African countries that kill their generals, become rich Wait for it. In a few hours the United Nations summit on the Millennium Development Goals starts in New York. The MDGs are targets world leaders set in 2000 to significantly improve the welfare of the people in the less developed countries of the world by 2015. During the summit, several countries will be recognised for their achievements. In East Africa Rwanda, will top the awards, taking the gongs for Goal 4 (Reducing child mortality). Kigali has reduced under-five child mortality by impressive two thirds between 1990 and 2015. It will also take the cup for Goal 5 (Improving maternal health). The Rwandese have also reduced the maternal mortality by two thirds. The biggest winner in Africa is Ghana, which has already met the targets set in 2000 for reducing poverty. A report on MDGs published during the week by Britains leading think-tank on international development, the Overseas Development Institute, showered praises on Ghana. The country outperformed all others around the world by reducing hunger by nearly three-quarters, from 34 per cent to 9 per cent, between 1990 and 2004. According to ODI, 10 African countries, including Ethiopia, Egypt and Angola, have already halved their absolute poverty levels. Angola and Niger have reduced their under-five mortality ratios by more than 100 per 1,000 deaths in less than two decades. Benin ranked in the top 10 in education improvements with school enrolment increasing from 43 to 83 per cent between 1992 and 2007. But it is Ethiopia that aced it, raising primary school enrolment to 15.5 million, an increase of over 500 per cent. Several other African made some progress too. There is something striking about the best performers in Africa. Over 95 per cent of them are countries ruled by soldiers-turned-civilian presidents, who went through years of military rule. In Ghana, the eccentric and meddlesome Flt. Lt. Jerry Rawlings, freshly in power, in June 1979 went on a spree and executed five former military men in Ghana. I have noted before, African countries where former leaders were killed during or after coups, and where the old political interests were scattered during armed struggle, have recorded the most social and economic improvement. Coups, executions, and wars tend to dismantle conservative interests that frequently protect old ways and stand in the way of reform. Nigeria had countless coups, but despite remarkable excellence in certain sectors, a lot of the country is still in a mess. Well, the Nigerians generally dont execute their generals. When they did, they killed the wrong one Gen. Murtala Mohamed, on February 13, 1976. Murtala is considered by some to be the most progressive Nigerian military ruler ever. In 201 days he did for Nigeria what other military rulers failed to do for the next 20 years. I am wishing I am wrong here, but the evidence seems to suggest that you are more likely to progress faster in Africa if you get rid of the old order violently. Secondly, that not just any gunman will be do as president. You need one, who even if he is evil, has a strong progressive line on social investment. Finally, you also require something else good rains for the farmers. Opinion article by by Charles Onyango-Obbo, The East African My Take; Makala hii ni ya kusisimua na ni ya ukweli kwa kiasi kikubwa kuhusu maendeleo yanayopatikana katika nchi za Bara hili. Nimeona tuijadili makala hii kwa kuzingatia kitu kimoja -- kwamba Tanzania daima imekuwa ni kisiwa cha amani tangu uhuru, lakini 'amani' hii haijapata kutumiwa vizuri kuleta maendeleo, badala yake wanasiasa na viongozi wameichukulia amani hiyo kama mwanya wa kujitajirisha kwa njia za kifisadi huku wakiimba 'amani'. Pengine ni kwa sababu hakuna kiongozi mwanajeshi aliyeuawa?