Clinton Urges African Leaders to Embrace Democracy

Posted August 1st, 2012 at 9:50 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is warning African leaders they must respect their people's rights or be destined to lose power.

Clinton spoke Wednesday at a university in Senegal's capital, Dakar, her first stop on a 11-day African tour that will take her to at least six countries.

In prepared remarks, the secretary noted Africans are demanding change in nations where a small elite prospers while most of the population is stuck in poverty.

She said leaders who suppress dissent, refuse to give up power, and enrich themselves at the expense of their people are — in her words — “on the wrong side of history.”

Clinton outlined the new U.S. strategy toward Africa, which she said is based on the goals of spurring development and economic growth, advancing peace and security, and strengthening democratic institutions.

This is Clinton's first trip to sub-Saharan Africa since President Barack Obama announced his new strategy in June.

In her speech, she praised West African countries such as Senegal, Ghana, and Liberia for maintaining democracy and constitutional order in the face of recent potential crises.

Clinton is due to meet with Senegal's new president, Macky Sall, later Wednesday. Mr. Sall was elected earlier this year, defeating president Abdoulaye Wade, who had refused to honor a two-term limit in the constitution.

Her tour will take her to Africa's newest nation, South Sudan, as well as Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa.

In South Africa, she is due to meet with 94-year-old former president and democracy icon Nelson Mandela.