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How should African governments respond to what's happening in Egypt?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 11:52 UK time, Wednesday, 2 February 2011

As protesters maintain their pressure on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to quit immediately, several world leaders have spoken out and commented on what's happening.

US President Barack Obama said an orderly transition "must begin now", while Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Mr Mubarak should take a "different step".

Interestingly, no African leader has spoken out despite the fact that this is happening to one of the most significant countries on the continent.

Do you think your head of state should be more vocal on what's happening in Egypt?  If so, what would you like them to say? How should African governments respond to the events in Egypt?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 2 February at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    It is difficult for African governments in sub-saharan Africa and the rest of the AU (which includes Egypt and Tunisia) to make remarks, but they shouldn't be able to sit there and not make any comments. It is clear that many African leaders would not support a peoples revolution because many are not legitimate leaders themselves, but the media needs to put pressure on African leaders, particularly the AU to make a statement. Egypt is in Africa and we can not pretend North Africa is not a part of Africa when its suitable. The events in Egypt are part of a colonial legacy and an African legacy...from "Cape to Cairo". They will have an economic impact,the rand is already shakey. Already we are seeing protests in Gabon and Sudan...It is a sign to people that dictators can be toppled, and it has exposed that the West (US in particular) that when push comes to shove, there interests lie in their own security and not the true ideals of democracy.

    [Personal details removed by Moderator][Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 2.

    Many leaders can't comment because their backyard is obviously not transparent.
    This north African revolt is making many african leaders busy...
    Busy thinking on what will happen when people in their countries take to the street.

  • Comment number 3.

    I wonder what my "Head of State" (please refer to the Kreigler Commission report on Kenya's elections 2007)would have to say! The pot calling the kettle black????

    For many African Heads of State, their comfort is being pricked and their failure to act sensibly in the Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe and Kenya among many others is haunting them. Never mind the A.U. Heads of State circus came to an end....there was nothing tangible to at least hide behind regarding Egypt/ Tunisia or to have the rare honor among thieves!

    The cruel truth is that, many African Heads of State have to contend with the fact that citizens across Africa wish this(Egypt/ Tunisia) IS THE MEXICAN WAVE coming their way and that surely ALL those who have perverted the electoral process and are in office way past their shelf life will be swept away. But hey...you don't talk about me...and I will also turn a blind eye when its your turn. WHERE IS OUR VOICE BOTSWANA?

  • Comment number 4.

    Its regretable that our leaders especially in sub saharan africa have remained mute. This is a clear indication of their being birds of like feather along with Mubarak. Its not new to my president Mr. Biya.

  • Comment number 5.

    The question is who shall be the next.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Well I don't think the Ghana President has something to say. His voice is not really recognized even in Ghana let alone the whole continent.

    I can predict what he will say if he is pushed to the wall... "dze wo fie asem"... literally meaning "concentrate on what is happening in your home".

    The Arab States should step in in resolving this Egypt problem.

  • Comment number 9.

    We in zimbabwe we have repeatedly commented about puppets government and agencies of America for regime changes.The presidential spokesman issued a statement condemning the government of mubarak.The root cause of all this is American government that only want to see only their regime changes being effected.I absolutely believe that they have been caught unaware and mubarak is the pawn now.America want him and on the other hand,the egyptian people are sick and tired of him.Most African governments have nothing much to say as they are also the darling of the west.When the wind of change is blowing,no ammount of windbreak can stop it.The corridors of power are drifting away from those who have suprased people for years in the name of democracy.The American government's child,the UN who gave birth to the American grandson Israel prepare for enough shields.Its right on your nose and its coming

  • Comment number 10.

    The BBC must be having a laugh - as their home audience might say. What does an African ruler have to say about kleptocratic misrule elsewhere ("elsewhere" because I've never accepted that the very Arab countries of the Maghreb are remotely African)? That there should be an "immediate and orderly transition," for example? At least Ben Ali and Mubarak were able to provide their peoples with basic infrastructure, including healthcare, electricity, pipeborne water, etc., if not political freedoms

  • Comment number 11.

