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South Africa Votes, Nigeria Seethes; Future of the Rainbow Nation; Imagine a World

Aired May 7, 2014 - 14:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.

Tonight, we focus in depth on Africa. My exclusive interview with the former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan, where he'll weigh in on the shocking kidnap of more than 200 girls from their school in Nigeria as well as the continent's struggle for really transformative change.

And a message of support and strength from Malala Yousafzai later in the program; going to school herself made her a target for terrorists.

But first, they are born free and forging South Africa's future. The Rainbow Nation headed to the polls today and for the first time ever those who never lived under apartheid cast their ballots. And for the first time in five elections during the country's 20 years now of democracy, they are voting without the paternal presence of the country's first post-apartheid president and its hero, Nelson Mandela. He died last December.

Twenty-five million people are registered to vote in South Africa and President Jacob Zuma of the African National Congress is hoping to stay in power. Indeed famously, he said back in 2008 that his party will, quote, "rule until Jesus comes back." Well, most people predict that the ANC will win again, but by what margin as dissatisfaction with the party is growing and the Opposition Democratic Alliance is trying to capitalize on that, insisting that unemployment is much lower in the Western Cape where they're in charge.

Now the nation which is blessed with so many natural resources has seen enormous economic growth under the ANC but poverty and inequality are still sky-high and corruption is rampant, even at the very top.

A recent report charged President Zuma with misusing millions of taxpayer dollars to upgrade his private homestead, building a swimming pool and a cattle enclosure. The issue of corruption in government -- governance is a live one across the continent.

Kofi Annan is a founding member of the Group of Elders. Now he's the chairman of the African Progress Panel and he spent the time since leaving office to push for democracy, conflict resolution and trying to raise up Africa's poorest and most vulnerable.

Mr. Kofi Annan, welcome to the program.


Thank you for joining me.

So let me ask you first and foremost the good news that's happening in South Africa, the first Born Free generation voting.

How do you think that might change the dynamic there?

ANNAN: I think it is important to have that many young people voting for the first time and it's a wonderful phrase, calling themselves Born Free so they have no baggage. They want good governance. They want democracy. They want to be able to exercise their rights. And I think they -- if they vote in right numbers, they will make a difference.

And it's wonderful to see the enthusiasm and the energy with which the young people are going to cast their votes.

AMANPOUR: So now we're obviously going to talk about this big, thick book, the Africa Progress Panel. But obviously South Africa is going to be part of it.

So let's just ask about their economy.

It was going gangbusters for a while. Now it's been eclipsed; it's growing but not very fast. There's a lot of corruption. The ANC seems to feel it has a God-given right as the liberators to stay in power for, as Jacob Zuma once said, until Jesus comes back.

How does a young generation overcome that kind of entrenched special interest?

ANNAN: I think the young generation, I guess in organized civil society is becoming more active and more robust, not just in South Africa, but around the continent. And they're going to put pressure on the leaders to do what is right.

I think what they need is education, health and jobs. And one of the reasons why for example on our -- in our report we stress agriculture, two- thirds of Africans earn their living from agriculture. Others, fishermen earn theirs on the beaches.

And if you can take agriculture seriously and fishing, you create lots of jobs. The people, if they can make a living in rural areas are not going to rush to the cities and end up in shanty towns. But we have, as a continent, ignored Africa. We used to export, be responsible for 8 percent of the world's food supply. We are down to 2 percent.

And so the young people need jobs, they need incentives, they need governments that are transparent and care for the welfare of the people.

AMANPOUR: Well, one of the very rich in natural resources, different resources, is Nigeria, with a massive oil export and reserves, one of the richest countries, the biggest economy in Africa. And yet such a massive disparity of wealth.

Firstly, what is your reaction to some 300 girls who were kidnapped from their school and who Boko Haram are threatening to sell into slavery?

ANNAN: It's abominable. It is something that should not be happening in modern-day Africa. And I think the government should do all it can to get the girls freed.

And I'm very happy that the U.S., the U.K. and other governments are teaming up with Nigeria to resolve this issue. The only way we are going to defeat terrorists is to work together, to work together, share information, make sure they don't move money around and deprive them of their opportunities.

And I wish this had happened earlier, but it is happening. And the Nigerian people are also demanding action.

AMANPOUR: Well, yes, and they're very angry and they've taken to the streets. And you say you wish it had happened earlier; obviously the president, Goodluck Jonathan, is under a huge amount of criticism for virtually ignoring it in public, anyway.

ANNAN: Yes. And I think it is important for governments to realize that security and stability is extremely important not just for the people, for they want to see economic growth, economic development.

When you have this sort of situation it's not just the police. The military can be used. The military, as I said, an important second remission, protection of the population.

AMANPOUR: Right. But here's a very rich country. Here's your report. Here are the facts, that Nigeria, 54 percent live under the poverty line. And in the terrorist area, in northeast, Borno state, et cetera, some 70 percent live on less than $1 a day.

And the police are barely paid properly according to all sorts of reports.

What does the Nigerian government have to do to redress this economic security issue?

