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« July 2006 | Main

August 13, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #54+ of 54+: Zimbabwe

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Zimbabwe

Formal Name: Republic of Zimbabwe.

Term for Citizens: Zimbabweans.

Capital: Harare. Population: 1, 868, 000.

Independence: Achieved: April 1980.

Major Cities: Harare, Bulawayo.


Zimbabwe is in South Africa. It is bordered by Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, and Mozambique. Zimbabwe encompasses 150, 804 square miles. Savanna (highveld) runs northeast to Southwest, through the center of the country. The climate is subtropical with warm rainy season (November through March) and dry winter (May through August). Parts of eastern highlands receive more than 1200 millimeters of rain annually; two thirds of the country receives less than 800 millimeters of rain annually.


Zimbabwe’s population is estimated at 12,891, 000.

Ethnic Groups: The two main ethnic groups in Zimbabwe are the Shona 75%, and Ndebele16%, and Whites 5%.

Languages: The official language is English, but Shona is widely spoken.

Religion: Christians 30%, the rest of the population are affiliated with indigenous African religions.

Education: Universal free primary education. There is substantial increase in secondary education but limited university education. Literacy rate is estimated at 90.7%.

Economy: Agriculture plays a dominant role in the economy. White farmers dominate Zimbabwe’s commercial agriculture. Manufacturing is developing rapidly. GDP estimated: $27 billion; Per Capita GDP: $2, 400. Monetary Unit: Zimbabwe Dollar.

History and Government:

The two main African ethnic groups that lived in what was dubbed Rhodesia were the Shonas and Ndebeles. South Africa, under Cecil Rhodes took over the area in 1897. The British took over in 1923. In 1965, the white minority in Rhodesia declared unilateral independence for the country and tried to rule it in apartheid South African style. Africans formed parties and a guerrilla war against the minority, Ian Smith government ensued. In 1980 Africans gained freedom from white rule and Robert Mugabe came to power as the prime minister. A change in the constitution made him president. He is still in office. The president is elected for six-year term of office. He appoints the prime minister from the leading party in parliament. The prime minister runs the government on the day-to-day basis. Parliament is bicameral, House of Assembly and Senate. The country is divided into eight provinces but the provinces lack administrative powers and the government is highly centralized. Since its independence, one party and one president have ruled Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front have ruled the country. Zimbabwe, like South Africa, has a large white settler community. The later own most of the choice agricultural lands. At present Mugabe is making efforts to expropriate some of that land from White persons and give them to African farmers. This has led to high tension in the country and to Mugabe employing more and more authoritarian means of governance.


The original people who lived in what is now called Zimbabwe were Khoisans/Bushmen. Bantus migrated to the area during the great Bantu expansion.

In 1888 the British adventurer, Cecil Rhodes, obtained mining rights in what came to be called Southern Rhodesia (after his surname) and thereafter Britain declared the area a protectorate.

Fearing that Britain might give Africans independence, the white settler community under its leader, Ian Smith, declared unilaterally independence in 1965. When all efforts to persuade them to rescind their measures failed, African nationalists went to the bush and the war for intendance started.

Robert Mugabe’s forces and Joshua Nkomo’s forces battled it out with the Rhodesian army. By 1979, it became clear that the guerillas were winning and Ian Smith and his gang brought the British back to rule and negotiate terms of independence for the African majority.

In 1980 Zimbabwe became independent and Robert Mugabe became the prime minister. He quickly got rid of his rival, Joshua Nkomo, and consolidated power in 1982. Mr. Mugabe is still in office in 2006.

Zimbabwe is divided into 8 provinces and two cities with provincial status, and the provinces are further subdivided into 59 districts and 1200 municipalities.

Mugabe finally decided to solve the land issue once and for all. Traditionally, whites had the farms and Africans worked for them. Africans wanted land. Mugabe finally redistributed the land, took it from whites and shared it among Africans, (his cronies). Whites left farming and the agricultural economy collapsed. Now Zimbabwe is a basket case on the verge of starvation.

The mining sector, too, was taken from whites and given to the Chinese, who allegedly gives Mugabe the means to prop himself in office.
Zimbabwe is on the verge of economic collapse unless something is done to change the course of affairs. Clearly, Mugabe was a good freedom fighter but a manager he is not. Zimbabwe needs professional managers to take over from the generation that fought for the country’s independence. The skills necessary for the two vocations are different.

Posted by Administrator at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #54 of 54: Zambia

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Zambia

Formal Name: Republic of Zambia.

Term for Citizens: Zambians.

Capital: Lusaka. Population: 1, 717, 000.

Independence Achieved: October 24, 1964.

Major Cities: Lusaka.


Zambia is located in South Africa. It is bordered by Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo-Kinshasa and Angola. The total land area of Zambia is 290,586 square miles. The country is mainly plateau, flat, undulating, ranging between 900 and 1500. There are some mountains along the border with Tanzania and Malawi. The climate is two seasons, wet and dry. Cool and dry from April to August and rainy from October through March. Lowest rainfall in Southern and low-lying eastern areas, droughts often occur here.


The population is estimated at 10, 812,000. Zambia’s population is over 40 percent urban; this is due primarily to high mining activities.

Ethnic Groups: Over 73 different groups but mainly speaking different dialects of Bemba.

Language: English is the official language. Seven African languages are recognized and the main ones are: Bemba, Nyanja, Lozi, and Tonga.

Religion: Most Zambians are Christians, although some mix it with African religious beliefs.

Education: Universal free primary education. Very few go to secondary school and even fewer to University. Literacy rate is estimated at 80.6%.

Economy: Mining plays a critical role in Zambia’s economy, particularly copper mining. Subsistence agriculture is the means of survival by the rural population. GDP estimated: $8.9 billion; Per Capita: $890. Monetary Unit: Kwacha.

History and Government:

Called Northern Rhodesia, the country was ruled by the South African Company from 1889 to 1924. Then the British took over. Upon gaining independence from Britain in 1964, Zambia initially had a British parliamentary system of government. It has a unicameral national Assembly. However, it moved to presidential system. It has successfully transferred power from one party to another party and from one president, Kaunda, to another. Zambia is divided into nine provinces, and further subdivided into districts and towns.


The original people that lived in the area now called Zambia were Khoisan/Bushmen. The Bantus came along during the great Bantus expansion and absorbed the Bushmen.

In 1888 Cecil Rhodes obtained concession to explore trading in the area now called Zambia and Zimbabwe and thus they came under the British sphere of influence.

Britain ruled Zambia (then called Northern Rhodesia) and gave it independence in 1963. Kenneth Kaunda became the prime minister and the next year when Republican status was attained became the president.

Like other African politicians of his era, Kaunda played the game of single party leadership and was reelected on several occasions. By the 1990s, the movement for multiple party democracies had gathered steam and changes were made to the constitution and MMD candidate for the president, Frederick Chiluba won the 1991 presidential race. He was reelected in 1996 and like his predecessor, tried to toy with the constitution to enable him run for a third term but met vigorous opposition and gave that ambition up. Mr. Mwanawasa was elected the president.

Zambia has a fledgling democracy. It has a presidential system, with a legislature that knows that it is supposed to make laws, and an independent judiciary.

The country is divided into nine provinces and the provinces are further divided into 56 districts.

The economy of Zambia is based on copper mining and agriculture. However, the impact of HIV AIDS appears to be taking its toll on the population and economy, for a healthy labor force is needed to have a healthy economy.

Posted by Administrator at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #53 of 54: Western Sahara

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Western Sahara

Formal Name: Western Sahara.

Formal Name: Western Sahara.

Term for Citizens: Western Saharans.

Capital: El Aaiun.

Independence Achieved: (Ruled by Morocco.)

Major Cities: El Aaiun.


Western Sahara is in Northwest Africa. Western Sahara is currently claimed by Morocco hence its land area is not given independent of that of Morocco. It is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania. The country is mostly sand and rock with little room for agricultural activities. Other than the strip of coastal land where some farming exists, the country is dry most of the year and does not encourage large population.


The population of Western Sahara is 50,000.

Ethnic Groups: Znaga, Tecna, Chorea and Arab are the main ethnic groups.

Languages: Arabic and Spanish.

Religion: Muslim.

Education: Some primary schooling. Literacy rate is estimated at 30%.

Economy: Fishing and drying the fish for sale and herding of camels, sheep and goats.
GDP/Per Capita GDP, See Morocco. Monetary unit, see Morocco.

History and Government:

Berbers lived in this part of Africa and were later joined by the Arabs. Spain claimed the area in 1958 and the residents agitated for independence and when that failed lunched a guerrilla war that led Spain to give up its imperial pretensions. Independence was gained in 1979. Morocco and Mauritania then struggled for ownership of the area, and divided the country into two. Morocco sought to take over the entire country and that led many natives to flee to Algeria where they have sympathetic listeners.


Western Sahara is inhabited by the same type of persons that inhabit Mauritania and Morocco, Arabs and Berbers. These Arabs are said to have migrated to the Maghreb (West of Egypt) in the eight century, from Yemen.

During the period of Portuguese and Spanish explorations of the Coast of West Africa, they made stops in the area. But it was only in the early twentieth century that the Spanish took control of the area.

In 1974, Spain decided to leave Spanish Sahara. Morocco and Mauritania struggled for ownership of the real estate. Morocco took northern part and Mauritania took the Southern part of Western Sahara.

These external powers, of course, did not ask the local population what they wanted. Power talks! The local population desired independence and formed a militia, POLISARIO and went to war. That war is still unsettled although it appears that Morocco won?

Mauritania, apparently, ran out of energy and resources to continue defending the south and withdraw and Morocco promptly took over the South of Western Sahara.

Morocco made vigorous efforts to show that the land belonged to her. The United Nations got involved and a referendum is supposed to be held to determine the wishes of the 200, 000 plus local Arabs. Morocco uses every subterfuge it can muster to postpone this referendum, and it has not been held. In the meantime, Morocco encourages her population to move into the area, hoping that when, eventually, such referendum is held that the people would decide to be with Morocco.

The economy of Western Sahara is based on fishing and was peace to come, the harnessing of such natural resources as phosphate.

Posted by Administrator at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #52 of 54: Uganda

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Uganda

Formal Name: Republic of Uganda.

Term for Citizens: Ugandans

Capital: Kampala. Population: 1, 274, 000.

Date of Independence: October 9, 1962, from Britain.

Major Cities: Entebbe, Kampala.


Uganda is in East Africa. It is bordered by Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, Congo-Kinshasa, and Rwanda. The size of Uganda is 91,135 square miles. The topography is mostly plateau. The highest mountain is Mount Stanley at 5,113 meters. Half of lake Victoria is in Uganda. Uganda’s climate is equatorial; it is divided into two seasons, wet and dry. The South of the country has heavy vegetation and the north is savanna.


The population of Uganda is estimated at 25, 827,000. 10% is urban and 90% rural. The urban population lives around Kampala and Entebbe.

Ethnic Groups:

Uganda is composed of Bantu speakers, Central Sudanic, and Nilotic peoples. English and Swahili are the official languages.


70% of Ugandans identify themselves as Christians. About 20% are Muslims, and the rest indigenous believers.

Education: Literacy rate is estimated at 69.9%.

Elementary education is compulsory. Adult literacy rate is 50%.


