Consignment Of Books Ex-President Sirleaf Provided A foreword Seized In Harare

Ex-Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

MDC deputy chairperson and Harare East legislator Tendai Biti was left furious after the President’s Office reportedly seized a consignment of copies of a book he co-authored with two former Presidents of West African states.

The book, titled Democracy Works: Re-Wiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage, was written by Biti, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as well as Gregory John Barrington “Greg” Mills, who heads the Brenthurst Foundation, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, established in 2005 by the Oppenheimers to strengthen African economic performance. Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf provided a foreword to the book which is set to be launched on 27 March in Johannesburg.

American political scientist Jeffrey Herbst, who is also the President of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, California, co-authored the book. Picador Africa published the book in January this year.

Narrating his ordeal, Biti said: “In early January our publishers sent to Zimbabwe 18 copies of our book Democracy Works through DHL . We were ridiculously asked to pay duty by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), which we did. Now the President’s Office, a euphemism for the CIO, has abducted these books.”

Biti said the courier company DHL just told him the books had been seized by the President’s Office. They were meant to act as samples for his own use ahead of the Johannesburg launch.

Democracy Works explores how we can learn to nurture and deepen democracy in Africa to ensure economic growth and political stability. It identifies a ‘democratic playbook’ to meet the threats to free and fair elections.

The authors also argue that substantive democracy demands more than simply regular polls, but that democracy is fundamentally about the inner working of institutions, the rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, and leadership in government and civil society, as much as it is about values and the welfare and well-being of its citizens.

The authors also argue in the 266-page book that democracy demands that local leadership has a plan for the country beyond simply winning the popular vote.

The seizure of Biti’s consignment is not expected to affect the official launch on 27 March, 2019.

The book is expected to be a big hit on the market, with bookshops at OR Tambo International airport as well as leading SA bookseller Executive Books already displaying the copies for sale.

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