ANNAN: I think one of the areas we recommend in the report -- and they are beginning to do something about this, really focus and expand and they're kind of working on agriculture, not everybody can end the 11 (ph) from the oil. And people will face just a case.

Nigeria used to be a good agriculture country. When they discovered oil, everybody focused on that. Two-thirds of Africans, I repeat, make their living from agriculture. And yet we have not invested in agriculture. We haven't made serious efforts to transform agriculture.

We are not making serious efforts to protect our coasts from fish -- and all this can create jobs for the young people and for -- and now they are beginning to look at it serious. They have a dynamic minister of agriculture pushing it ahead.

AMANPOUR: One of the things you also say in this report -- and you're going to say tomorrow -- is that -- let me get this right -- there are more Africans living in poverty now, around 415 million -- than at the end of the 1990s. So that is not good.

But also you say despite the economic growth, there is not the commensurate human resources to make this economic growth truly transformative. You draw a distinction between Africa and what Asia did.

ANNAN: Yes. No, because it is absolutely -- it has to be transformative. We need to try and bridge the gap between the poor and the rich. And we need to ensure education for the young people, particularly girls.

And you have a situation where when you look at the African situation, when it comes to subsidies, for example, about 3 percent GDP goes to subsidies. These subsidies benefit mainly the middle class.

That money should be used to improve the conditions of the poor, to give them education, to create a sort of a safety net that helps them so you can redirect the resources.

And we also make the point that if Africa manages its resources effectively from destruction (ph) industries to agriculture to fisheries, it will earn decent revenues to be able to invest in the welfare of these people.

AMANPOUR: Let me move quickly to Syria, which again has been flying low under the radar. People aren't paying a huge amount of attention to it.

You used to be the U.N. and the Arab League envoy. And I want to ask you about the fact that today there is some news, that under U.N. supervision and Syrian government escort, rebels are being taken out of Homs by bus with their families and perhaps a weapon and put elsewhere in rebel-held territory.

What does that say to you? What does that mean to you? A, that the war is still going on, years after your efforts?

ANNAN: Yes. No, it means the war is still going on. It also means that you have communities which are trapped, which have both -- we shall say rebels, militants in and surrounded by the government forces and nothing moves. And they can't even get in food or get things out.

And I think the arrangement here is by separating the forces, one will be able to help the population that are trapped there. Some of them may also want to leave, but it shows that the war is still going on. No comprehensive cease-fire is in the offing.

And one is looking at these localized arrangements to afford some relief to the population who are trapped there. And of course now the president is talking of elections, which also complicates the process further.

Here you're having peace talks in Geneva. And if while the peace talks is going on a president is being elected, what does that do to the peace process?

AMANPOUR: Well, it's a good question.

What do you think? It sends it nowhere.

ANNAN: That's the challenge, yes.

AMANPOUR: Kofi Annan, former secretary-general, thank you very much for joining me.

ANNAN: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And when we return, we'll have a closer look at the first election for the Born Free generation, South Africa's public protector, Thuli Madonsela. She joins us after a break.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

As South Africans went to the polls today, what does this election mean for future accountability and good governance? Thuli Madonsela is the country's public protector, tasked with fighting corruption at the highest levels. And she joins me now from our bureau in Johannesburg.

Welcome to the program. Let me first start by asking you about this election. You grew up in Soweto. You've seen so many of the changes.

How do you feel at this moment? Is it a positive cutting-edge moment? Or is there still a huge amount of work to be done?

THULI MADONSELA, PUBLIC PROTECTOR, SOUTH AFRICA: Good evening. Thank you for this opportunity. Things have changed very significantly. And those elections is very important to South Africans. And it's primarily about strengthening constitutional democracy and maintaining the way forward.

AMANPOUR: What do you think the new Born Free generation is demanding? What does it want? I mean, some of the statistics show that despite growth in South Africa amongst the young, unemployment is incredibly high, somewhere around 36 percent at the moment.

MADONSELA: Well, our generation, of course, was more concerned about freedom and human rights. In their generation, they're taking freedom for granted. The important thing for them is an economy that allows them to express who they are; in other words, that fulfills the constitutional promise of a free potential of every person.

AMANPOUR: When you say your generation is about human rights and they take freedom for granted because they were born free, literally, what is it that you think that the sort of, you know, Kofi Annan said that this young generation getting involved is going to be calling and demanding for good governance, a lack of corruption, the kinds of things that have plagued your country, the continent and so many other parts of the world.

MADONSELA: That is true. But they are concerned about good governance and they are concerned about ending corruption. But they link that to an economy that is driving, an economy that can give them jobs and that can give them a good education, an economy basically that can allow them to enjoy equal opportunities so that they give to the economy as much as they can and get for the -- from the economy what they deserve.

AMANPOUR: Let's go to the heart of your official job as South Africa's public protector. You were involved -- and obviously led the investigation -- into what has been really a national scandal, the Homestead Ranch in the countryside of President Jacob Zuma, and you concluded that what? That many, many millions of taxpayer money was misused?

What were your conclusions?

MADONSELA: The main conclusion was the 246 million rand was spent; of course, some of that money was properly spent because it is a privilege that any president can enjoy, to have their private homes secured.

