By Prof .Ali . A . Mazrui,
Does a resource rich Muslim country find it easier or more difficult to stabilize democracy?
Libya has of course been an oil-rich country almost throughout its life since the fall of King Idris in 1969.
Has Libya’s oil wealth helped or hindered its prospects for democratization?
We plan to demonstrate that if the natural resources are discovered after democracy has started maturing, the new wealth would help stabilize the democracy. But if the mineral wealth comes before democratization, it could delay the democratizing process.
LESSONS FROM EUROPE AND AFRICA
A positive example outside Africa is the discovery of oil resources in the waters of Norway and Scotland. This was a case of economic enrichment of already mature democracies. In the case of Norway the oil has strengthened the welfare state and stabilized democratic governance.
In the case of Scotland petroleum initially deepened Scottish nationalism and aggravated separatist sentiment for a while. But the longer term consequences have given Scotland a regional legislature and more solid influence within the United Kingdom. The arrival of economic enrichment after substantial democratization has stabilized the democratic order in both Norway and Scotland.
With a developing country like Libya or Algeria, on the other hand, the petro-wealth preceded stable democratization. The countries became independent with huge economic and political problems which made the postcolonial era inherently unsustainable for long. The oil wealth of Nigeria posed comparable challenges.
Nigeria’s petroleum was mainly in the Eastern region. The debatable point was whether the petro-wealth contributed to the level of self-confidence of Eastern Nigeria. Did this trigger the Eastern-led military coup of January 1966? Did the East seek to control more effectively the petroleum located in their own region? And when Eastern Nigerians later became victims of the Northern counter-coup, and the genocidal anti-Igbo massacres, did the petroleum in the East strengthen the late Ojukwu’s resolve to attempt secession from Nigeria? Pre-democratic petro-wealth had created impediments to Nigeria’s democratic progress.
Another African example of natural wealth before national democratization was the former Belgian Congo upon attaining independence in 1960. Eastern Congo at the time was almost as well-endowed as Eastern Nigeria — but the Congo had Katanga minerals rather than petroleum. Just as oil-wealth later triggered separation and attempted secession in Eastern Nigeria, copper and other mineral wealth inspired Moise Tshombe to attempt the secession of Katanga from the former Belgian Congo.
In the second half of the twentieth century both Nigeria and Congo Kinshasa illustrated the proposition that natural resources before the stabilization of democracy was likely to militate against further democratization.
On the other hand, the Republic of South Africa had selective democracy for white people a century and a half before extending the full franchise to black people and other South Africans of colour. Whites had free and fair elections for themselves but not for the rest of the population. The country had a working parliamentary system, and a judiciary which had relative independence within the constraints of a racial political order. Even at the height of apartheid South Africa was acquiring democratically relevant experience.
Did the fact that South Africa had a racially selective democracy, alongside prior mineral wealth, help post-apartheid South Africa to enhance its democratic order?
While the Congo had seen its democracy collapse within a year of attaining independence, and Nigeria had a military coup in less than six years of attaining sovereign status, South Africa continues to have the most liberal constitution in Africa’s entire history nearly two decades after the end of apartheid.
Post-apartheid South Africa had not only extended the franchise to citizens of colour, but had also abolished the death penalty, enhanced Press freedom, freely elected three different presidents since 1994, recognized gay rights, and legalized same-sex marriage and civil unions. Even selective democracy, combined with simultaneous mineral wealth, provided subsequent opportunities for further democratization.
However, all three well-endowed countries (Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of South Africa) had to confront a shared threat to democracy — the threat of plutocracy. Substantial mineral and petro-wealth in these three countries created potential rivalry between rule by the wealthy and rule by the people. Let us turn to these dilemmas more fully.
DEMOCRACY VS. PLUTOCRACY?
Oil-rich Third World countries are indeed caught between the reality of plutocracy (rule by the rich) and the aspiration towards democracy (rule by the people). The wealth of petroleum creates great disparities in income and major differences in economic power. On the other hand, the population as a whole can become restless for a greater say in how the wealth of the nation is distributed.
In addition to the choice between plutocracy (the power of wealth) and democracy (the power of votes) Algeria was for awhile disrupted by militocracy (the power of soldiers and the military). Indeed, during much of the second half of the twentieth century, Algeria was controlled more by soldiers than by either the economically rich or by people’s power. Nevertheless, the country’s petro-wealth created additional motivation for the military to control the economy.