    In most African countries ruled by dictators, we hear that they are restricting media and internet to and from the countries. Incoming and outgoing phone calls are becoming scratchy and unreliable, because they have maximized monitoring/listening all calls. In some parts of Africa they have started detaining anyone caught listening to VOA, Deutche Welle,BBC..etc. Yes, they are getting the drift, but once the full storm starts to hit them hard, they may not be able to stand their grounds for too long. Eventually it is coming, therefore, African rulers prepare to hand the power to its rightful owner, i.e. the people. Once the Egyptian government crumble beyond recognition, in which its government has been playing the role of East Germany in the old eastern block, the rest of African monstrous governments are to follow to the graveyards of Honecker, Mobutu, Jaruzelski, Hitler Mussolini, Tojo...etc. Thanks

  • Comment number 12.

    I don't think African leaders can have a say either for or against the unrest taking place in Egypt and Tunisia because of a number of reasons.About 80% of African presidents are liars,dictators or got to power by frudulent means and each time spend fabulous sums of money to buy the judiciary,army and parliament to continously support them or manipulate constitutions for them and their children to remain in power.I ask myself if those who ruled before them had clinched on power,would they have become presidents?African presidents always have a say as the West only when they are asking loans,aides,cancellation of debts.I suggest no financial aide be given any African country Again and since they claim African problems have to be solved by Africa relating to Ivory Coast.why can't they turn only to Africa for aides?I blame US,West and UN for always receiving dictators and congratulting them.Not even in the US or Europe can the best president have above 80% in a pure election but in Africa,we have 98%,so donot only criticise Mubarak but also all other African presidents over 17 yrs in power.Donot complain only when there is an uprising.Why not ask yourselves why do we have many Africans applying for assylum and why only from particular countries?Make your inquiries; warn them too so that you can safe money you spend in conflict resolutions and peacekeeping to solve world recession and umemplyment in your own countries.Infact establish a black list like our courageous US president George W. Bush used to do and you shall see the change else no thief shall support the other do be condemned for he always say we are brothers given that they share common themes.US and West,no aide to African countries where presidents are more than 17yrs in power.Anywhere the river must flow from North to the South(Cape) crunching all west and east of its banks.Swiss bank should learn to open bank accounts to dictators too or the manager shall one day be brought to justice.Why freeze one's money when you know it is not good money why did you accept it? You are accomplice

  • Comment number 13.

    How should African governments respond to what's happening . . . that's pretty easy to answer. Most of us know what they should do. Well, they won't pay attention to those "should" ideas of yours. They are birds of a feather. They steal/kill/persecute together; when a fellow "great leader" is doing his thing, they sit quietly and watch. If they did something, they would be pot-calling the kettle black, wouldn't they? In case anyone has forgotten, in most parts of Africa, leaders don't lose office. It is a personal investment where anything is done [including but not limited to killing] to stay in power. Is it any wonder that African Union recently backed Kenya's government on saving violence suspects from being tried by the International Criminal Court? What does that tell you about African "leaders"? If you are sitting there waiting for justice from Africa, bless your soul. Sit tight. Good luck.

    May it be noted that Africa has never been slow or backward; its leaders are and will be for a very, very long time (because they never lose elections).

  • Comment number 14.

    Of course they aren't going to say anything! The vast majority of African leaders are in the exact same position as Mubarack - they rig elections, and use the state apparatus to crush opposition.

    You won't hear a cheep from them, lest it encourage the people of their own countries to act like the Egyptian demonstrators. At best, you might get the odd comment about how protests lead to violence (and no doubt a reference to 'terrorists' thrown in a the same time), but you can bet that'll be it.

  • Comment number 15.

    If the respective country is led by a dictator, any aid provided by the United States should stop. Other leaders should find a way, one way, which is the right way; where there is no way to get rid the dictator, away from power. Such ways would claim the right of way of having no way of entertaining dictatorships and stop hearing what their eyes wants to see in their minds.

  • Comment number 16.

    All African countries should make a pledge at the African Union to stop dictatorships and hold free and fair elections within the next six months. Any dictator who fails to comply should lose membership to the African Union. No sir I am not talking of the Colonel alone but those who think a country is their household.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    listen very carefull Husni Mubarak is wellcom to Somalia & he can rule for another 30 years if he wants that is what somalia needs wright now A dictator like Mr Mubarak, that is how mess thinks are in Somalia, i allso blive some countrys cant & will not adopt a western stile democatic sestym, like Somalia..