Agriculture constitutes over 90% of economic activity. Uganda is severely handicapped by ongoing political strife. GDP estimate: $31 billion; Per Capita GDP: $1, 260. Monetary Unit: Shilling (UGS).

History and Government:

Uganda, like many African countries, is composed of many ethnic groups. The colonial power, Britain, held these restive groups together with a strong arm. Upon independence, the various groups jockeyed for power. This led to political instability and the military intervened and removed the elected prime minister. Tanzania, in turn, intervened and chased out the brutal rule of the military leader, Idi Amin Dada. A civil war ensued. Mr. Museveni’s faction seem to have won over the other combatants and returned some stability to the country, although in the northern part of the country a civil war still rages. A self proclaimed prophetess and what she calls the Lord’s Army is waging a bloody war against the central government. Uganda is divided into 34 districts, 150 counties and 129 municipalities. At present, the national government is divided into three branches, legislative, executive and judicial. The President, Yoweri Museveni appears the strongest of the three branches of government.


The original people of Uganda were the pygmies. The Bantus came to the area during the great Bantu expansion. Uganda is composed of Bantu and Nilotic groups.

There is evidence of some Arab presence before the coming of Europeans. Be that as it may, however, the modern history of Uganda began with the coming of Europeans in the 19th century.

In the 1860s, British explorers, searching for the source of the Nile, explored what is now called Uganda. In their wake came Protestant and Catholic missionaries. These tried to convert the Kabaka, the king of the Bugandans, who was alleged to engage in gross homosexuality, and had to have sex with men who came o his throne for favors, and were massacred.

In 1894, Britain declared Uganda a protectorate and took control from the British East African company, a company that was hitherto chartered to exercise jurisdiction in the area.
In 1962 Uganda was given independence and Milton Obote became the Prime Minister. Soon, Obote did away with the constitution and declared him the president in 1966.

In 1971 Idi Amin led a military coup that disposed Obote. Amin ruled until 1979 when he was chased out of office with the help of Tanzanian troops. Obote briefly returned to power but was chased out of office by General Tito Okello, who, in turn, was chased away by Yoweri Museveni in 1986.

Mr. Museveni is still in power. Of course, he wrote a constitution calling for multi party participation in elections; of course, he harassed his opponents, jailed them or chased them out of the country, and, of course, he won subsequent elections. That is African politics, of course.

Uganda is divided into 70 districts (within four administrative areas).

The Ugandan economy is beginning to harness the substantial natural resources that the country is blessed with (such as copper, cobalt) and, of course, agriculture. After many years of wars, the economy is settling down to exploiting the utilization of resources.

Regardless of how Museveni got to power and keeps himself in power, if he delivers economic kudos, perhaps, he can be excused? We are talking about Africa and whatever little good comes out of it is appreciated.

Posted by Administrator at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #51 of 54: Tunisia

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Tunisia

Formal Name: Republic of Tunisia.

Term for Citizens: Tunisians.

Capital: Tunis. Population: 1, 927, 000

Independence Achieved: March 20, 1956, from France.

Major Cities: Tunis.


Tunisia is in North Africa. It is bordered by Libya, Algeria and the Mediterranean Sea. Tunisia is about 63,170 square miles. It has Mediterranean climate along the coast, with some rain. Mountain ranges (Dorsale Mountain) in the north. Arid and hot south culminating into the Sahara Desert.

Society: Tunisia has an estimated population of 9, 832, 000. 50% of the population is urban.

Ethnic Groups: Arabs and Berbers. Both groups speak Arabic. The educated elements of Tunisia speak French.

Education: Free elementary education. Literacy is estimated at 74.2% of the population.

Economy: Oil, Iron, Phosphates Mining, light Industries, tourism, textiles, footwear. Chief crops: Olives, date, grain, citrus, tomatoes, sugar beets, almonds, cattle, sheep, chicken. GDP estimate: $63 billion; Per Capita GDP: $6, 500. Monetary Unit: Dinar.

Agriculture plays a large part in the economy; major crops are olives, citrus, potatoes, tomatoes, dates, and fish. Manufacturing is a fast growing sector, especially textile industry.

History and Government:

Tunisia is composed of Arabs and Berbers, with the Arabs in charge. Turkey ruled Tunisia before the French took over in 1881. When the country became independent from France in 1956, it ended the monarchy and established a French type presidential system. Tunisia has a strong president, indeed the president is the government and serves for life. The president appoints a prime minister to run the day-to-day affairs of government. There is a unicameral legislature elected for five years. One party, PSD, dominates this Parliament. The country is divided into 23 administrative provinces, each with a governor. The provinces are further divided into sectors with elected councils.


Tunisia was originally inhabited by Berbers. But it has seen many invaders who left their marks on the population: Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and in the seventh century, Arabs. Arabs came to stay and imposed their religion, Islam and language on the population.

Today most Tunisians are a mix of Arab and Berber and are Muslim and speak Arabic (except pockets of Berber speaking persons scattered in the country).
Like most of Arabia, the Ottoman Turks came calling, too, and ruled the area. The history of modern Tunisia, however, began when the Europeans came along.

In 1878, Britain made a secret deal with France, which permitted France to take over Tunisia while Britain took Cyprus. In 1881 France declared Tunisia a protectorate.

In 1956 France gave Tunisia independence. Habib Bourguiba and his party, RCD ruled for the next twenty five years. In 1987 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali defeated Mr. Bourguiba and became the president; he is still in office.

The president is elected every five years, appoints a prime minister and cabinet, appoints regional governors and essentially rules the country.

Tunisia is divided into 24 governorates, with the central government in Tunis appointing the governors of these local areas.

The economy of Tunisia is largely based on agriculture, mining, and tourism. The manufacturing sector is nascent.

Tunisia is trying to meet the conditions for associating with the European Union. In the meantime, her government is anything but the type of governance found in the EU: democratic. Nevertheless, Tunisia is a stable Arab polity, which means that a strong man is in charge of things.

Posted by Administrator at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #50 of 54: Togo

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
50. TOGO
Flag of Togo

Formal Name: Republic of Togo.

Term for Citizens: Togolese.

Capital: Lome. Population: 735, 000.

Independence Achieved: 1960, from France.

Major Cities: Lome.


Togo is in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Benin, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Togo has an area of 21,825 square miles. It is composed of six natural topographical regions: sandy beaches at the coat, followed by barre-soil Ouatchi plateaus, then higher mono tableland, followed by the Chaine Mountains, then the northern sandstone Oti plateau and finally the northwest granite regions. The climate is tropical with two well-defined seasons, wet and dry. It rains heavily at the coast and tapers off inlands and a semi arid north.


Togo’s population is estimated at 4,909,000.

Ethnic Groups. An estimated 30 ethnic groups live in Togo, the major ones are: Ewe, Kabre, Moba, Kotokoli, Akosso, Bassila, Tchamba, Gurma, Yoruba, Hausa, and Fulani.

Languages: each of the ethnic groups speaks its own language. French is the official language.

Religion: Christian South and Muslin North, interspersed by indigenous beliefs.

Education, free primary education but scantly attended. Literacy rate is estimated at 60.9%.

Economy: Togo is primarily a subsistence economy with a few cash crops exported to France, cocoa, coffee and groundnuts. Mining activities center around phosphates. GDP estimate: $8 billion; Per Capita GDP: $1, 500. Monetary Unit: CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF)

History and Government:

Togo was colonized by Germany in the late 19th century. It was given to France after the defeat of Germany during world-war1, and ruled as a UN trust territory until 1960. Togo inherited the French system of government but a military coup deposed the elected president, President Olympio. The military strong man, Eyadema, has ruled Togo since 1967. When he died in 2005 his son was sworn in as the new president, in contradiction to constitutional specification for succession. Togo is a small island of undemocratic government in Africa.


The history of pre-European contact Togo is murky. The Portuguese came calling and buying slaves in the fifteenth century.

In 1884 Germany colonized Togoland. The Germans turned the territory into plantations for producing coffee and cocoa.

Germany was defeated during the First World War and Togo was divided between France and Britain. In the 1960s, a wind of change was blowing through Africa, calling for the end of European colonialism. The United Nations, the title holder to trust territories, called for there to be a referendum to decide the future of Togoland.

Togolese had a referendum to decide their fate; the West chose to be with Ghana and the East chose independence.

In 1963, Togo had the distinct honor of having the first military coup in independent Africa when President Sylvanus Olympio was toppled by a sergeant, Etienne Eyadema. Eyadema ruled until he died in 2005 and his son, Faure Eyadema, took over.

Initially, there was some sort of opposition to Faure because the constitution had stipulated that upon the death of the president that the speaker of the House would take over and have an election in 60 days to replace him. After much ado about nothing, Eyadema junior resigned and called for an election, which he promptly won.

(With the support of the country’s military, any election could be fixed, if not with 99% voting result, but with 60%; you see, African leaders are not as dumb as they tend to seem; in the past, they used to win by 100%, and that seemed incredulous, so, now they make their winning by only 60%, or something like that, to make it seem credible. Either way, the election is rigged and no one is deceived. Because they are in office illegally there seem nothing illegal when their throats are cut. We are still waiting to hear when Faure’s head is chopped off and another sergeant takes over as the president of Togoland. If you kill to come to power, there certainly is nothing wrong if you are killed by another person desiring power.)

Togo is divided into 5 regions, which are further subdivided into 23 prefectures.

Togo’s economy is largely dependent on the export of cocoa, coffee and cotton and mining of phosphate.

Posted by Administrator at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #49 of 54: Tanzania

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Tanzania

Formal Name: Republic of Tanzania.

Term for Nationals: Tanzanians.

Capital: Dodoma. Population: 180, 000. (Official Capital.)

Independence Achieved: December 9, 1961, from Britain.

Major Cities: Dar-es Salaam (De Factor Capital. Population: 2, 347, 000), and Zanzibar, Population: 362,166.


Tanzania is located in East Africa. Mozambique, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Indian Ocean bound Tanzania. The total land area of Tanzania is 364,900 square miles. The topography of Tanzania varies, with Coastal lowlands of sixteen to sixty kilometers in dept and the mid section composed of the East African plateau. Two branches of the Great Rift Valley border Tanzania in the east and west. Mount Kilimanjaro at 5, 895 meters is the highest point in the country. Most of Tanzania is dry and has sparse rainfall. Temperature tends to range from 50.F to 87.F.


Tanzania is estimated to have a population of 36,977,000. Urban population is about 10 percent. The population centers are Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar town.

Ethnic Groups:

Up to 120 ethnic groups live in Tanzania. The largest ethnic group is Sukuma with about 13 % of the population.

Languages: Each ethnic group speaks its own language but most of the people also speak Swahili. English is the official language.


About 35% of Tanzanians are Christians, the rest of the population is evenly divided between Muslim and indigenous religions adherents.

Education: literacy rate is estimated at 78.2%.


Tanzania is mainly an agricultural economy, with agriculture employing over 90% of the labor force. Under president Julius Nyerere, the economy was planned and socialistic. The economy is gradually being privatized. GDP estimate: $22.5 billion; Per Capita GDP: $630. Monetary Unit: Shilling (TZS).

History and Government:

Tanzania is composed of two former independent states, Tangayika and Zanzibar. The country is divided into twenty-five regions, twenty on the mainland and five on the island of Zanzibar. Each of these administrative divisions has its own governments. At the national level are a president, legislature and independent judiciary. The president tends to be the most powerful of the three branches of government.


