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Nobel Laureate Warns African Dictators of Possible 'African Spring'

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Celebrated Nigerian playwright and poet, Wole Soyinka says such leaders as Mr. Mugabe and Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal should relinquish power, arguing they are beyond their prime

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and other long-serving African leaders face the risk of popular uprisings similar to the so-called Arab Spring that rattled the Middle East last year and ousted a number of tyrants, a Nobel Laureate has warned.

Celebrated Nigerian playwright and poet, Wole Soyinka says such leaders as Mr. Mugabe and Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal should relinquish power, arguing they are beyond their prime.

The 1986 Literature Nobel Price winner predicts an “African Spring” that he says will see the toppling of a number of African strongmen by angry citizens.

“Those who refuse to bow to popular will, who continue to treat their own people as inferior to themselves or their petty clans, I’m afraid will confront the same nature of violence as we witnessed in the Arab World,” Soyinka was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Mr. Mugabe and his military commanders have warned that any uprising in Zimbabwe will be quelled by the army. Youth Ministry adviser Psychology Maziwisa told VOA he disagrees with Soyinka’s analogy.

"President Mugabe is very safe," Maziwisa argued. "His party has policies that appeal to the generality of the people of Zimbabwe, policies that they can identify with. ZANU-PF has come up with very noble policies; take the indigenization policy for example."

Political analyst Nkululeko Sibanda, lecturer of Global and African Politics at the London-based University of Huddersfield argued the circumstances between the Arab World and Africa are vastly different.

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