  • Comment number 21.

    They should respond by fixing not just the economy but the livelihood of the people, fix the hospitals, schools, roads, corruption, carry out free and fair elections, stop selling the people's infrastructure, and tell their corporate masters and sponsors its about time the locals benefitted from their natural resources, tell the international community to seek a solution that does not sacrifice Africa for their interests in the Middle-East, and a few should say, "Mu-Barry homeboy, I'm steppin down right now before I loses my face like you done did... I mean, I aint got no face left, but at least I can save my hide..."

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    What is happening in Egypt is not strange to Africa, especially West Africa. We have had our share of revolutions and counter revolutions. Moreover, Egypt is part of Africa so in the cause of the people, the struggle continues.

  • Comment number 24.

    In countries where Ministers of Education sent their kids to schools abroad, where Ministers of Health go abroad for medical attention, what do you expect them to say to what is going on in Tunisia/Egypt?

  • Comment number 25.

    A couple of thousands people demonstrate out of a population of 80 millions in Egypt and all of a sudden the Western leaders realise that Hosni Mubarak is a dictator, he must go. How hypocrite.

    In Ivory Coast, the north is the hands of rebels supporting Ouattara who its alledged[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] helped Ouattara to cheat, that is OK for the West. Gbagbo who maintained the state of Ivory Coast to have a least elections, he is a dictator. The curse of Africa is constant interference of Western leaders who give themselves for some reasons the right to comment on anything Africa. JUST BACK OFF! You are suffocating us.

  • Comment number 26.

    the governments whose presidents have been in power for almost as long as the egyptian president wouldn't dare to comment. i'm mean countries like cameroon, zimbabwe, equatoria guinea, lybia, etc.
    rather i think they are scared the same could happen to them. it's best for them to start packing their bags.
    the egyptian issue is a big message to them.

  • Comment number 27.

    More than ever, this is a time that Africa needs to show solidarity and condemn all the violence, the intolerance and the dictorial leadership of Mr. Mubarak. Africa has never been known to be committed to democrancy, thus, this is a time for all in Africa to stand up and show the world that we are in support of democrancy and against all politics of old.

    African governments should echo their voices with one aim of propelling democrancy and condeming violence and tyrancy. Failure to do so will show how selfish our african leaders are and how they are willing to cling to power no matter how many people die because of their poor governance. It will also mean that their hands are full of blood from the people who have died in Egypt for failing to speak out against their fellow dictorial comrade Mr. Mubarak.

  • Comment number 28.

    How should African governments respond to what's happening in Egypt?
    The same way Egyptians have responded to other African countries.

  • Comment number 29.

    Those governments that have not yet been affected should start effecting democratic changes that ensures freedom of every rights as entailed in their constitutions. If these rights and freedom are not spelt out in their constitutions, they should carry out an immediate constitutional amendments to include them. The African Union (AU)must come up with a constitution that is acceptable accross the continent and implimented by individual states so that Africa would have a uniform democratic practices. However, the adoption of the contitution is one, but respecting its priciples is another issue that would emerge as elected African leaders would not be afraid to abuse the constitution. A case in point is Laurent Gbagbo. Some African leaders such as Yowerie Museveni, Robert Mugabe, Ngueso, and others must be bolted from power by popular uprising unless they impliment democratic changes now. The International community must help the continent's people by indicting those top Military officials and police officers that these corrupt politicians use to kill their people.

  • Comment number 30.

    It's about time African leaders realise they are no-longer invisible, that nobody takes material wealth to after life (heaven or hell)whichever they merit at the end of their stewardship.
    African leaders should stop placing themselves above their respective country's constitutions, focus on the job at hand and stop dying reacher than the country they are elected to rule.
    As a saying goes 'Be nice to people you meet on your way up as you may need them on your way down' at his last speech the other day, President Mubarak suddenly realised that Egyptians are his people after 30 year whilst blaming others for his misgivings.
    My advise for fellow African is to emulate the Egyptians and show these enemies of progress parading themselve as our leaders that we are no-longer the docile people we once are.


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