Germany colonized Tanganyika in the 1880s. Germany was defeated during the First World War and Tanganyika was given to Brittan as a mandated territory by the League of Nations. At the end of the Second World War, the United Nations continued that mandate, now called trust territory.

Britain gave Tanganyika independence in 1961. In 1964 Tanganyika united with Zanzibar and changed its name to Tanzania.

Julius Nyerere was elected the country’s first president and he tried to practice what he called African socialism and sent the economy south. Nyerere was easily the best intentioned man on earth but nations are not ruled with good intentions only, but with economic and political realism.

Through it all, the country has managed to keep some form of democracy going. There is a president, a legislature and an independent judiciary. It seems that elections aren’t as rigged, as elsewhere in Africa. Nyerere quit when he had his fill of Ujama and was replaced by his vice president, the former president of Zanzibar. The later has held elections and handed power to a new president.

Tanzania is divided into 26 regions, 21 on the mainland and 5 on the Islands; and further subdivided divided into ninety nine local government areas with their councils.

The Tanzanian economy is still recovering from the shambles that Nyerere’s Ujama socialism produced. The country is now beginning to utilize the market economy to explore her natural resources and attract tourists, build good hotels and roads that tourist would like, and explore its natural gas, and reported gold. Of course, Tanzania needs to develop her agriculture, from subsistence to mechanized, for it is obvious that subsistence farming, primitive farming cannot produce the kind of food needed by a burgeoning population, especially in the urban areas.

Posted by Administrator at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #48 of 54: Swaziland

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Swaziland

Formal Name: Kingdom of Swaziland.

Term for Nationals: Swazi.

Capital: Mbabane. Population: 80,000.

Independence Achieved: September 6, 1968, from Britain.

Major Cities: Mbabane.


Swaziland is in South Africa. Swaziland encompasses a land area of 6704 square miles. It is bordered by Mozambique in the north and in three sides by South Africa. Swaziland is a small country, barely 100 miles long in any direction. The soil in the middle section of the country is good for farming and most of the people live here. The climate is subtropical with two defined seasons, wet and dry.


The population of Swaziland is estimated at 1, 077,000.

Ethnic Groups: Swazi.

Languages: SiSwazi. English is the official language.

Religion: Christianity and indigenous beliefs.

Education: Primary education is available to all. Literacy estimated at 81.6%.

Economy: Many Swazi’s live in the fertile middle section of the country and practice farming. Herding of cattle, sheep and goat is done in the semi arid regions. Forestry is also practiced. Mining of iron, coal and gold and diamonds provide activity for the non-agricultural sector of the economy. GDP estimate: 4.8 billion; Per Capita: $4, 400. Monetary Unit: Lilangeni (SZL)

History and Government:

The king of Swaziland traces his rule to over 400 years. The king appoints a prime minister who governs on day-to-day level. The Swazi kingdom was powerful in the 19th century and controlled a rather large swat of territory than it does today. The Zulu then descended on the Swazis and wrecked havoc before the British finally subdued them. The expanding Boers exerted pressure on the Swazis and expropriated a large portion of their lands and included it into the province of Transvaal. After the British Boer war, Swaziland was made a British protectorate in 1902. In 1964 it regained its independence and is ruled by its king via his prime minister. The country is divided into 4 districts.


The original people living in what is now called Swaziland were the Khoisan. Bantus swept into the area during the Bantu migration from West Africa. The Country is now primarily made up of Swazi, a Bantu group.

Britain took control of Swaziland after the second Boer war in 1902. In 1968 Britain gave Swaziland independence.
Swaziland is a constitutional monarchy. The King rules and does so through a legislature and prime minister and his council of ministers. The King can sack the parliament, the prime minister and his ministers, as he once did (1968-1973).

The country is divided into four districts

The economy is based on subsistence farming. Swazi essentially go to South Africa to find meaningful work. What money there is in the country is spent maintaining the king, his harem and their expensive luxury cars and palaces, while the rest of the country live in abject poverty. Swaziland has the lowest income per capita in Africa.

Posted by Administrator at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #47 of 54: Sudan

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Sudan

Formal Name: Republic of Sudan.

Term for Citizens: Sudanese.

Capital: Khartoum. Population: 2,853,000.

Date of Independence: January 1, 1956, from Britain.

Major Cities: Khartoum, Omdurman.


Sudan is in Central Africa. Sudan is the largest country in Africa with a total area of 967, 498 square miles. Sudan is bordered by Ethiopia, Egypt, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad and Libya. The country is predominantly plateau and plains, with mountainous areas around the red sea coast, in the far south and far west. River Nile cuts through the country. Rainfall is rare in the North and very frequent in the south. Drought is very common in the central and northern sections of Sudan.


The population is estimated at 33, 610,000. About 25% of the population is urban, concentrated around the capital area: Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North.

Ethnic Groups: It is estimated that over 400 ethnic groups live in Sudan, the major ones are: Africans who call themselves Arabs, though they look as black as other Africans 40%, Nubians in the North, Beja in the Northeast, Fur in the West, Dinka 10%, Nuer, and several Nilotic and other ethnic groups.

Languages: Arabic, Bedawiye by the Beja, and various dialects of Niger-Kurdufanian and Nilo Saharan languages.

Religion: 50% Muslim, primarily in the North; 50% Christian, and African indigenous beliefs in the South of Sudan.

Education: Six-year primary education, not free, rare. Estimated adult literacy rate is 61.1%.

Economy: Mixed economy, government dominated. Subsistence agriculture. Livestock, fisheries are the features of the economy. Oil production is increasingly becoming an important sector of the economy. GDP estimated: $52.9 billion; Per Capita GDP: $1,420. Monetary Unit: Dinar (SDD)

History and Government:

Sudan is where the Arab world and the African world meet. Some Africans, who call themselves Arabs, even if they are blacker than blacks in Ghana, dominate the government. The “Arabs” and Africans have been at war for the control of South Sudan since the 1950s. At present, the two are at war in West Sudan, Darfur province. The military and variations thereof rule the country. Perpetual war between the arabised Africans and others. The country is divided into nine states and the later subdivided into provinces, then districts and local government areas. The South of Sudan has waged a war with the North for several decades, and recently reached a power sharing arrangement with the North. The West, Darfur erupted in ethnic cleansing with the arabised Africans killing non-arabised Africans. Sudan’s political future has not been worked out yet and more violence may breakout at any time. Arranging the polity so that all members of the ethnic groups participate in their governance has not been achieved.


Sudan is where black Africa meets the Arab world. In the ancient world, Sudan, called Nubia, was where the Semitic civilization of Egypt met the African world of Nubia.

Arabs conquered northern Sudan and Africans live in Southern Sudan. The Africans of Southern Sudan are not the Bantus Africans found in the rest of Sub Saharan Africa but Nilotic Africans.

In 1820 Sudan was acquired by Egypt. When Britain became involved in the affairs of Egypt and under the pretext that Egypt was unable to pay her debts seized Egypt, it inherited Sudan.

In 1898 the local Sudanese freedom fighters that fought under the banner of religion and called themselves Madhist were overwhelmed by the superior fire power of Britain and Sudan was finally colonized for Queen and England.

It was clear to the British overlords that the north and south of Sudan were two different countries and Britain managed to run the two regions as if they were different countries. Christian missionaries, for example, were permitted in the South but not in the Muslim north.

In 1956 Britain gave Sudan independence. Immediately the North- South issues came to the fore. The South did not want to be ruled by Muslim north, who had the majority of the people of Sudan. A war ensued. For ten years the North fought the South. Some peace was found, and then it was back to more war.

The North South wars finally concluded (?) in 2005 when the North agreed to give the South semi autonomy. But, then, the leader of the South, John Garang, mysteriously died in a plane accident?

The peace treaty called for a referendum in six years to determine whether the South would separate from Sudan or permanently stay as part of Sudan.

In the meantime, the Arab north, actually Arabicized Africans for some of them look as black as the darkest Dinka, turned their attention to Darfur province.

In 2003 the Arab Janjaweed militia started raiding Darfur villages, chasing the people off their farms and taking the lands over, as they used to do in the South. Refugees poured into Chad, the neighboring country, and Darfur Africans formed their own militia and another war is on. Sudanese troops often chase these freedom fighters into Chad and the later declared a state of war with Sudan.

As if that was not, in Eastern Sudan, by the border with Eretria, Arabs began doing the same thing to the African population, chasing them off their lands, and another war is brewing in Eastern Sudan.

It seems that Sudan would know no peace until the Africans who call themselves Arabs learn to live in harmony with those Africans who do not call themselves Arabs.

Sudan is divided into 26 states and further subdivided into 133 districts.

Oil was recently found in southern Sudan. This complicated matter(s) for the north, apparently, would not like to let go of money from that oil. The current peace treaty specified how revenue from oil would be shared between the north and south.
The problem of Sudan is how to get two cultures, Arabic and African, to coexist? Needless to say that the answer has not been found?

Posted by Administrator at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #46 of 54: South Africa

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of South Africa

Formal Name: Republic of South Africa.

Term for Nationals: South Africans.

Administrative Capital: Pretoria. Population: 1,590,000.

Legislative Capital: Cape Town. Population: 2,993,000.

Judicial Capital: Bloemfontein. Population: 364,000.

Independence Achieved: May 31, 1910, from Britain.

Major Cities: Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.


South Africa is located in South Africa. Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans bound it. South Africa occupies 471, 010 square miles. It has nearly 3000 kilometers of coastline. The average elevation is 1200 meters. Drakensberg Mountain is the highest point in South Africa at 3, 300 meters. Climate is variable with overall warm temperate climate. Dry and sunny winters (April to October) and summer rains (November-March). Year round rainfall in the southwest, average rainfall is 484 millimeters.


South Africa’s population is estimated at 45,025,000. Estimated urban population is 60%, rural 40%. The major urban areas are: Cape Town, 2.9 million; Johannesburg 2 million; Durban, 1.3 million; Pretoria, 1.5 million; Port Elizabeth, 1 million. 76% of the population is estimated as black Africans-Nguni (Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele), Sotho-Tswana, Venda, Tsonga-Shagaan, Khoisan; and 13% whites-Afrikaners, British and other Europeans; 11% Asians and others. Estimated 3 million foreign workers.


Eleven official languages are recognized in South Africa: isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, English, sePedi, seSotho, seTswana, xiTsonga, siSwati, tshiVendi, and isiNdebele.


80% of the population is Christians, mostly Protestants. The rest traditional African beliefs, Hindu, and Muslim.


There is compulsory primary education for all pupils. Adult literacy is estimated at 86.4%.


South Africa’s economy is capitalist with strong government role in the economy. Emphasizes are on agriculture, manufacturing and mining and tourism. GDP estimate: $432 billion; Per Capita GDP: $10, 000. Monetary Unit: Rand. (ZAR)


South Africa is composed of a mix of Africans, Europeans and Asians. In 1948, Europeans, particularly the Dutch who settled in South Africa beginning in 1652, initiated the apartheid system of government that excluded non-Europeans from participation in government. A protracted struggle to share power ensued, and in 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from 27-year prison, and subsequently became the first democratically elected president of South Africa. A national truth and reconciliation commission investigated human rights abuses during the apartheid era, and essentially forgave all the practitioners of apartheid their crimes. Whereas the government is now in democratically elected hands, the economy is still dominated by the minority European population. Efforts are currently made to facilitate Africans participation in the economy.


