Gallup recently (April 25) released a new report showing approval ratings of African leaders. Many of them are inexplicably popular (a case of respondent preference falsification?). The polls were conducted in 2011.
Top of the list are the likes of Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi) and Francois Bozize (CAF). Even the unapologetic, unreconstructed autocrats Paul Biya (Cameroon) and Blaise Compraore (Burkina Faso) poll above 70%.
The least popular African leader is Eduardo dos Santos of Angola who polled at a dismal 16%. Angola is Sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest oil producer and China’s largest trade partner on the continent – China imports upwards of 43% of Angola’s oil. The likely denouement of the dos Santos succession is still unclear but one cannot rule out the possibility of turmoil when Angola gets to cross that bridge, especially in light of the fact that Angola’s appear to blame both dos Santos and the country’s leadership.
Soldiers in Burkina Faso’s capital have mutinied, with gunfire resounding throughout Ouagadougou overnight. The protests began when members of the presidential guard started shooting into the air in protest at unpaid housing allowances.
President Blaise Compaore is due to meet a UN envoy in the city later, officials say, after he fled overnight. Mr Compaore, in power since 1987, had sought to calm soldiers earlier this month after similar complaints.
… the house of the president’s personal chief of staff had been burned down, some buildings and shops bombarded, including a pro-government radio station. The mutiny has come a surprise to many residents as the president had recently held a reconciliation meeting with the security forces, listening to their demands, Mr Thiombiano said.
Mr. Compraore has been in power since 1987. It is not yet clear how determined the mutineers are or if senior officers are behind the open rebellion against the Burkinabe president. More on this soon.
Elizabeth Dickinson at FP asks. Whatever the answer might be one thing is clear: France still has commercial and geopolitical interests in French-speaking Africa and would love to maintain close ties with the region, even if it means propping up misguided dictators who buy homes in the French Riviera while their own people starve.
The BBC adds that “a human rights group has said that some of the troops and leaders should instead be facing trial for war crimes.”
The images of French president Nicholas Sarkozy sitting next to Blaise Compraore, the murderous Burkinabe autocrat who came to power in 1987 after dispatching his predecessor Thomas Sankara to his maker, captured it all.