By Martin Meredith
An epic biography of postcolonial Africa illuminates its present devastating difficulties. What occurred to this titanic continent, so wealthy in assets and historical past, to convey it so just about destitution and melancholy within the span of 2 generations?
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Extra info for The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence
To a secure place,’ spoke back the key. ‘His Majesty will see. ’ A eco-friendly Volkswagen used to be looking ahead to them within the palace driveway. the motive force, an officer, opened the door and held up front seat in order that Haile Selassie may perhaps get within the again. Huddled within the again seat, he was once pushed in the course of the empty streets of Addis Ababa – the place an evening curfew used to be in strength – and disappeared throughout the gates of Fourth department barracks. Haile Selassie spent the final months of his existence imprisoned in rooms within the Grand Palace. He persevered to wake up at sunrise, attended morning mass and spent a lot time interpreting. In a construction within reach, participants of the Derg met to keep up their grip on strength. What had hitherto been a revolution with no bloodshed grew to become more and more violent. On 23 November the Derg ordered the execution of a few sixty well-liked prisoners, typically excessive officers linked to Haile Selassie’s regime, together with former top ministers and the emperor’s grandson. the main determine at the back of this determination used to be a tender ordnance officer, significant Mengistu Haile Mariam, quickly to turn into notorious. Haile Selassie died a prisoner on 27 August 1975. in accordance with the Derg, the reason for his loss of life was once circulatory failure. in keeping with his fans, he was once smothered with a rainy pillow. His physique was once buried underneath a rest room within the palace, final hidden there for 16 years whereas the revolution raged on. thirteen the arrival OF TYRANTS within the first twenty years of independence, there have been a few 40 profitable coups and numerous tried coups. In 1967 a 27-year-old Ghanaian military lieutenant, Sam Arthur, discovering himself in transitority command of an armoured motor vehicle unit, selected an try and grab energy simply because, he later confessed, he desired to ‘make background’ via changing into the 1st lieutenant effectively to organise a coup. The coup try out was once given the identify ‘Operation Guitar Boy’. Arthur’s armoured vehicle unit drove into Accra yet did not achieve keep an eye on. Many coups have been complete with out violence. a few international locations even validated a practice of peaceable coups. In Dahomey – later renamed Benin – all six coups after independence have been cold. In top Volta (Burkina Faso), the place political job was once restrained to one of these small elite that incoming ministers tended to be with regards to those that had simply been thrown out, politicians took delight within the undeniable fact that not anyone had ever been killed for political purposes. there has been enormous disquiet, as a result, whilst, in the course of the country’s fourth coup in 1982, rival military factions clashed; taking pictures had by no means happened sooner than. no matter what their genuine purposes for seizing energy, coup leaders consistently under pressure the strictly transitority nature of army rule. All they required, they acknowledged, was once adequate time to remedy the morass of corruption, mismanagement, tribalism, nepotism and different diversified malpractices they claimed had triggered them to intrude and repair sincere and effective govt and nationwide integrity. a few makes an attempt have been certainly made to come back to civilian rule. The generals who overthrew Kwame Nkrumah stayed in energy for under 3 years, taking no severe projects except to extend the pay of squaddies, prior to handing again regulate to politicians.