South Africa is a federation consisting of a central government, and nine provincial governments. The central government has a bicameral legislature, a president elected to serve five years, and an independent judiciary. With the fall of apartheid government South Africa has been ruled by the ANC, African National Congress. President Nelson Mandela successfully transferred power to Thabo Mbeki, the current president.


The original people of South Africa were the Khoisan and Bushmen. Bantus from West Africa gradually moved into South Africa.
The modern history of South Africa began when the Portuguese established the Cape of Good Hope during the last decade of the fourteen hundreds.

In 1652 the Dutch took over the Cape and used it as a stopping station as they traded with the Asian countries. The Dutch encouraged Dutchmen to settle in the Cape area and plant fruits and vegetables that could be sold to sailors as they passed by, and a substantial European population sprang up. These were mainly farmers and displaced the Africans, mainly Khoisan, around them and took their lands.

The Dutch were soon joined by other Europeans, such as French Huguenots (Protestants) fleeing from the Catholic Church’s repression of Protestants. The expanding Dutch men and other whites confronted the more aggressive Bantus who, unlike the peaceful Hottentots, were not easily pushed out from their lands. Many wars were fought by these whites and Africans, initially with the Xhosa, then Zulus, Swazi etc.

After defeating the Netherland, the British replace her as the naval power of the world. They came calling in 1797 and annexed the Cape Colony in 1805.

The Dutch moved further inland, and thus began what they call the great trek. As they moved inland and formed new colonies they fought with African tribes.

When gold and diamond was discovered in the new Dutch colonies of Transvaal and Orange Free State, the British, again, came calling. Where there is food, vultures are attracted to.

The Dutch, who by now called themselves Afrikaners, tried to resist and the result was the first Boer war, 1880-1881. Power always prevails, so the British defeated them. Where there is wealth there must be power struggle to decide who has access to that wealth. There was another Boer war in 1899-1902, again, the British won but made concessions that permitted the whites to have self rule.

With self rule, the Dutch began implementing their idea of self rule, apartheid. After the end of the First World War, Germany was defeated and her South West African colony was given to British South Africa. The Afrikaners moved into the mandate territory and continued their racialist practices there.

At the end of the Second World War, the Afrikaner Nationalist Party obtained independence from Britain and showed the world what their real intentions were: full blown separation of the races.

The inevitable consequence of apartheid was struggle for the dignity of the black races, so the African National Congress changed from being a talk shop to a fighting army. The struggle lasted long but in 1990 the Afrikaans read the writing on the wall and released Nelson Mantilla from 27 years in prison and negotiated a settlement whereby Mandela became the president and essentially did not dismantle the apartheid economy.

The ANC is in charge of South Africa’s government. Mandela handed power to Mbeki who, by all accounts, is an efficient public manger. (Although his views on the etiology of HIV-AIDS seem far out.)

South Africa is divided into ten provinces, roughly reflecting the major ethnic groups of the country. At the central level is a legislature, a strong president and an independent judiciary.

There is truly democracy in South Africa. However, so far, only one party has ruled post independent South Africa. The true test of democracy is whether the ANC would hand over power to another party were it to be defeated in an election? We shall see.

In the meantime, South Africa’s economy is running smoothly. However, it should be noted that South Africa’s economy is really not an African economy; it is a first world economy. We shall see what happens in the long run when Africans begin to play key roles in the economy, whether the country would degenerate into corruption as is the case in most of black Africa? We shall see.

Posted by Administrator at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #45 of 54: Somalia

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Somalia

Formal Name: Republic of Somalia.

Term for Citizens: Somali.

Capital: Mogadishu. Population: 1, 212, 000.

Independence Achieved: June 26, 1960, from Britain.

Major Cities: Mogadishu.


Somalia is in East Africa. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Kenya. Somalia covers an area of 246, 201 square miles. Northern Somalia is a land of mountains and high plateaus, followed by low lands and dry valleys. The plateau steps down into an agricultural valley watered by the Shabeele and Juba Rivers. Following this farming land is a dry region that proceeds into Kenya and Ethiopia.


The population of Somalia is estimated at 9, 890,000.

Ethnic Groups: Somali. (There is a large Arab presence.)

Languages: Somali. Arabic and English are commercial languages.

Religion: Most Somalis are Sunni Muslims.

Education: Primary education is available but scantly utilized. Literacy rate is estimated at 37.8%.

Economy: Subsistence farming (maize, bananas, sorghum). Cattle, sheep, camel and goat herding is still the major occupation of Somalis. Fishing was a growing industry before the internecine wars by the various Somali clans disrupted it. Somalia is a very poor country. The people who live in the capital city engage in petty trading. GDP estimated: $4.1 billion; Per Capita GDP: $550. Monetary Unit: Shilling (SOS).

History and Government:

Somalia is where Africa meets Arabia. Africans and Arabs have had interchanges for thousands of years in Somalia. Italy seized northern Somalia and ruled it. Britain entered the pictured in the 1880s. Britain wanted to secure meat from Somalia for its military garrison at Aden. The Italians eventually took over the south of Somalia. Ethiopia under emperor Minilik took over western Somalia, Ogaden, and that has been a bone of major contention between the two countries since then. Upon independence, and brief flirting with democracy where the president is supposedly to be elected for six-year terms, a military general, Siad Barre, seized power in 1969. After the overthrow of Siad Barre’s government in early 1991, Somalia descended into clannish wars, a war that decimated whatever political and economic infrastructure there was in the country. The country reverted to a (Thomas) Hobbesian world, and life is nasty, brutish and short. At present the various clans are attempting to form a constitution and subsequent government. Somalia is divided into 18 regions. At present there is no workable central government holding the country together.


Somalia’s location makes it a bridge between the Arab world and Africa. Trade between Africans and Arabs have passed through Somalia for hundreds of years. However, the contemporary history of Somalia began when Europeans decided to seize African lands. First, the Italians came calling and they were replaced by the English in 1943.

England gave Somalia independence in 1960. A prime minister, Abdullahi Isse, was installed. For a while it seemed that parliamentary democracy would work but in 1969 General Mohamed Siad Barre seized the government and began his dictatorate, which lasted until he was ousted in 1991.

Thereafter, Somalia went into a free fall, as war lords carved the country up and each clan declared its intendance from Somalia. A civil war, or is it a gangs war for the control of sections of the land, ensued and, up to a point, is still going on.

The international community tried to intervene, the United Nations sent in peace keepers (US Army), but the country did not seem to desire peace so it was left to have its fill of fighting and when it desires peace it would do something about it.

The various gangs, for that is what they are, have destroyed every city and economic infrastructure that exists in Somalia.

In 2004, Somalis met in Nairobi, Kenya, and signed a peace treaty and wrote a new constitution on how they were going to govern themselves. That government still has not fully returned to Mogadishu, for the city is still roamed by marauders with AK rifles.

Lately, the Somali marauders have taken to pirating and in speed boats intercede ships going through the Red sea and Indian Ocean. It is total lawlessness in the land.

Those Somalis that can swing it have left the country and left the rest to live in their chosen lawless state. Somalia descended into classic Hobbesian state of nature without government: and life became nasty, brutish and short.

On paper the country is divided into 18 regions, which in turn are subdivided into districts. But in reality there is no functioning government in Somalia. What exist are anarchy, chaos and mayhem.

The Somali economy has been destroyed and there is not much there is to be said about it. In rural areas, however, as before the modern era, there is some farming and herding of life stock going on.

Posted by Administrator at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #44 of 54: Seychelles

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Sierra Leone

Formal Name: Republic of Sierra Leone.

Term for Citizens: Sierra Leoneans.

Capital: Freetown. Population: 837, 000.

Independence Achieved: April 27, 1961, From Britain.

Major Cities: Freetown.


Sierra Leone is in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Liberia, Guinea and Mali. Sierra Leone encompasses an area of 27, 699 square miles. The topography is marked by a mountainous peninsula (site of Freetown), narrow belt of coastal swamplands, succeeded by plains, then low plateaus surmounted by hills and mountains. Loma Mansa is the country’s highest point at 6390 feet. The climate is tropical with two seasons, wet (April to October) and dry (November to March). Heavy rainfall at the coastal regions, in places up to 200 inches annually.


The population of Sierra Leone is estimated at 4,971,000.

Ethnic Groups: There are about eighteen ethnic groups; the major ones are Mende, Temne, Creole, and Kru.

Religion: Muslim 50%, Christians 20%, the rest indigenous beliefs.

Education: Education is available to all at the primary school level but limited at secondary school level. Literacy is estimated at 31%.

Economy: The salient feature of the economy is agriculture, with the majority of the people engaged in subsistence farming. Large-scale mining, particularly iron, diamonds, bauxite, and other minerals. GDP estimate: $2.8 billion; Per Capita GDP: $580. Monetary Unit: Leone (SLL).

History and Government:

Sierra Leone is a unique country. The British, as a haven for freed slaves, began Freetown in 1787. In 1807 The British government abolished slavery. Britain returned its slaves to a piece of real estate it bought in Africa called Freetown. Subsequently the British interdicted ships, on the high seas, carrying slaves and freed the slaves and brought them to Freetown. Britain proclaimed a protectorate over Sierra Leone in the 19th century. On April 7, 1961 Sierra Leone gained independence from Britain. The freed slaves who lived around Freetown dominated the government of Sierra Leone. This situation created conflict between the people in the city of Freetown and the people in the rural areas of the country. The struggle for power led to a vicious civil war from which the country has not yet fully recovered. There is a president and a unicameral legislature. The president tends to be the stronger of the two. The country is divided into three provinces and the later further divided into districts, chiefdoms, and municipalities.


Sierra Leon was given that name by Portuguese slave traders who used her ports to buy slaves to be sold to the Americas, beginning in the fourteen hundreds.

When the abolitionist movement picked up steam in England, she returned African slaves already living in England to Freetown, Sierra Leon in 1787. Thus modern Sierra Leon began as a country for repatriated slaves from England.

In 1808 Sierra Leon became a crown colony of Britain. Sierra Leon produced some of the best educated Africans during the first part of the 20th century, and those spread all over British West Africa, working as teachers and missionaries. They were very instrumental in educating their fellow Africans, for which all Africa gives them thanks.

In the post Second World War era, Africa experienced a wind of change, with Africans calling for independence from their colonial masters.

Sierra Leon became independent from Britain in 1961 and Sir Milton Margai became the first prime minister of the country. Like other African countries, unfortunately, Sierra Leon degenerated into undemocratic governance.

Beginning in 1991, the country went into civil war for nine years, a war that devastated the country. A peace treaty, signed in 1999, has returned peace to the country. Nigerian led ECOMOG peace keeping forces managed to make the peace stick.

A new constitution was written and elections held and a new government elected in 2002. A new president (Ahmad Tejan Kabbah) was elected, a unicameral legislature of 124 elected and an independent judiciary established. Sierra Leon seems to have turned the corner.

Sierra Leon is divided into three provinces, which are further subdivided into 14 districts.

During the decade long civil war, the economy of Sierra Leon was devastated. Things are gradually returning to normal. Sierra Leon depended on mining industry (diamonds) and is gradually repairing the infrastructure for resuming mining.

With the apparent reduction in official corruption, it was hitherto rampant; it seems that revenue from this vital industry (diamonds) could now be put to good use: developing the country.

