The Fate of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence
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Now Martin Meredith has revised this classic history to incorporate important recent developments, including the Darfur crisis in Sudan, Robert Mugabe’s continued destructive rule in Zimbabwe, controversies over Western aid and exploitation of Africa’s resources, the growing importance and influence of China, and the democratic movement roiling the North African countries of Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan.
from Egypt and the Arab East brought in to assist the government’s programme of Arabisation helped spread Islamist ideas and literature. In the early 1980s Islamist groups set out to reconquer the religious sphere and gain autonomy from the state. Hundreds of unofficial mosques were established where ‘free imams’ spread their message. Thousands of disaffected youths were attracted to the cause. For those excluded or marginalised by ‘modernisation’, Islam provided a firm moral and social
to a mosque. Christian resentment was fuelled in 1986 after Babangida announced that Nigeria would join the Organisation of Islamic Conference as a full member, a move that some Christian leaders interpreted as a step towards establishing an Islamic state. In 1987 a quarrel between Christian and Muslim students in southern Kaduna led to riots in which scores of churches and mosques were destroyed. Riots broke out in Kano in 1991 when a Christian evangelist from Germany attempted to stage a
their cause, accusing the government of wilful neglect. ‘How frustrating and disillusioning it must be to the thousands of ex-combatants in dire straits to observe those with whom they shared the perils of the war of liberation now virtually wallowing in the lap of luxury, while they live in poverty,’ commented the Bulawayo Chronicle. The government promised to set up a special committee to investigate the problem but nothing was done. With few demonstrable benefits to show after ten years of
was a new source of loot: diamonds. When a rich diamond field was discovered in 2006 in the Chiadzwa district of eastern Zimbabwe, it triggered a chaotic rush by thousands of diggers. Geologists estimated the Chiadzwa field to be the largest find of diamonds in the world for a century. Realising that huge profits were to be made there, a cabal of Mugabe’s associates at first set up diamond syndicates but then decided to enforce more direct control. In 2008, in an operation dubbed Hakudzokwi – ‘No
coalition in the hope of gaining better access to federal funds and benefits. The pay-offs came with the appointment of party stalwarts to plum positions as ministers, ambassadors and board members of federal institutions and parastatal organisations; Easterners also gained enhanced entry and promotion in the public service and armed forces. But the NCNC was disgruntled by the outcome of a six-year development plan which concentrated the bulk of federal capital expenditure in the North and by the