COUPS D' ETAT are frowned on these days in Africa. But the one in Mauritania in late 2005, seems to have turned out nicely  -even for those who were rudest about it at the time.

Nineteen months after he ousted President Maaouya Taya, who had clung on to power for over two decades, Colonel Ely Vall graciously left office rather soon.

Most of the sand-blasted Mauritania's well over 3 million inhabitants are also dirt dirt-poor, despite their country's abundance of Iron-ore, fish and, more recently, oil, though their  GDP  per head, at $530, is higher than Mali's.

They then began looking to their new ruler, Sidi Ould Sheikh Abdeallahi, to improve their lot. The election he then won was Mauritania's first free one since independence 47 years ago. Hope then rose in a Saharan country that, like Mali, straddles Arab and black Africa.

After the Coup the governments in Africa, Europe and America voiced their disapproval when Colonel Vall took power in a bloodless coup in 2005. But he kept his promise to hold an election in which no COUP leader would compete.

The transition turned smooth, authoritative rule grew softened and the polls  -free and fair-  took place earlier than originally planned.

The United States lambasted the military takeover. BUT  at the time, John Negroponte, its deputy secretary of state, was then very soon on hand to praise both the colonel and the new president:

Promising to renew aid and to bump up military co-operation, not least because Mauritania   -like Mali- is an ally in America's war on terror in Africa.

*Mauritania's new president promised to tackle poverty and injustice.*

Under a calm surface, social tensions always stayed strong. Mauritania's conservative class has a poor record.

Vast villas behind high walls in the capital, Nouakchott, testify to the wealth of the country's Moorish elite. Bubbling frustration in the slums, particularly among black Africans, may boil over if things do not improve.

Many at the time, voiced a popular sentiment, that Mr Abdellahi, who hails from the long dominant white Moorish establishment, would struggle to convince people he would break with the past.  

''It was good the soldiers came and went,'' said Amadou, a taxi driver sipping sweet mint tea. ''They said they will change things   -but we will see.''

Mauritania's full diplomatic relations with Israel are popular in Washington but less so back home.

Clashes between African and Arab Mauritania in 1989 and  1990  led to ten of thousands of black fleeing or being deported. At the time it was unclear whether Mr Abdellahi would let them back.

His trickiest task was perceived  to be able to tackle slavery, which had resisted three attempts at abolition. At the time, the last law in 1981, banned it but failed to criminalise it.

However, much it is denied, an ancient system of bondage, with black slaves passed on from generation to generation, still plainly exists.  

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Mauritania. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Student Focus '''

Good Night and God bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!