Posted by Administrator at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #43 of 54: Seychelles

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Seychelles

Formal Name: Republic of Seychelles.

Term for Citizens: Seychellois.

Capital: Victoria. Population: 30, 000.

Date of Independence: June 29, 1976 (from Britain).

Major Cities: Victoria.


Seychelles is an island in the Indian Ocean. Seychelles is approximately 176 square miles. It contains 115 islands. The major islands are Mahe, Praslin, and ladigue. The climate is tropical with high humidity but breezy and cooler weather brought by the monsoon from late May to September. Mean annual rainfall is 3000 millimeters.

Society: The estimated population is 80, 000.

Ethnic Groups: Mixed European and Africans.

Languages: Official languages are Creole, English and French.

Religion: Roman Catholics 90%, Anglicans 7%, and Evangelical Christians the rest.

Education: Education is free through secondary school. Literacy rate is estimated at 85%.

Economy: Tourism and Agriculture are major industries. Seychelles has a relatively well-developed infrastructure for tourism. GDP estimated: $626 million; Per Capita GDP: $7, 800. Monetary Unit: Rupee (SCR).

History and Government:

Africans and Europeans and a mixture thereof settled the Islands. In 1768 France took over the Islands and in 1794 Britain took over. Initially Britain and the ruling party in the Islands did not desire independence but pressure from the OAU and the UN led to independence in June 29, 1976. An elected president selects a cabinet to govern with. A peoples Assembly that legislates, a judiciary headed by a supreme court. The country is divided into 23 districts.


Seychelles was an uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean until the Portuguese sighted it in the fifteen hundreds. They used the island as a stopping station on their route from Africa and the Asia. In 1756 the French came along and took over the Island. In 1794 the English took it over. Seychelles became a British crown colony in 1903.

The government of the island calls for an executive president, a unicameral legislature, a National Assembly, and independent judiciary. The president selects a cabinet that must be approved by the legislature

Seychelles is divided into 25 administrative districts.

Seychelles is well governed and attracts foreign investors. In fact, it is the richest country in Africa with a per capita income of US $7, 504.

Seychelles has a well developed tourism industry and is currently trying to diversify and industrialize. Tourism is vulnerable, for example, the 2004 Christmas tsunami in East Asia affected tourism as folks, for a while, were not interested in visiting that part of the world and countries that depend solely on tourist money suffered greatly.

Posted by Administrator at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #42 of 54: Senegal

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Senegal

Formal Name: Republic of Senegal.

Term for Citizens: Senegalese.

Capital: Dakar. Population: 2, 160,000.

Independence Achieved: April 4, 1960, from France.

Major Cities: St Louis, Dakar.


Senegal is located in West Africa. It is bordered by Gambia, Mauritania and Mali. Senegal encompasses an area of 75, 749 square miles; the maximum north-south length is 286 miles, and east-west length is 360 miles. Senegal’s topography is characterized by flat savanna that begins at the coast and extends inland. The climate is tropical, sub-desert with two distinct seasons, wet (summer) and dry (winter). Temperature ranges from warm at the coast to very hot inland.


The population of Senegal is estimated at 10, 095,000. Twenty percent of the population lives in the Dakar area. Scant population in the interior, sub-desert regions.

Ethnic Groups: Six ethnic groups live in Senegal: Wolof, Serer, Peul, Mandingo, Diola and Sarakole.

Languages: each of the six ethnic groups speaks its own language. French is the official language.

Religion: 80% of all Senegalese are estimated to be Muslim and about 10% Christian, the remainder are adherents to indigenous beliefs.

Education: Primary school education is available to all children but less than 50% of the children attend school. Literacy rate is estimated at 40.2 %.

Economy: Small-scale peasant cultivation, especially peanuts, predominates. Tourism is relatively well developed part of the economy. French ownership of aspects of the private sector predominates. GDP estimate: $16.2 billion; Per Capita GDP: $1,500. Monetary Unit: CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF).

History and Government:

The Portuguese came to the Coast of Portugal in the fifteenth century and thereafter started the slave trade. Senegal was a site of much slave trading during the slave trade. The French took over in 1883. Upon independence, Senegal adopted the French presidential system. The president appoints a prime minister to govern the country on day to day. President Leopold Sedar Senghor and his party ruled virtually unopposed until he retired from power and transferred power to a hand chosen protégée. Senegal appears very stable and has successfully transferred power from one ruler to another. The country is divided into seven administrative regions with each headed by a governor appointed by the president and responsible to him.


What is now called Senegal was part of West Africa’s ancient kingdoms of Mali and, as such, came into contact with the Muslim world in the tenth century. Senegal’s modern history, on the other hand, began when the Portuguese came along in the fourteen hundreds and chose one of its ports, St Louis, as from where they bought slaves to be sold to the Americas.

During the scramble for African territory, the French took control of Senegal and ruled it until 1960 when they gave her independence.

Senegal inherited French political institutions and was lucky in electing Leopold Sedar Senghor as their first president. He was the first African head of state that voluntarily retired from office, the rest of them are usually carried out in coffins. Mr. Senghor was replaced by Mr. Abdou Diouf and the later was replaced by Abdoulaye Wade. Thus Senegal has established the tradition of peacefully handing power to elected officials.

Senegal is mostly arid and does not have much going for it economically, except phosphates and some agricultural products. The country, however, is making headways trying to attract industries. Its relative clean government and lack of corruption bodes well for attracting investors, who prefer such clean and stable environments. The GDP is growing at an annual rate of 5% and inflation is down.

Senegal is divided into 11 regions, which in turn are subdivided into districts and communes.

On the whole, Senegal is one of the success stories of Africa. Though it is largely a Moslem country (over 95%), it elected a Christian as its first president, and from all available evidence respected him despite his different religion. This shows maturity, the ability to make judgment on independent grounds, not sentimental grounds: does the leader have what it takes to govern or is he there just because he wants to serve his interests? The leader’s ethnicity should not make a difference in voting for him.

Posted by Administrator at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #41 of 54: Sao Tome and Principe

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Sao Tome and Principe

Formal Name: Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.

Term for Citizens: Sao Tomeans.

Capital: Sao Tome. Population: 67,000.

Independence Achieved: July 12, 1975, from Portugal.

Major Cities: Sao Tome.


The Islands of Sao Tome and Principe are off the coast of West Africa. Sao Tome and Principe is estimated to cover 386 square miles. Sao Tome and Principle are a group of islands located in the Gulf of Guinea. The Islands resulted from extinct volcano. It is about 125 miles off West-Central Africa. Its nearest neighbors are Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The islands are covered by lush rainforests. They have tropical climate, with two distinct seasons, wet and dry.


The population of Sao Tome and Principe is estimated at 161, 000.

Ethnic Groups: The main ethnic groups are Fang, other Africans, Mestizo and Portuguese.

Languages: Fang, Creole, and Portuguese.

Religion: The country is predominantly Roman Catholic.

Education: Elementary education is available to most pupils. Literacy rate is estimated at 79.3%.

Economy: The islands have traditionally been covered with crop plantations. The chief crops are cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, cinnamon, coffee. Livestock (cattle, goats, chicken, sheep) and fishing are also traditional activities. Attempts are currently made at light industries like textile and soap manufacturing, and fish processing. GDP estimate: $200 million; Per capita GDP: $1, 200. Monetary unit: Dobra.

History and Government:

The country is divided into two provinces. At the center is a president who selects a prime minister to govern the day-to-day affairs of the government.


It is reported that when the Portuguese passed through the Islands of Sao Tome and Principe, in the late fourteen hundreds, that they were not inhabited, and that they decided to use them as way stations in their trade along the coast of West Africa. First, they encouraged the Portuguese to settle on the two Islands and plant sugar cane.

Sugar cane planting and harvesting is a labor intensive work and the Portuguese were not interested in that sort of work, so they brought African slaves to do the tedious work. Thus, over time, Africans from Angola to Senegal were brought in as slaves to work in the sugar cane plantations of Sao Tome and Principe.

When the West Indices proved the better source of sugar cane, the Portuguese planted coffee and cocoa on these two islands and brought more African slaves into the island to work in those plantations. The salient point is that the Africans at these islands came from elsewhere and learned to speak Portuguese and broken Portuguese as their new language (some, particularly those from Angola, seem to have retained a form of their original language).

Portugal considered her African territories part of Portugal and did not want to give them independence. Africans formed liberation movements and agitated for independence. In 1974, the brutal dictator that ruled Portugal fell and was replaced by a regime that promised to give independence to Portugal’s African colonies. Thus, in 1975 Sao Tome and Principe became independent and Mr. Manuel Pinto da Costa became the African president.

This government, as elsewhere in Africa, soon turned into a one party rule. But in the 1990s Sao Tome and Principe turned democratic and elected a president democratically. In 2003, however, complaining that there is too much corruption in the land, the military struck and removed the elected president, Mr. de Menezes. But Sao Tome apparently had turned the corner and folks were not ready to accept unelected military rule and refused to accept the military junta. The junta returned de Menezes to office.

Sao Tome and Principe appears on the road to real democracy, with many political parties competing for political offices and the government being transparent and less corrupt.

The country is divided into two provinces (Sa Tome and Principe), and further divided into seven districts.

The economy of this little country is based on exporting coffee and cocoa and therefore is dependent on world commodity market and its wild fluctuations.

Oil was recently found and revenue from it is helping fuel economic development.

Posted by Administrator at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #40 of 54: Rwanda

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Rwanda

Formal Name: Republic of Rwanda

Term for Citizens: Rwandans.

Capital: Kigali. Population: 412, 000.

Independence Achieved: July 1, 1962, from France.

Major Cities: Kigali.


Rwanda is in Central Africa. Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Tanzania, and Uganda border it. Rwanda is landlocked. Rwanda is estimated to have 10, 169 square miles. The land is steeply, and sloped with flat hills that drop to valleys. The climate is moderated by its high elevation so that temperature averages 73.F annually.


Rwanda’s population is estimated at 8,387,000.

Ethnic Groups: Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. Over 80% of the population is Hutu.

Languages: Kinyarawanda. Swahili, and Hausa are trade languages. French is the official language.

Religion: 70% Christian, 2% Muslim, and the remainder professing indigenous African beliefs.

Education: Schools were provided by Christian missions but largely available to all primary age children though scantly attended. Literacy rate is estimated at 70.4%.

Economy: The economy is primarily subsistence agriculture. Cash crops are coffee and cotton. Tutsi are herders of cattle. GDP estimate: $9 billion; Per Capita GDP: $1, 200. Monetary Unit: Franc (RWF)

History and Government:

Twa pigmies were the original people here. Then Hutu farmers settled among them. In the fourteenth century Tutsi cattle herders, probably from Ethiopia, settled among the Hutu and gradually established their lordship over them. The Tutsis provided the kings that ruled Rwanda. Tutsi subjugation of Hutu was total until the coming of European colonial rulers. Germany colonized Rwanda in the 19th century and ruled until its defeat during the First World War. Governance passed to France. The Europeans, for some reasons, apparently preferred the Tutsis to Hutus thereby perpetuating the hatred that is between the two groups. Upon independence, however, democratic election produced Hutu rulers and the later proceeded to vent their anger at the Tutsi. Ultimately this led to the mass massacre of Tutsis in 1994. The Tutsi eventually regained power and are currently ruling the Hutu. The issue of ethnic coexistence has not been solved. What exists now is Carthaginian peace, a peace that could be shattered at any moment. A strong president of Tutsi extraction, Paul Kagame rules Rwanda. There seems appearance of democracy but the Hutu feel subjugated and are restive, perhaps waiting for another opportunity to seek revenge. Clearly a more lasting power sharing political arrangement is to be worked out for peace to exist in the troubled land of Rwanda. Rwanda is divided into 12 prefectures, and the later subdivided into communes.


