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Vol 38 No 16

Published 1st August 1997


Saba saba

The campaign to demand constitutional reform has turned into a full-frontal assault on an increasingly desperate President Moi

This is a bad year for authoritarian governments. The dean of despots, Mobutu Sese Seko, was chased out in May, Sudan's Hassan el Turabi faces coordinated military opposition from north and south, Presidents Pascal Lissouba and Ange-Félix Patassé are grimly holding on against armed uprisings, and even Nigeria's coup veteran General Sani Abacha has to think twice about plans to win his own presidential election next year. The anti-authoritarian mood is taking hold: demonstrations, strident press criticism of corruption, denunciations of mismanagement and perhaps most significantly, the public ridicule of authoritarian leaders. All this is a delicate subject at State House in Nairobi, where President Daniel arap Moi has been incensed by watching footage of jubilating students marching a few miles away chanting 'Moi-butu, Moi-butu out!'

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