By Kesah Princely, Njodzeka Danhatu & Paul Njie
Algerian football players, went to Egypt, saw and conquered the AFCON: but how will this coveted trophy be received amidst the political imbroglio in Algiers? The champions will be returning home to meet the turmoil which continued even after the departure of long-time president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
How the AFCON joy and the political quagmire will be placed on the same pendulum is what many are yet to decifer. Can this cup actually bury the political hatchet in the homeland of Riyad Mahrez?
While political scientists in Algeria are still struggling to seek a solution to the ongoing political upheavals in the country, many nationls now believe that, the recent triumph of the Desert Foxes, at the just ended AFCON may be a sine qua non for the return of long lasting peace in the former French colony.
The North African team went to the 2019 AFCON in Egypt with full determination despite the fact that, the state of affairs in their fatherland was in bad shape.
Just like Italian poet, Wilfred Orwell, the North African foot soldiers marched up the mountain of glory with undiluted patriotism; not losing a single match from the group stage to the finals where the veteran striker, Baghdad Bounedjah scored the magnificent goal which handed the Foxes their first AFCON crown in 29 years.
Just as Cameroon rocked by national crises won the 2017 AFCON edition, many Algerians are convinced that the country’s exploits in Egypt can heal the wounds and somehow reconcile their country.
It is arguably indubitable, that the new football champions of Africa have rained smiles on the faces of Algerians. However, if the politicians of that Country want to maintain the joy that came with the gold metal from Egypt, it is about time they unconditionally met all the demands of the disgruntled ordinary citizens.
If this is done, only then can the streets of Algiers receive the light of 32nd edition of the 24 team historic Africa Cup of Nations.
State of Affairs in Algeria.
The country has recently witnessed countless demonstrations from its citizens. This due to the economic challenges that the oil-rich Arab country is going through.
At the face of these economic lacuna, the Patriots thought it was wise that power changed hands. One man, Bouteflika, for 20 years dictated the tune of the Nation’s affairs with an iron fist.
The unruly Abdelaziz Bouteflika deprived Algerians of democracy which they admired from the West.
The anger of the chagrined people reached crescendo when the ailing 82 year-old president announced his candidacy for a fifth mandate.
Following two weeks of massive protests, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned on April 3, 2019.
His resignation was celebrated with euphoria by many as though the country’s problems had been laid to rest.
Senate President, Abdelkader Bensalah, then assumed the sacred office as per the constitution, to organize elections in 90-days.
Not long after that, the same Algerians stormed the streets again demanding for the departure of Bouteflika’s allies. Interim President Bensalah, Army Chief of staff Ahmed Gaid Salah, Parliament’s Speaker, Mouad Bouchareb all became targets of the revolution.
The elections planned for July 4, were postponed indefinitely. The people have been bent on making sure that the political system of the former regime is refurbished.
That is why, Bouteflika’s brother (formerly considered defacto leader), former Prime Minister, National Liberation Front Party’s Chairman are languishing in prison.
Mouad Bouchareb, Speaker of Parliament equally resigned recently.
The winning of AFCON may be a turning point to push for the resignation to those allies who are still clinging to power.