Originally the people living in what is now called Rwanda were the Pygmies. The Bantus swept into the area during the great Bantu migration from West Africa to all parts of tropical Africa.

The Tutsis and Hutus, the two dominant groups in Rwanda, are Bantus and, in fact, speak the same language. The idea that they are two different people was probably propaganda that the ruling elements hatched to justify ruling them.

In the 19th century, Germans came to the area and bought into the notion that the two peoples are different. Indeed, at one time they claimed that Tutsis were of European origin, just as they claimed that Ethiopians were of European origin. It seems that wherever Africans seem to have had a history of ruling themselves, as the Tutsis had done for over seven hundred years, since Europeans do not visualize Africans as anything but those who are incapable of self governance, they attribute that self governance to external origin.

Let us therefore make it clear: Tutsis and Hutus are the same Bantu people.

Germany governed Rwanda until she was defeated during the First World War and her African territories were taken away from her and given to the victorious powers. Belgium was given Rwanda as a mandate territory to govern on behalf of the League of Nations. At the end of the Second World War, the United Nations took over the functions of the League of Nations and demanded that independence be given to mandated territories.

In 1962 Rwanda was given independence and thereafter the issue of who should govern her: Tutsi or Hutu became the primary question asked in Rwandan politics. The Hutus are in the majority and all things being democratic would, in elections based on ethnic voting, win and govern Rwanda. But the Tutsis had centuries of governance under their belt. Governing, like anything else in this world, is influenced by practice and experience.

The Tutsis were used to governing and did not take well to Hutu governing. The result was competition by these two people. The consequence is occasional mutual bloodbath, which culminated in the horrible killing of the Tutsis in 1994. Over 500, 000 Tutsis were murdered in cold blood by the Hutus.

Paul Kagame and his Tutsis Rwandese Patriotic Front, RPF, thereafter swept into Kigali, and the murderers, fearing for their lives, fled into neighboring countries as refugees.

Mr. Kagame, unfortunately, like other African rulers, has written a constitution and is now serving as the president (may be, for life or until he is murdered). He is increasingly authoritarian and is risking being killed by those he alienates, even by his fellow Tutsis.

Rwanda is divided into five provinces and further subdivided into 30 districts.

The economy of Rwanda is doing as well as might be expected considering the major disruptions the country has gone through. 90% of the people are engaged in subsistence farming. The primary source of foreign exchange is the selling of coffee and tea.
Rwanda is dependent on foreign aid.

Posted by Administrator at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #39 of 54: Reunion

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Reunion

Formal Name: Reunion

Term for Citizens: Reunionnese.

Capital: Saint Denis.

Date of Independence: Not yet Independent from France.

Major Cities: Saint Denis.


Reunion is located in the Indian Ocean. It is an Island, 39 miles long and 28 miles wide, for a total of 970 square miles. The island is on top of hotspots in the earth’s crust. The Island has two active Volcanic Mountains: Piton de la fournaise and Piton des Neiges. Reunion has three Calderas. Though Reunion is located in the Indian Ocean, France considers it as part of itself and treats it as a department in France.


Reunion’s current population is estimated at 775, 000. Most of the people live in cities in the slopes of the two mountains that dominate the island.

Ethnic Groups:

Reunion was originally an uninhabited island until the Portuguese visited it in 1513. At present, it has an ethnic mix of Africans, Malays, French, Chinese, Tamil, and Indians.

Languages: French is the official language though each of the ethnic groups speaks its own language.

Religion: Christianity is the major religion although Hinduism, Buddhism. Islam and other religions are practiced.

Education: Reunion has France’s educational system: free elementary and secondary schooling for all children and competitive entry to universities in through out France for those able to do so.


The Island was originally devoted to sugar cane cultivation and Africans, Malays and Indians were brought in to work in the sugar cane plantations. Sugar export remains the main stay of the economy. However, in recent years, tourism is the key source of revenue for the Island. The European community in the island is better off than the poor Africans who work in the sugar cane fields and or perform menial jobs in the various tourism related industries.

History and Government:

Reunion was an uninhabited Island in the Indian Ocean until Portuguese sailors sighted it in 1513 and named it Santa Apollonia. In 1642, the Island was claimed by France and renamed IIe Bourbon in 1649, in recognition of the Bourbon king of France. With the fall of the Bourbons during the French revolution, the Island’s name was changed to Reunion in 1793. When Napoleon Bonaparte was in power, the Island was briefly named IIe Bonaparte in 1801. The Island was again renamed with the fall of Napoleon. After more changes in names, the name Reunion stock.
Reunion was settled by Frenchmen who owned sugar cane plantations on it and brought in slaves to work for them. The Island was considered French territory from the beginning although it was only in 1946 that it was officially made a French Department (a unit of French unitary form of government, sort of like a district or county).
The government of Reunion is essentially like the government of a local government unit in France, with the national government appointing a prefect who supervises the local government (a council elected locally to operate the local bureaucracy).

Reunion is divided into four arrondissements, twenty four communes, and forty seven cantons.


Reunion is an overseas French region. It is part of France and participates in French politics, with representatives in the French National Assembly. The politics of Reunion is the politics of France. Nevertheless, Reunion considers itself part of Africa and joined the African Union.

· The other African territories that are still controlled by European powers are British Indian Ocean Territory, St. Helena; France’s Mayotte (and Reunion); Portugal’s Madeira; Spain’s Canary islands, Plaza de Soberania.

Posted by Administrator at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #38 of 54: Nigeria

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Nigeria

Formal Name: Republic of Nigeria

Term for Citizens: Nigerians

Capital: Abuja. Population: 420,000.

Independence Achieved: October 1, 1960, from Britain.

Major Cities: Lagos (population 8,685,000) Ibadan, Kano, and Owerri.


Nigeria is in West Africa. It is bordered in the south by the Atlantic Ocean, in the east by Cameroon, in the west by Benin, and in the north by Niger and Chad. Nigeria occupies an estimated 356 669 square miles. Its topography is characterized by a swampy coastal region, gradually giving way to a rain forested region, then to savanna, and finally to a Sahel region. Nigeria is mainly plain lowlands with a plateau in the middle belt, and a mountainous region in the northeast, Adamawa Mountain. Nigeria has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons, wet (April to October) and dry (November to March). The coastal region experiences heavy rainfall, in places up to 144 inches annually. Rainfall is less and less inland with a semi arid Sahel Northern area.


The population of Nigeria is estimated at 124, 009,000.

Ethnic Groups: Nigeria is estimated to have over 100 ethnic groups; the major ones are Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Fulani, Tivi, Ijo, Urobo, and Ishikiri.

Languages: Each of the ethnic groups speaks its own language. The major ones are Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. English is the official language.

Religion: Christian South and Muslim North, with interspersed believers in indigenous religions.

Education: Free primary education for all primary school aged children; a significant percentage of primary school leavers attend secondary school, and by African standards, a fairly large number of students attend university. Literacy rate is estimated at 68%.

Economy: Nigeria’s economy is currently centered on petroleum extraction and exporting. The agricultural sector has essentially been allowed to decay as the economy depends on its cash cow. Food is imported even though Nigeria has sufficient fertile land to feed itself and even export food. Light manufacturing activity has begun and Nigeria is on its way to becoming an industrialized country. GDP estimate: $113.5 billion; Per Capita GDP: $875. Monetary Unit: Naira.

History and Government:

The British colonized Nigeria during the late 19th century. Upon independence, Nigeria inherited British type parliamentary system of government. A military coupe took place in 1966 and subsequently a series of military governments ruled Nigeria. At the present, Nigeria has a federal government patterned after the American system. However, it reposes a lot of power at the central government that it is probably best characterized as a quasi-unitary government, rather than a true federation where powers are shared between the center and the periphery. The state governments practically depend on the money they get from the center to survive, and as he who pays the piper calls the tune are subservient to the central government. Nigerian politics is characterized by the struggle for power by the three dominant ethnic groups. Corruption is rampant in Nigeria. Nigeria is divided into 36 mini states and a federal territory, none of which is economically viable.


The various people that live in the area now called Nigeria were unwillingly put together by the British. Indeed, the name itself (derived from Niger River and Area around that river) was said to have been chosen by the girl friend of the British Governor of Nigeria, Flora Shaw (Lord Lugard). The south and north of Nigeria was amalgamated in 1914. The history of the country since then has been one of mismanagement, corruption and thievery made official policy.
In 1960, Nigeria was given her independence by Britain. In 1966 there was a military coup and thereafter there were series of military coups, interrupted by a brief interregnum of civilian rule (1979-84) and back to military rule again and now military civilian rule (President Obasanjo).

Not much can be said about Nigeria except that constitutions are written and strong men are placed in office; as to whether they, in fact, do something while in office is another matter. They come to office to steal money from the public treasury, and, perhaps, that in itself is an achievement?

Is thieving an accomplishment in life? It seems so in Nigeria. The names of these so-called kleptocratic rulers of Nigeria are probably not worth mentioning, for these people are better consigned to the dustbin of history as refuse. We need not further gratify their vanity by mentioning their names, as if they existed and as if they contributed to the well being of Nigerians. Criminals’ names do not need to be mentioned. But if you are interested, the rulers of Nigeria since her misrule began were Abubakar Tafawa Belewa, Aguiyi Ironsi, Yakubu Gowon, Mutala Mohamed, Olusegun Obasnajo, Shehu Shagari, Buhari, Babangida, Abacha, and, once again Obasanjo in mufti. These were the chief thieves of state of Nigeria.

Nigeria is currently divided into 36 states and counting (few of which can support themselves, except wait for the federal government to steal oil money from the Niger Delta and give it to them to squander). The states are further divided into local authority areas and towns.

The Nigerian economy runs on money from oil and that is just about all that can be said about it. When oil money is gone, the economy probably will go belly up and millions of Nigerians will starve. What else is new? A people who cannot manage their economic affairs, who all they seem to know what to do is steal, probably deserve to starve and die off. The world is probably better off without hearing about 419 advance fee scams and other criminal activities engaged by Nigerians.

The current finance minister has begged the creditors that Nigeria’s former leaders borrowed money from, to line their pockets with, to write off over 60% of that debt, and promised to pay the balance of it. It will be a day when this is done, in fact. And if it is done, probably a similar amount would have been redirected to the pockets of those making such payments.

Are Nigerians human being or are they criminals? Is criminality in their genes? Their contribution to human history, so far, seems mostly negative. For (1000 years 900-1900AD) they sold each other into slavery, first, to Arabs, and then to Europeans. Given the opportunity to govern themselves, they did not even earn that independence, for they did not fight and die for it, as they should have; they use their governments to mismanage their public affairs.

The question that the world has to answer, and do so soon, is whether Nigerians are born as criminals? Until we have clarity as to whether these people can be honest human beings we are going nowhere with them.