However, I also indicated that some of the items that were purchased at state expense had nothing to do with security. Those would include (INAUDIBLE), a swimming pool, a visitors' center and a crawl (ph).

AMANPOUR: Well, you concluded and you recommended that about 20 million rand, I believe it is, be repaid by the president.

First and foremost, did you get any answer when you -- when you made that case to him?

And what was the answer?

MADONSELA: I haven't received a formal answer yet. Within 14 days of that meeting, the report, the president duly advised parliament on what he was going to do and he indicated that he's waiting for a report of the SIU (ph). Well, that's the choice he made, of course, although the SIU is investigating only procurement issues; whereas the investigation done by my office was also looking at whether the things that were procured at state expense were supposed to have been procured.

I'm now waiting for a parliamentary process that will ensure then that the president engages on the issues we have said he should pay for such (INAUDIBLE) not indicate, though, that I didn't quantify the amount of money to be paid. I only indicated the items that should never have been procured at state expense because they're not security items and they were not recommended by security experts.

AMANPOUR: What do you answer, then, to critics who say that if you have been tasked with this major investigation, you came up with conclusions, and the ruling party simply ignores them or doesn't pay any attention, or answer your recommendations, that there needs to be more teeth to these kinds of organizations that are designed to have transparency, accountability and to cut down on corruption.

MADONSELA: I don't think we need any more teeth than we already have, Christiane. The truth is we're part of an accountability framework. The integrity system in South Africa includes Chapter 9 institutions, which includes the public protector. However the courts are also part of the integrity system in parliament, part of the integrity system. The president has not yet addressed parliament on why the things that were purchased outside the security requirements were purchased. He has made informal comments in public and I wouldn't want to apply my mind to those, because they were not made in the proper accountability forum.

But assuming parliament accepts that what was done was right, there's still a court system that would have to apply its mind to my findings and the propriety of the president's response.

As I see, it's the system works well because it has multiple accountability structures.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, on that note, Thuli Madonsela, thank you very much indeed for joining us, South Africa's public prosecutor.

And as a new generation casts their ballots in the country today, elsewhere in the continent more than 200 young people as we know are fighting for their future and their freedom. The kidnapped school girls in Nigeria, of course.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who risked death for the right to go to school herself, has taken on the cause of these abducted school girls in Nigeria. More innocent victims of militants misusing and wielding Islam against girls.

Finding the courage to speak out and fight back when we return.




AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, in Syria, it's a lost generation; in Africa, it's a lost gender. Imagine a world where girls are the most prominent targets of today's terrorists. The nightmare only seems to get darker and more terrifying, especially since almost 300 girls have been abducted in Nigeria, even threatened with being sold at a slave market, all to keep them and others from going to school.

It's a tragic tale that's been recurring for years. Back in 1997, I saw firsthand the horror, where I visited a school in Uganda, where the teacher, Sister Rachele, showed me where 139 girls were abducted in the dark of night by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Now Malala Yousafzai, the courageous Pakistani teenager, has raised her voice and her tweets on behalf of those missing girls in Nigeria.

I spoke to her from Birmingham here in England, her adopted home and where she goes to school. I asked this remarkable young woman how she and others find the courage to speak up and fight back.


AMANPOUR: Why do you think girls are targeted, girls who seek education, who want to be able to read and write and make something of their lives? Why are they such targets, such as yourself, such as these girls in Nigeria?

MALALA YOUSAFZAI, EDUCATION ACTIVIST: When I was in Swat(ph), I also felt -- I also suffered through terrorism. And at that time, more than 400 schools were destroyed. And we could not go to school. And education was banned at that time. And I realized that there are some terrorists who are just using the name of Islam and they're actually afraid of the power of women. They don't want women to get in power, to get education. And they do not want women to achieve their goals.

So I think these terrorists are afraid of women. And that's why they are - - they are kidnapping women. So in my opinion, the international community needs to stand up, because if we remain silent, then this will spread and this will happen more and more.

AMANPOUR: And there is so much fear in these societies, in Pakistan people are still afraid to talk up. You did. You did. But you got criticized for it; let's face it, Malala, you got criticized for it. And also in Nigeria, they are speaking up. But many of the parents are in disguise. They don't want to show their faces. They are trying not to be recognized.

Where do you get the courage to speak out?

YOUSAFZAI: I think that we should always speak the truth. And my father has always taught me that you should believe in yourself and you should continue your campaign and you should always tell the truth to people and you should give the message of peace. And this is what I believe in. And I think that everyone has to die one day.

So if we die a bit early, it does not matter. But we should speak up for our rights. And when we were suffering from terrorism in Swat, if we had remained silent at that time, we would have faced that terrorism forever. But the bigger way was to speak up and to speak for our rights and then die. So I chose the second one because I thought that if we remain silent, then we have to live in such a brutal society where every day people are slaughtered, education is banned, schools are blasted. So the best way that we want to protect ourselves is that we speak up and we speak up for our rights.

And in my opinion, we should speak up for the girls in Nigeria as well.


AMANPOUR: And you can see more of my interview with Malala online at and of course across CNN.

And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always contact us at our website,, and follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.