Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Little Less Coup-Prone

Nigeria's newish President has purged some of the country's top military generals. Forty have been told to retire, as Umaru Musa Yar'Adua takes a firmer grip on the country he's ruled since earlier this year.

It's no surprise Mr Yar'Adua wants to weaken the strength of the Nigerian army. He's the first President in Nigerian history to have taken over from another civilian leader, and Nigeria's had a military regime for 30 of its 47 years as an independent state. Things are more stable now - Nigeria doesn't suffer the same indignity as the Central African Republic, which is rather amusingly described in reports by the Associated Press as being "coup-prone". But as a new leader Mr Yar'Adua knows he's got to go further so he can be confident that, when doing important presidential stuff like leaving the country, some hacked off old General so-and-so won't seize power. He may be democratically-elected, but in Africa, even elected leaders have to play nasty.

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