If they are born thieves, we might as well not concern ourselves with them. We do not need further elaborate sociological studies to explain what environmental factors that disposed them to steal. If they inherited stealing genes, we can save ourselves a lot of trouble by building prisons and if they steal, clamp them into them, lock them up and throw away the keys. We do not need to talk about their criminal behavior any more. Enough is enough.

Posted by Administrator at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #37 of 54: Niger

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Niger

Formal Name: Republic of Niger

Term for Citizens: Nigeriennes.

Capital: Niamey. Population: 821, 000.

Independence Achieved: August 3, 1960, from France.

Major Cities: Niamey.


Niger is in West Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Mali. Niger is the largest country in West Africa, covering 489, 191 square miles. It encompasses a segment of the Sahara desert. The country is mostly arid, except for a thin strip of land along the Niger River. Niger is relatively flat with monotonous topographical features. The climate is very hot and harsh with very little rainfall.


Niger has a small population estimated to be about 11, 972, 000; most of them live in the south, along its 370 miles long stretch of River Niger. The population centers are in the departements of Zinder, Niamey, Tahoua, Maradi, and Dosso.

Ethnic Groups: The main ethnic groups are: Hausa 50%, Djerma-Songhay 25%, and small population of Fulani, Beriberi (Kanuri), Manga, Boudouma, and Tuareg.

Languages: Each of the ethnic groups speaks its own language. Hausa is the chief language. French is the official language.

Religion: Most people in Niger profess Sunni Islam.

Education: Access to primary school education is available to all but is not compulsory. Literacy rate is estimated at less than 17.6%.

Economy: Niger is a landlocked country with very little rainfall hence little agricultural activities. It does, however, produce exportable peanuts, cotton, cattle and uranium. Overall, Niger is a very poor country. GDP estimate: $8.8 billion; Per Capita GDP: $830. Monetary Unit: CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF).

History and Government:

Niger was a former colony of France and inherited French traditions in government. However, it is also a Muslim country with Islamic theocratic traditions. These two forces, as well as the struggle by the different ethnic groups for leadership conflict, and the result is instability. The struggle for governance by the secular and Sharia based religious elements is a feature of Niger. Military intervention is frequent. The country is divided into 7 departments and one the capital district. The current president is Tandja Mamadou. The president governs through a prime minister who is in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the government.


Historically, what is now called Niger was part of the old empires of Mali and Songhai, the Hausa states, and Kanem Bornu. However, the contemporary history of Niger began with her encounter with Europeans in the 19th century.
In the late nineteenth century, France and Britain were in a race to stake out territories in West Africa. France laid claim to the area and by the end of the century it was accepted that it was a French sphere of influence.
Niger was part of French West Africa until it got its independence from France in 1960. Hamani Diori became the president and began his single person rule. In 1974 he was replaced in office by Col. Seyni Kountche. Col. Kountche was replaced in office by Col. Ali Saibou in 1987.
The 1990s was an era when African countries were under international pressure to become democratic, so a constitution was hastily written permitting multiple parties participation in elections. And in 1993 Andre Salifou was elected the president. Shortly thereafter a palace coup led to his ouster and Col. Ibrahim Bare Mainassara came to power. In 1999 Bare was killed and Major Daouda Wanke came to power. A new constitution was written and a new election and Mamadu Tandja was elected the president. He was reelected in 2004.
The only game in town is to be elected the president, not what is done while in office, but just to be the president. Now that we have mentioned who was elected and when, the next question is what do they do in office? They changed the constitution to make sure that they would be elected and that is just about it.

Niger is divided into seven departments, which are further divided into 35 arrondissements and into 129 communes.

The economy of Niger is based largely on subsistence faming and livestock. There are some minerals, such as Uranium. The revenue from uranium is lately shrinking because of the reduced demand for uranium in the world market. The environmental movement in the West is anti nuclear plants for generating electricity and, as such, reduces demand for uranium.
Niger, along with Mauritania and Sudan, still has slavery. As a matter of fact, this seems her only claim to fame: she enslaves some of her citizens and when international pressure is brought to bear on her, she claims that those in slavery chose voluntary servitude! It is reported that over ten percent of the politicians have their own domestic slaves.
It is truly amazing that Africans still find it necessary to be the joke of the world, to do such horrible things as enslave their fellow human beings. They are no longer amusing, may be they are not truly intelligent? Otherwise, how is it that they do not feel ashamed of their history, a history that is mostly known for selling themselves into slavery to non-Africans?
The People of Niger: Hausas, Tauregs, Kanuri, Fulani, Toubou etc can hardly be said to have contributed anything else to history than sell themselves into slavery. What a glorious history of contribution to the welfare of mankind!
In the present, the country has the highest infant mortality rate in the world (248 per 1000) and not much is done about it. Perhaps, it is better that the children died in infancy for otherwise they would grow up to be slaves and or struggle to be the president and do-nothing from that office.

Posted by Administrator at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #36 of 54: Namibia

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Namibia

Formal Name: Republic of Namibia.

Term for Citizens: Namibians.

Capital: Windhoek. Population: 216, 000.

Independence Achieved: March 1, 1990, from South Africa.

Major Cities: Windhoek.


Namibia covers an area of 318, 695 square miles. Namibia is in South West Africa. It is bordered by Angola, Botswana and South Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. The country is mostly desert, Kalahari, with coastal regions that have some rainfall permitting agricultural activities. Rainfall in the best areas is less than 15-18 inches a year. Grass grows in this area and livestock is grazed on it. More than half of the people live in the northern third of the plateau and most of them work for the mining companies around there. Diamonds and uranium are mined.


The population of Namibia is estimated at 1,987,000.

Ethnic Groups: Namibia has many ethnic groups but the major ones are: Ovambo, Kavango, Herero, Tswana, Nama and Khoi/Bushmen.

Languages: Ovambo, Herero, Nama, English, German and Afrikans.

Religion: Christian, and indigenous beliefs.

Education: Free primary education. Literacy rate is estimated at 84%.

Economy: Mining of diamonds and uranium plays key role in the economy. Large commercial ranches produce most of the livestock. White persons mostly own these ranches. Africans generally find work working for white ranchers or for mine companies. GDP estimate: $12.6 billion; Per Capita GDP: $6, 900. Monetary Unit: Namibia Dollar (NAD).

History and Government:

Germans came to what was then called South West Africa in the 19th century. They encountered numerous African groups living in the area. In an attempt to wrestle the land away from the people, Germans killed over 80, 000 Hereros of central Namibia. German settlement continued until the first-world war. As a result of the defeat of Germany in that war, Namibia was taken away from her and given to South Africa as a League of Nations mandate territory. South Africa attempted to incorporate the territory into its union and that provoked wars. Moreover, South Africa’s practice of Apartheid led to clashes between whites and blacks. After a protracted war, Mr. Sam Najuma and his guerilla group, SWAPO won independence in 1989. A presidential form of democracy was established in Namibia and so far seems to be holding well. Namibia is divided into 13 regions.


The earliest people that lived in the areas now called Namibia were the Khoisan/Bushmen. The various Bantus groups migrated to the area during the great Bantu migration during the fourteenth century. The Germans came during the late 19th century and proclaimed the area a German colony. With the defeat of Germany during the First World War, South West Africa, as the area was then called, was given to South Africa as a League of Nation’s mandated territory. After the Second World War, South Africa became an outlaw nation, embraced apartheid policies and annexed South West Africa.

In 1966 a group calling itself South West Africa People’s Organization, SWAPO, declared war on South Africa and the war for Namibia’s independence is on. That war lasted until 1990 when South Africa itself began to put an end to its Apartheid policy. Namibia gained its independence and drew up a new constitution that called for a president, a national council, a National Assembly and independent judiciary at the top of which is the Supreme Court.

Namibia was divided into 13 regions, which in turn are subdivided into 103 constituencies.

The economy of Namibia is thriving and is well managed. The economy is dependent on minerals, such as diamond, Uranium, lead, zinc, tin, and tungsten. Agriculture is modern, although it is mostly in the hands of white farmers.

On the whole, Namibia has made smooth transition from her long and protracted struggle for independence to a well managed economy. However, the land question has not been settled. White farmers still own choice agricultural lands and Africans work for them. Many Africans are calling for land redistribution. However, in light of what happened in Zimbabwe, it would seem that the governments go slow attitude on this matter is the right thing to do. Nevertheless, sooner or latter the land issue must be addressed.

Posted by Administrator at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #35 of 54: Mozambique

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Mozambique

Formal Name: People's Republic of Mozambique.

Terms for Citizens: Mozambicans.

Capital: Maputo. Population: 1,134,000.

Independence Achieved: June 25, 1975, from Portugal.

Major Cities: Maputo.


Mozambique is located in Southeast Africa. It is bordered by South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Indian Ocean. Mozambique is 309, 495 square miles. The climate is tropical, with a rainy season (October-April) and dry season (May to November).


Mozambique’s population is estimated at 18, 863,000. Over 90% of the population is rural. The urban population is mostly around the capital city and other coastal towns.

Ethnic Groups:

Mozambique is composed of several Bantu groups: Macua-Lomue, Tsonga, Shona, Manyika, Ndau, Chopi, Maravi, Yao, Maconde, and Ngoni.


30% Christian, 12% Muslim and the rest indigenous African beliefs.


Free elementary school. Literacy rate is estimated at about 47.8%.


Agriculture is the primary economic activity in the country, employing about 90% of the labor force. GDP estimate: $19.2 billion; Per Capita GDP: $1,000. Monetary Unit: Metical (MZM).

History and Government:

Mozambique was a Portuguese colony. The Portuguese considered Mozambique part of Portugal itself and refused to give it independence. That led to a protracted war for independence that culminated in the Portuguese been defeated and leaving the county in droves. Mozambique is divided into ten administrative provinces with a governor governing each province. The provinces are further divided into 112 districts and 894 localities. The central government is still dominated by Frelimo, the political party that fought for Mozambique’s independence. In recent years, other parties are increasingly challenging Frelimo and the result has been political strife. After a bloody civil war, the country appears to have settled into some peace, with President Joaquin Chissano at its head.


The earliest know people living in what is now called Mozambique were the Khoisan. Bantus came to the area during the Bantu migration.
Arab traders visited the area and established slave buying stations along the Coast. In 1498 the Portuguese came calling and eventually settled in the area.

Portugal considered its African colonies as overseas provinces of Portugal and did not consider independence for them. But after the Second World War, the desire for independence was in the air and Africans everywhere were demanding independence from their European colonial masters. Portugal refused to listen to that demand and in 1966 several pro-independence groups formed the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, FRELIMO. They went to the bush and began a long guerilla welfare that eventually drove the Portuguese out of Mozambique in 1975.

The leader of independent Mozambique, Samara Machel, was initially oriented to socialism and tended to support freedom fighters in Apartheid South Africa. To fight back, the leaders of South Africa sought ways to destabilize Mozambique, including funding the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), a rival group to FRELIMO, and, ultimately, a shooting war broke out between supporters of FRELIMO and RENAMO.

Mozambique entered a civil war that lasted many years, a war that saw the destruction of most of the country’s infrastructure and the displacement of millions of persons (refugees ran to neighboring African countries as well as internally).

Mr. Machel died in a suspicious plane crash and his successor Joaquin Chisano continued the reforms he begun. Today, Mozambique has embraced market economy and moved towards democracy.

