TILSLEY: Renamo, the main opposition party allegedly boycotted the inauguration, claiming the recent election was not free and fair. But they decided to take up their seats in parliament to carry on the fight from within.

ALFONSO DHLAKAMA, RENAMO CHAIRMAN: Well, we must continue to fighting for democracy. Why do we accept to go to power through democracy? We must to show wealth. We must ask supporting from anywhere for us to continue to fighting specifical (ph) for democracy. Because we feel that we have big support from people in Mozambique.

TILSLEY: There is an almost deafening sighing of relief amongst international leaders that despite their bickering, the two parties continue to vote for democracy and not a return to arms.

GEORGE SAMPAIO, PRESIDENT, PORTUGAL: I was at here at the negotiations for independence 30 years ago. So I'm a long old timer of all this. And I would not have imagined that we will get here today. It's a good sign for Africa. It's a good sign for Mozambique.

TILSLEY: It may be one of the youngest democracies in Africa, but already Mozambique's brand of it looks one of the most promising.

Paul Tilsley, INSIDE AFRICA, Maputo, Mozambique.


MAKGABO: And I'm Tumi Makgabo, thanks for watching.