Here it is worth distinguishing between coup-prone Muslim countries like Pakistan, Mali, Niger, Algeria and Libya, and coup-proof Muslim states which have never experienced military governments since independence. Coup-proof Muslim states include Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia as well as the Kingdom of Morocco.
Indonesia also used to be coup-prone. Even before the twenty-first century Indonesia had become less coup-prone by demonstrating how an incumbent ruling party can be outvoted and be peacefully replaced. When such a change occurs though the ballot box more than once (as it has in Indonesia) the prospects of becoming a coup-proof country improve.
In the case of Iraq and Bangladesh this twenty first century seems to have made those two states less and less coup-prone but unfortunately more and more conflict-prone. Nigeria has also been repeatedly disrupted by conflict and terrorism. And the tensions between Christians and Muslims have often exploded into violence — including terrorism against such foreigners, as United Nations
Pakistan has been both coup-prone and conflict-prone.
In addition to plutocracy, democracy and militocracy, the Muslim world has been struggling with meritocracy (rule by the learned and the skilled). The world has viewed the Ayatollahs of Iran primarily as a religious class. What has been ignored is that the Ayatollahs are also a learned class. Iran is both a theocracy and a meritocracy. Indeed, the Supreme Leader of Iran is one of the three or four best educated political leaders in the world. Of course, the education of the Iranian leadership is Islamic rather than Western.
This educated revolution in Iran can be contrasted with the Congo which in 1960 had only a handful of college graduates in Western terms. Unfortunately the military coup in Lagos is January 1966 interrupted the merit-symphony in Nigeria. Southern leaders in Nigeria in 1960 were educated in the Western tradition. Northern leaders of Nigeria in 1960 were educated in the Islamic tradition.
Ironically, the Nigerian civil war (1967–1970) reactivated elements of meritocracy within the separatist Eastern Region (Biafra). The Igbo had revealed technological skills in the second half of the twentieth century. Indeed, their triumphant economic skills in Northern Nigeria in the 1950s and 1960s contributed to their vulnerability as a people in 1966. For a while Eastern Nigeria was well-endowed in education as well as in petroleum. The East was both skill- intensive and resource-intensive.
During the Nigerian Civil War innovativeness among the Igbo produced black Africa’s first-locally-made gun-vehicles. During that Biafran conflict the Igbo displayed levels of innovation which were unprecedented in post colonial African history. The Igbo created rough-and-ready armed militarized vehicles as well as the beginnings of Africa’s industrial revolution. This renaissance was aborted by the oil bonanza from 1997 onwards.
Although warfare is inherently destructive, it also often releases inventiveness. During the Biafra war Nigeria was more internally innovative than externally prosperous. The Nigerian Civil War produced some of the high points of Nigeria’s experience with technological innovation. Meritocracy manifested itself. However, the Nigerian oil bonanza after the 1973 OPEC price escalation created disincentives to Nigerian enterprise.
In Iran the Ayatollahs were not only educated in the Islamic tradition. The Ayatollahs were ironically also patrons of advanced Western science. Hence Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear physics and atomic expertise for the land of the Ayatollahs.
ON THE SHORES OF TRIPOLI
A fourth resource-rich country which has been instructive was Libya under the late Muammar Gaddafi. Libya was oil-rich long before it could even experiment with democratization. Gaddafi was definitely not ideologically a “democrat,” but he did have some egalitarian tendencies. As a de facto Head of State, he declined such ostentatious titles as “President” and “His Excellency.” His Green Book was not a manual for democracy, but it was a manual for a more participatory society and a more inclusive world system.
Gaddafi used his petro-wealth partly to assert that a small country can be a player on the world stage, and not merely a pawn in the hands of the Big Powers. Over the decades Gaddafi was involved in such international conflicts as supporting the Irish Republican Army, funding the Palestinians, financing Muslim rebels in the Philippines, subsidizing Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam in America, and trying to defend Idi Amin from both his domestic and international adversaries.
Gaddafi also increasingly used his petro-wealth in support of Pan Africanism and the solidarity of African states. He helped finance some of the liberation movements in Southern Africa before the collapse of apartheid. He subsidized some of the meetings of the Organization of African Unity (O.A.U.) and the African Union (A.U.) and some of the projects of Afro-Arab solidarity under UNESCO in Paris, France.
