Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

2011 was a bad year for dictators

By Everson Mushava

HARARE – The year 2011 has proved to be a bad year for dictators. Five dictators have left power since the beginning of the year either through death or resignations under pressure as protests against their tyrannical methods of ruling intensified.

Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebels he called 'rats'
Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebels he called 'rats'

Others like former Lybian dictator, Muammar Gaddafi were captured and killed by their own people. One fact remains — they are all gone one way or the other and its victory for democracy. North Korean communist leader Kim Jong-il died on Saturday due to heart attack.

This followed the ouster of Tunisia’s Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in the popular Arab uprising that hit the North African states at the beginning of the year.

Deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-il
Deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-il

Jong-il had been in power since 1994 when he took over from his father as a communist leader. His father had been President of North Korea since 1954 when Korea slit into North and South Korea.

But for North Korea, the woes of autocratic rule is not yet over as the late Jong-il had already named his son as a perfect replacement and is preparing to take over from his father, extending the dynasty that has been running North Korea for more than half a century.

It started with the Arab uprising in Tunisia at the beginning of the year when a vendor set himself alive in protest over police brutality, sparking an uprising that ended Tunisia’s Ben Ali’s 23-year rule in just 29 days.

EGYPT- Protesters clashed with Egypt's security forces in central Cairo on Sunday after the humiliating police beating of a veiled woman in Tahrir Square triggered widespread outrage in the country's pro-democracy movement.
EGYPT- Protesters clashed with Egypt's security forces in central Cairo on Sunday after the humiliating police beating of a veiled woman in Tahrir Square triggered widespread outrage in the country's pro-democracy movement.

From Tunisia, the wave of change swept over Egypt where Mubarak’s 30 year rule was toppled by 18 days of peaceful protests. Mubarak resigned from his post in February and fled Cairo. The departure of the 82-year-old Mubarak, a close ally of the West was pivotal to end the Arab world’s most enduring dictatorships.

The popular protests were peaceful and resilient despite numerous efforts by Mubarak’s security apparatus to try to suppress the uprising.

Some Arab countries tried to simply ignore what happened in Egypt and Tunisia. While there were no official statements from Algeria or Morocco, other Arab states said they respected the wishes of the people in Tunisia and Egypt while trying to deny that they were never like Egypt and Tunisia.

The winds of change headed towards Libya where Gaddafi responded violently, describing protestors as “rats and dogs” and unleashed the military on unarmed civilians, forcing the protests to cascade into a civil war. Gaddafi was captured and killed like a rat in Sirte, his home town.

Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone at the Hotel du Golf in Abidjan after their arrest
Laurent Gbagbo and his wife Simone at the Hotel du Golf in Abidjan after their arrest (Picture: AFP/GETTY)

Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo becomes the first former head of state to appear at the International Criminal Court in The Hague after he was arrested upon capture when he refused to hand over power to presidential rival Alassane Ouattara after losing an election in November 2010, forcing a fierce civil war in the cocoa rich country. Daily News

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