A new constitution was written in 1990 that permitted multi party elections. FRELIMO won the ensuing election in 1994. Joaquin Chicano was reelected in 1999 and, as the constitution stipulated, did not compete in the 2004 elections, which FRELIMO also won and Armando Guebuza became the President in February 2005. Thus, government was successfully transferred from one person to another, a rarity in African politics.

Mozambique is divided into ten provinces, which, in turn, are subdivided into 129 districts.

Mozambique’s economy was shattered by its civil war but the country is on the rebound. Currently, its income per capita is $1,300, compared to $120 during the height of the civil war.

On the whole, Mozambique is one of the success stories of contemporary Africa; it has gone from a planned economy to a well regulated capitalist economy and is increasingly doing something for economic development and improving the lives of its people.

Posted by Administrator at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #34 of 54: Morocco

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Morocco

Formal Name: Kingdom of Morocco.

Term for Citizens: Moroccans.

Capital: Rabat. Population: 1, 668, 000.

Independence Achieved: March 2, 1956, from France.

Major Cities: Casablanca, Rabat.


Morocco is in northwest Africa. It is bordered by Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, Western Sahara and the Atlantic Ocean. Morocco is about 172,414 square miles (not including Western Sahara, formerly Spanish Sahara). Morocco is dominated by the Atlas mountain ranges. There is Mediterranean climate in the coastal lands; some rainfall. The temperature in the interior and South is mostly arid and hot.

Society: Morocco’s population is estimated at 30, 506,000. About 50% of the population is urban. Population centers are along the coastal regions.

Ethnic Groups: Arabs are the majority and Berbers are the minority group. Arabic is the official language. The educated class also tends to speak French.

Education: There is free primary and secondary education but not compulsory. Literacy is estimated at about 51.7% of the population.

Economy: Agriculture plays a large role in the economy. Mining and light manufacturing exists. GDP estimate: $115 billion; Per Capita GDP: $3, 900. Monetary Unit: Dirham (MAD).

History and Government:

Morocco was originally inhabited by Berbers, then ruled by Carthaginians, Romans, and was eventually conquered by Arabs in 683 AD. Morocco was the setting from which Arabs crossed into Spain in the eight-century. The Moors (Maure) who ruled Southern Europe for Centuries are today’s Moroccans. In the 19th century, parts of Morocco came under Spanish rule. Morocco gained independence in March 2, 1956. It adopted a constitutional monarchy form of government. The king appoints a prime minister to govern the country on a day-to-day level. However, the king can remove the elected political figures from office. The country is divided into 35 provinces and the king appoints governors for them. Morocco claims ownership of parts of Western Sahara and fought wars with the Polisario who resisted Moroccan take over of their country. There are political parties but, by and large, the king is the dominant decision maker in the country. The king governs through a prime minister, that he appoints, who is in charge of the day-to-day affairs of governance.


Morocco (actually the Kingdom of Morocco or Al Mamlakah al Maghribiya…Maghreb means the West) is an ancient land. The earliest documented history shows that Berbers lived in the area thousands of years ago. Then many groups came through, such as Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths and finally Arabs in the seventh century. All these people left their marks on the land.
Despite the several groups that have mixed in Morocco, Morocco is mainly composed of Berbers, Arabs and Africans.
Whereas ancient empires left their marks on Morocco, it is the Arabs that left lasting impact on Morocco. Today, most Moroccans speak Arabic and are Sunni Moslems.

Europeans came calling during the scramble to stake out the territory of Africa in the 19th century. Morocco became part of French protectorate in 1912.
Morocco gained independence from France in 1956 and adopted a constitutional Monarchy form of government. The King, however, has strong executive powers; he appoints the prime minister from the elected parliament and can remove him or even disband the parliament.

Morocco is divided into 37 provinces.

The economy of Morocco is dependent on mining of phosphates. Income from Moroccans living abroad is the second largest source of income and income from tourism comes in third. Morocco produces cannabis (hashish), though illegal, but a handsome source of revenue for the country.

Morocco is a well governed Arab state. This means that it is not democratic but is stable. The King and his ministers keep a good handle on things. The only trouble spot is Morocco’s claim to its neighbor to the south, Western Sahara. A freedom fighting group is active in that territory fighting for the area’s independence.

Posted by Administrator at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #33 of 54: Mauritius

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Mauritius

Formal Name: Republic of Mauritius.

Formal Name: Republic of Mauritius.

Term for Citizens: Mauritians.

Capital: Port Louis. Population: 176, 000.

Date of Independence: March 12, 1968, from France.

Major Cities: Port Louis.


Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius is approximately 788 square miles. Mauritius and Rodrigues islands are part of the volcanic chain of Mescarene Islands. Mauritius is about 18% mountain ranges, with low-lying coastal plains. Numerous rivers crisscross the Islands. The climate is subtropical in the low lands and temperate in the highlands. There are two seasons: hot and wet summers (November to April) and cool and dry winters (May through October). Overall rainfall averages over 200 centimeters.

Society: The population is estimated at 1,221, 000.

Ethnic Groups: Hindus, about 52%, Muslims, 16%, General population 30%, Chinese, French and Creole or mixtures of all the above.

Language: English is the official language. Creole, French, Hindi, Bhojpuri and Tamil.

Religion: Hindu 50%, Christian 30%, Muslim 16%, and others.

Education: Education is free through secondary school. Literacy rate is estimated at 85.6%.

Economy: Agriculture is the dominant sector. Cash crops like tea, Fresh vegetables, tobacco, cut flowers, livestock and fishing. GDP estimate: $13.2 billion; Per Capita: $11, 000. Monetary Unit: Rupee (MUR)

History and Government:

Mauritius comprises Indians, Chinese, and Malayan-Indonesians. These various peoples gradually settled on the Islands. The French took them over in the 19th century. The government is patterned after the British system of government: National Assembly, with the majority party forming a government headed by a prime minister. Many political parties compete for opportunity to lead the country. The country is divided into 9 districts and 3 dependencies.


Mauritius was first inhabited in the 17th century by the Dutch. Subsequently, many groups, including the Europeans, Arabs, Africans, Indians and Polynesians came to the island. In the 18th century France laid claim to the Island. After a brief tussle with the British in 1810, France relinquished the territory to Britain. Britain ruled the island until 1968 when she gave her independence. In 1992, Mauritius became a republic.
Mauritius adopted a presidential system of government with an elected president (five years), a unicameral National Assembly and an Independent Judiciary. The President appoints a Prime Minister from the National Assembly and the later heads a council of ministers who governs the island on the day to day level.

Mauritius is divided into nine districts for administrative purposes.

Mauritius real story is how it became an economic success story with the second highest income per capita in Africa, $13, 300. It did so by providing an efficient and corruption free government and by attracting foreign investors. Its economy is growing, on the average, 5% annually.
Mauritius recently passed legislation to make the country a duty free area, hoping that this would enhance trade.
Strong economic growth, good management plus strong tourism make this island nation one of the success stories of Africa.
(It should be noted, however, that East Indians constitute well over 70% of the population. How African this success story is could be disputed. Whatever, Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam is doing a marvelous job managing the economy.)

Posted by Administrator at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #32 of 54: Mauritania

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
Flag of Mauritania

Formal Name: Republic of Mauritania.

Formal Name: Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

Term for Citizens: Mauritanians.

Capital: Nouakchott. Population: 626,000.

Independence Achieved: November 28, 1960, from France.

Major Cities: Nouakchott.


Mauritania is located in Northwest Africa. It is bordered by Western Sahara, Algeria, Senegal and the Atlantic Ocean. The total area of Mauritania is 397,955 square miles. The country is generally flat, and arid. The center and west of the country is mainly sand dunes. The climate is desert with meager rainfall. The rainy season is between July and September but the rain is less than 600 millimeters and zero in the northern part of the country. Desert winds cause sandstorms.


The population is estimated at 2,893,000. Urban population is 60%, concentrated around the capital city.

Ethnic Groups:

Six ethnic groups: Arab-Berber (Maure), black African (Toucouleur, Fulbe, Sonike, Wolof, and Bambara). The population is 50% African and 50% Maure.


The languages are Maure-Hassaniya Arabic, French, Fulfulde, Azayr, Wolof, and Mande-kan.


Less than 40% of primary school age children go to school. Literacy rate is estimated at 41.7%


The entire population is Sunni Muslim.


The economy is primarily subsistence agriculture. GDP estimate: $5.3 billion; Per Capita GDP: $1, 900. Monetary Unit: Ouguiya (MRO).

History and Government:

Mauritania is of those African countries where African and Arab peoples meet. Thus there are black Africans and brown Arabs and Berbers coexisting in the same country. Mauritania is divided into twelve administrative and judicial regions and each headed by a governor. The central government has witnessed a series of military coup d' etat and seems unstable until the relationship between Arabs and Africans is settled. Until recently, Mauritania is said to be one of two African Countries that still practiced slavery, with Arabs owning African slaves. (The other is Sudan, also with Arabs having African slaves.) The Arab control of the country and suppression of Africans led to intolerance of democracy hence the country tends to have dictatorships of Arab rulers, military or civilian. At present, the government is an Islamic Republic headed by President Maaouya Ould Sidi Ahmed Taya. A prime minister for the day-to-day governance of the country assists the president. There are nominal Legislature and judiciary. The country is divided into 12 regions with governors appointed by the central government.


Mauritania is a country where Africa and Arabia, black and white, sort of, meet. Originally, the Soninke ethnic group lived in the area. Gradually, perhaps, beginning in the 3rd century, Berbers from North Africa drifted into the area. Eventually, Arabs, too, moved into the area. Thus, Africans, Berbers, and Arabs now coexist in Mauritania, the land of the Maurs, the land of the moors, the land of blacks.
In 1076, Islamic religious warriors (Almoravids) conquered the area, which at that time was part of Ghana Empire. These Arabs thereafter constitute the ruling class of Mauritania. Other Arab groups made incursions into the area, such as the Yemeni Maqil invaders led by the Beni Hassan tribe.

Mauritania is organized with Arabs at the top, Berbers in the middle and Africans at the bottom. Slavery, in one form or another, still exists in Mauritania.
In 1891 the French colonized the region as part of its French Sudan. In 1960 France gave Mauritania independence.
Mr. Moktar Ould Daddah became President. He was replaced by a coup in 1978. The coup’s leaders served until 2003 when Taya was elected the president.
Essentially, Mauritania has relapsed to its habitual Arab domination of Africans. The politics of Mauritania is characterized the struggle by one Arab faction or another to seize power and govern the country.
In 2003 Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya was elected the President. He was said to be very brutal and while out visiting his fellow dictators the military overthrew his government in 2005. No one missed his departure; indeed, the people heaved a sigh of relief. Another dictator, Colonel Ely Mohamed Vally took over.

Mauritania is divided into 12 regions, which are further subdivided into 44 departments (plus the capital district).

The economy of Mauritania is dependent on livestock and agriculture. Some iron ore exists and account for 50% of the country’s exports.

Mauritania is a strange country; it is strange because given its insistence on keeping Africans down, it must necessarily be dictatorial, for it takes force to suppress people. A dictatorial society is not going to amount to anything in the present world economy.
The extant world requires human beings spirit to be free to engage in creative thinking hence inventing of marketable goods and services. As long as Mauritania remains a feudal society where an Arab ruling class suppresses other people, it would remain backwater, irrelevant in world politics. When its leaders, usually unknown outside its repressive boundaries, are replaced or dead, people all over the world ask: who was that?

Posted by Administrator at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

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