He also allowed citizens of some neighbouring sub-Saharan African countries to find varied kinds of jobs in Libya. He invested in development projects in such countries as Mali, Niger and even Kenya. Gaddafi’s Libya owned multiple hotels in other African countries.
With Libya, as with Nigeria and the Congo, resource-wealth before democratization was an impediment to genuine maturation of democracy. But Gaddafi did try to promote a more egalitarian society, a more inclusive global system, and African solidarity.
On the whole Gaddafi in the last two or three decades in office had been a good African but a bad Libyan. He had been a bad Libyan by being intolerant of dissent, and being too long in power. Although he rejected titles like President or His Excellency, and preferred to live in a tent, he did suppress critics uncompromisingly.
But if he was a bad Libyan, in what sense was he a good African? He had invested in African countries often at great loss and on limited returns for himself. He had financed expensive African conferences from his own resources. He supported the very expensive Arabic translation of the eight-volume UNESCO General History Africa.
Black Africans had jobs in Libya when they were rejected elsewhere. Young Malians who recently enlisted to go and fight for Gaddafi did so out of sentimental attachment to the Libyan leader.
Black faces fighting for Gaddafi were not mercenaries necessarily. Gaddafi’s money could have bought better skilled mercenaries than the peasants of Mali and Burkina Faso. East European mercenaries would have been better trained.
Over dinner in Gaddafi’s tent as his guest some years ago I found myself defending the Arabs against Gaddafi’s hostility. I was also astonished when Gaddafi asked me to send him a copy of my father’s book, The Mazrui Dynasty of Mombasa. It was part of his fascination with Afrabia. The book was published by Oxford University press in the 1990s.
By early January 2011 Gaddafi had paid a price for preferring his African identity. He had alienated fellow Arabs to a disastrous extent. The Arab League virtually gave the green light to the Security Council and the Western powers to bomb Gaddafi’s Libya. His fellow Arabs threw him under the bus!
On the other hand, Gaddafi’s Libyan adversaries in Benghazi had been stimulated by the pro-democracy uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt [“the Arab spring”]. Petro-wealth had not prepared Libyans for democracy, but the fall of Hosni Mubarak opened up new democratic possibilities. What Libya’s oil could not achieve, Libyan revolutionaries tried to accomplish with the help of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and American air power.
It is not clear how far Gaddafi allowed himself to be constrained by Islamic law both as a leader and as treasurer of his country’s wealth. He might have found a way of paying Zakat (Islamic tax). But he was certainly unsure whether Islamic
Banking, with its distrust of interest, was appropriate for the billions of petro-dollars generated by Libya’s oil-industry.
How much of the petroleum of both Africa and the Middle-East comes from countries which are subject to the Sharia. The biggest Sharia producers of petroleum are of course Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, the United Arab Emerites. Their national systems of law are partly informed by Islamic law.
There are other oil-producers which are selectively subject to the Sharia either in chosen portions of law (such as personal law) or chosen provinces of the country (such as the Sharia states of Nigeria). Such partial Sharia oil-producers also include Iraq, Bahrein, Algeria, and the contested area bordering the Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan.
SHARIA LESSONS FROM NIGERIA
It used to be said in the 20th century that “Where there was sand, and there were Muslims, there might be oil.” This coincidence was because the deserts of the Middle East had yielded billions of gallons of petroleum.
But although Nigeria is the largest concentration of Muslims on the African continent, the Nigerian oil is not located primarily in Muslim areas. Similarly the oil in the two Sudans may indeed coincide with a lot of sand, but not necessarily with a lot of Muslims.
In the Old Sudan a combination of the Sharia in the North and the discovery of oil in the South crystallized separatist demands from the South.
In Nigeria the concentration of both petro-wealth and political power in the South helped to trigger Islamic nationalism in the North. Aspects of Shariacracy illustrated what was exceptional about Nigeria while other aspects of the Sharia manifested what was typical of postcolonial Africa as a whole.
SHARIACRACY BETWEEN TYPICALITY AND EXCEPTIONALISM TYPICALITY
Nigeria inherited a legal system based primarily on British law, but with minor amendments to suit local conditions in each colony. Typical of other colonies.
