Africa: In Defiance of Democracy

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Africa: In Defiance of Democracy (56:00)
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Throughout Africa, democracy has long been touted as the cure for the continent’s ongoing unrest. But can such a form of government flourish in countries where extreme poverty is the norm and violence is the chief tool of statecraft? Spanning the continent from Libya to South Africa, this program seeks to understand Africa’s complex political situations, addressing the "Big Man" syndrome and the one-party state, the destabilizing effects of armed conflict, the mismanagement of industry and natural resources, and strained relations with the industrialized world. (56 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (16)

1. African Politics (01:44)
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The vast continent is divided into states often ruled by winner-take-all dictators. The authoritarian big man controls resources and is often put above the country's constitution.

2. Formula for Success (03:04)

Mandela and his successor Mbeki avoid the "Big Man" syndrome by remaining accessible and open. Citizen's standard of living must be increased with democratic social change.

3. Land Reform (02:04)

Fair distribution of property and land ownership should lead to a larger middle class. Replacing subsistence farming with commercial practices should help Africans.

4. Sudan's Islamic State (04:56)

High oil revenues benefit Muslims. The Islamic State is accused of secrecy, discrimination against Christians and a lack of concern for social welfare.

5. Status Quo in Sudan (01:45)

Oil resources benefit the elite and multinationals. Locals are displaced and disenfranchised. A lack of respect for human rights is a barrier to political reform. Sudan is labeled a terrorist state.

6. Angola's Cycle of Violence (03:08)

In the past, Civil wars were funded by the East-West Cold War. But, are now financed by oil and diamond resources. 30% of children die before age five.

7. Poverty (02:03)

50% of Africans live in poverty. The homeless live in the streets and sewers. Mineral wealth breeds endless political conflict. Angolans must rely on food aid since agriculture is curtailed by landmines.

8. Colonial History of Africa and Libya (06:15)

African wars are a struggle for power and resources. European imperialism did not espouse democratic values. Big man Al-Qadhafi fills the power vacuum left at the end of the Colonial Era.

9. Nigerian Situation (05:35)

Nigeria's huge oil reserves are a source of struggle between the government, Shell Oil and the people. Elections have decentralized power allowing strict Islamic law and ethnic conflict to emerge.

10. The New Colonialism and It's Effects (01:58)

Multinationals along with corrupt governments exploit locals and their resource wealth. Rebel's say the disenfranchisement of people is a result of an economic imperialism.

11. Zimbabwe (04:11)

President Mugabe is accused of corruption and economic mismanagement. Farmland is redistributed. Opponents feel Mugabe's land reform is worse than the British colonialism of the past.

12. Land Reform (00:0-2198)

Nationalist leader, Mugabe has no tolerance for political opposition. Indiscriminate land redistribution is opposed by White's with large land holdings and cheap local labor.

13. Zaire and Uganda (02:59)

Mobutu's 30 years of rule sees him amass a personal fortune while Zaire's people experience anarchy. Uganda's economy and education improves under an autocratic "big man".

14. Rwandan Genocide (03:10)

1994's genocide between Hutus and Tutsis displays the failure of traditional institutions to adapt to modern times.

15. Uneven Progress (04:22)

Legitimate rule and "tools for arms" exchanges attract both foriegn aid and investment in Ghana, Mozambique, Egypt and South Africa. Lawlessness and drugs still threaten stability elsewhere.

16. Continent Still in Flux (03:35)

The "bloody big man era" concludes but democracy and peace are still elusive. Economic diversification and social change are necessary to sustain a better standard of living.

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