WASHINGTON, (AP) - President Bush is meeting with the leaders of several Western and
Southern African nations later this month to celebrate elections
held last year in each and hold them up as models of democratic
progress on the troubled continent.
The presidents of Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia and Niger
are meeting with Bush on June 13 to "highlight the value that the
United States places on supporting democracy across Africa,"
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Wednesday.
Bush also plans to discuss trade, economic development, combating
AIDS, an upcoming summit of wealthy democracies and regional
conflicts in Africa, McClellan said.
The elections last year saw each of the five nations either
re-elect their leaders or keep the ruling party in power.
Botswana President Festus Mogae won a new term in October
elections that saw his party keep its 38-year lock on power in
one of Africa's most stable, and most prosperous, democracies.
Ghana's President John Kufuor, whose election victory in 2000
marked the country's first-ever democratic transfer of power, won
re-election in December. The country prides itself on leading the
way for a new generation of maturing African democracies.
Armando Guebuza won in December as Mozambique's ruling party
candidate, but the voting was marred by such voter apathy it
raised questions about the health of the emerging democracy in
one of the world's poorest countries.
November elections in Namibia saw the ruling party retain the
presidency and its two-thirds majority in parliament in a
President Mamadou Tandja of Niger, the country's first elected
president to complete his term without assassination or coup, won
won re-election in December.