Nigeria is the only African country outside Arab Africa which has seriously debated an alternative to the western constitutional and legal option.
Both constitutional arrangements and criminal
law were primarily based on western systems of order.
That is what the debate about the Sharia is partly about.
The language of interpreting the constitution
and interpreting the laws was the imperial language, English.
In Nigeria, as in most former colonies, this imperial and legal order was seriously flawed and did not deliver constitutional stability or respect for law. Whither Rule of Law?
Exceptionalism includes the fact that Nigeria is the largest concentration of Muslims on the African continent.
Exceptionalism therefore includes the fact that Nigeria has more Muslims than any Arab country, including Egypt.
But can exceptionalism support Sharia at the State level combined with secularism at the federal level?
BETWEEN LINGO-CONSTITUTIONALISM AND RELIGIO-CONSTITUTIONALISM TYPICALITY
Whether a federal system should permit cultural self-determination for its constituent parts has been faced by other federations before.
Initially Nigeria’s federation allowed cultural self-determination for neither language nor religion.
Switzerland concedes cultural self- determination but in terms of language but not religion. Some cantons are officially French-speaking, some German-speaking, some Italian-speaking.
What the Sharia debate has opened up is
whether religion, rather than language, should be the basis of the cultural self-determination for constituent units in Nigeria.
India concedes cultural self-determination in terms of language — different states have a lot of say on the official language of the state.
In Quebec English-speaking Canadians have no choice but to put up with Francophone state schools and Francophone road signs.
Canada is coming to terms with a Quebec which insists on making French the sole language of Quebec. The English-speaking minority in Quebec is disadvantaged.
In Zanfara should non-Muslim Nigerians
similarly have to accept their minority status
and conform? Or is that undemocratic?
Is an imposed lingo-cultural policy any different from an imposed religio-cultural policy for the relevant minorities?
THE GENDER QUESTION IN OIL-RICH AFRICA
Let us return to the late Gaddafi before he was lynched by his own people. Muammar Gaddafi had ruled Libya since the military coup of 1969. He had been less important as a social or religious reformer domestically than in his efforts to be a political player globally. How far did Islam affect his attitude to women and the gender question?
On the gender question Gaddafi used symbolism. Far from regarding women as unsuited for military roles, or incapable of using firearms efficiently,
Gaddafi theoretically entrusted his life to female bodyguards. These were often referred to as “the Amazons.” Women in oil-rich Libya were more liberated than in oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Was Gaddafi influenced by the memory of the widow of the Prophet Muhammad Aisha? She participated in the Battle of the Camel during the Caliphate rivalry. She was riding in the middle of the battle.
The Pope in history has had the physical protection of the Swiss guards and the spiritual protection of the Virgin Mary. Gaddafi had women body guards who were spiritually required to be virgins.
On the link between virginity and military effectiveness, Gaddafi in North Africa in the 21st century had shared a characteristic with Shaka Zulu of South Africa in the eighteenth century. Shaka wanted his male soldiers to be celibate, totally denying themselves sex. Gaddafi had wanted his female guards as virgins from the start — and committed to celibacy until military retirement.
But since the 2011 Libyan war erupted in the second half of February 2011, there had been no evidence of female soldiers protecting Gaddafi. Actually, there had been more female warriors in the opposition in Benghazi than among Gaddafi’s forces in Tripoli.
BLACK WOMEN IN THE CROSSFIRE
Much more interesting was Gaddafi’s decision from the 1990s that he was an African first and an Arab second. He got disenchanted with fellow Arabs — having first begun as a Pan-Arabist. His gender policy was perhaps more African than Arab. And in his last twenty years in office he had put his money more in Pan-African ventures than in Pan-Arabist projects. He saw himself less and less as heir to Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and more and more as heir to Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. His foreign policy was less informed by Islam than by anti-imperialism. His colorful dress culture was more reminiscent of West Africa than of the Arabian Peninsula.
Let us now look at the gender question more broadly in postcolonial Africa. Uganda had gold mines before it prospected for oil. Did this affect gender?
Uganda has had a woman for vice-president under Yoweri Museneni (on and off) since the 1990’s, but Uganda had a woman foreign minister as far back as the regime of Idi Amin in the 1970’s. This female empowerment occurred during the only period when Uganda had a Muslim head of state — Idi Amin Dada.
Both Liberia and Kenya have repeatedly had women presidential candidates who had campaigned hard for the ultimate political office. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia did lose to Charles Taylor and Charity Ngilu in Kenya did lose to Daniel Arap Moi. But both women put a spirited fight and demonstrated substantial support. Since then Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has served as the first elected woman President in Africa’s history. She has since shared the Nobel Prize for Peace of 2011 with two other women, one Christian (a Liberian) and one Muslim (a Yemeni). The Yemeni was the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Prize for peace.
In the 1980’s Winnie Mandela was the most famous African woman in the world. She was of course a South African. Mrs. W. Sisulu was another high ranking South African woman. Frene Ginwalla served as Speaker of the post-apartheid parliament in the Republic of South Africa before the United States had a female Speaker in the House, Nancy Pelosi.
In Nigeria’s public sphere, the strongest Muslim men since independence have been disproportionately Northerners, but the strongest Muslim women have been in the South. But even in the South Christian women in Nigeria have led the way.
Nigeria for quite a while was at the level of having its highest-ranking woman as a minister for women’s affairs. Nigeria has since moved up to have full Cabinet level female Ministers as well as Ministers of State. Female empowerment has since included a brilliant woman-Minister of the economy. This may be significantly better than a number of other African countries. Female Nigerian talent has included reciprocal transfer between the Nigerian Government and the World Bank in Washington, DC. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has served both as Director of the World Bank and Nigeria’s Finance Minister. In 2012 she was even nominated as a candidate for President of the World Bank. She had considerable international support, but she did not win.
On the other hand, Nigerian women are among the most economically independent in the whole of Africa. Regardless of religion, they are assertive individuals, and many of them know how to play the market. In some cities a female plutocracy is in the making.
As for Nigerian women in scholarship and science, Christian women compare better with men. It is true that Liberia had a woman president of a university long before Nigeria had a woman Vice-Chancellor, but as a country Liberia has since been led by a woman Nobel Laureate. And now Nigeria is catching up — first with a woman Vice-Chancellor at the University of Benin and later another female chief executive at the University of Abuja. Lagos State also started early with female academic leadership. Female academic leaders have become widespread.
Nigerian educational institutions are in dire financial straits, but within these constraints there is optimism that Nigerian women professors will not be left too far behind Nigerian men in the arts and, hopefully, in the sciences and engineering. Muslim women naturally excel in Islamic and Qur’anic studies, but they are entering secular studies in larger and larger numbers in this new century.
How does the gender divide relate to the digital divide? And what indeed is the digital divide?
The digital divide arises out of either unequal access to the computer and the Internet or unequal skill in utilizing them. I have repeatedly raised the issue of whether there is a digital divide between different ethnic groups in Nigeria. Were certain ethnic groups in Southern Nigeria more computer literate than certain ones in the North? Were the reasons cultural or due to different degrees of economic access to computers? Does that mean that in Nigeria Muslims of either gender are less computer-competent than Christian? The evidence suggests that.
On this occasion, I would like to relate the digital divide to gender rather than to ethnicity. Among Africans in the Diaspora there is strong evidence that African women are almost keeping pace with African men in computer literacy. At a conference at the Ohio State University at the beginning of June 2000 on “The Internet and Culture Change,” about half of the paper presenters were African women, complete with computer demonstrations and illustrations in the course of the conference, operated by the women themselves. Computer-literate women have since multiplied. A female meritocracy is in the making.
All this is quite apart from the phenomenon of African-American women (as distinct from women directly from Africa). It is even clearer among African Americans that the women are keeping pace with the men in computer skills. Indeed, African American women may already be outstripping their men in those skills, as well as in education more generally. Indeed, a high proportion of young Black males are in prison cells at the same time as females are in classrooms.
Women are getting computerized; men are getting convicted. The gender divide is being widened by an inter-Black digital divide. The first Black First Lady in the White House is probably the most computer literate First Lady in U.S. history (Michelle Obama). At least as remarkable is that the United States has elected the first President whose father was born a Muslim, and the first American Head of State with a Muslim middle name [Hussein].
TOWARDS THE FUTURE
One additional unresolved question is whether petro abundance in a developing country aggravates male dominance. At least four Muslim countries have produced a female President or female Prime Minister — Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey and Indonesia. Together those four countries have produced five female Heads o Government or Heads of State. None of those four countries are abundantly rich in oil, although Indonesia is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC].
The Muslim world has produced two female leaders in one of the poorest countries [Bangladesh], a female leader in the most Westernized Muslim country [Turkey], a female leader in the only Muslim country which is a nuclear power [Pakistan] and a female leader in the most populous Muslim country in history and on planet earth [Indonesia].
What the Muslim world has not produced is a female leader from any of the richest of the oil-producing countries. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Kuwait are petro-abundant but rather limited in the empowerment of women.
Kuwaiti’s petrowealth also laid the foundations of a plutocracy — rule by the wealthy. Kuwaiti women participated in the plutocratic bonanza, but way behind Kuwaiti male beneficiaries.
Women as voters were slow to wield their influence in Iraq. However, women as parliamentarians have increased in this era after Saddam Hussein, and some have served as Cabinet Ministers in the Executive Branch. A Woman-Head of State in Iraq was inconceivable during the era of militocracy (rule by soldiers). But a female President in the Arab Spring is conceivable as part of democratization before the middle of this twenty-first century. What Pakistan and Bangladesh achieved may be repeated by an Arab Woman in the years ahead.
Women as part of the new meritocracy may soon be winning more Nobel Prizes in different fields in the Arab world.
Oil-wealth had been an impediment to democratization in the first fifty years of post-Ottoman Arab independence. As this twenty-first century unfolds further, will the empowerment of women be the vanguard of wide democratic change? Will petro-wealth at last be the mother of government by the people rather than government by the affluent? The answer lies in the womb of history.
We have attempted to illustrate how resource-richness before democratization reduces the motivation for democratic reforms. Wealth which is not created but only mined produces an affluent elite of leisure rather than an elite of labor. The system which emerges is closer to a plutocracy (rule by rich) rather than democracy (rule by the people). We have used examples from oil-producing countries (Nigeria, Algeria, and Libya) and two resource-rich but not oil-based economies (South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Other countries were also mentioned to sharpen points of comparison and contrast.
The Muslim world has experienced a rich systemic diversification since independence. The ummah has experimented with federalism, militarism, liberal democracy, meritocracy and Islamic Law (the Sharia). But the ummah still needs an architecture of governance which is solidly institutionalized.
While pre-democratic petro-wealth slows down democratization, it does produce opportunities for a welfare state. Gaddafi’s Libya was a kind of welfare state – affording medical, educational, residential and other forms of subsidies to the citizens. Saudi Arabia is a welfare state for Saudi citizens but not for the millions of foreign workers. Are the Emirates similar?
Nigeria’s petro-wealth did not result in a welfare state to serve all Nigerians but resulted in a local oil market which was subsidized. Until recently Nigerians would get their petrol below market-value. There were also many occasions when poor Nigerians helped themselves to oil outside the constraints of the law.
The dilemma for an oil-rich developing country is between using the national resources to create a welfare state or allowing its citizens to have subsidized access to the commodity without a welfare state.
In the case of Nigeria subsidized oil and cheaper petroleum reduced the cost of energy locally, but without a national health service or subsidized housing. Gaddafi’s Libya, on the other hand, had provided elaborate welfare-services without necessarily subsidizing the local energy-market.
Subsidizing petroleum does help those who own cars, and promotes cheaper electricity. But such subsidies are more elitist and more selective than is a full-scale welfare state.
Abundant oil-wealth may not necessarily help political democratization but it can enhance economic rights and promote welfare opportunities for the citizenry.
In the case of Algeria subsidized energy was one of the benefits of petro-wealth. While in the first fifty years of independence Algeria was very coup-prone, the new political horizons have reduced the frequency of military rule but have aggravated conflict-situations. Both Algeria and Bangladesh have become less coup-prone but unfortunately still highly vulnerable to conflicts. Pakistan is both coup-prone and subject to terror, but without oil wealth.
The struggle for democracy and the struggle for peace have become conjoined. It is still an open question when the abundant resources of each country would become a force for stability rather than a trigger of discord. The struggle continues.
*Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), Prime Minister Khaleda Zia (Bangladesh) Prime Minister Hasina Rahman Wajed (Bangladesh), Prime Minister Tansu Çiller of Turkey and President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia.
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