Annan was speaking at the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa held this week in Bahir Dar in Ethopia. Former President Thabo Mbeki was one of the delegates who attended the annual forum.
Annan said leaders who stay in power when their tenure had ended, leave their countrymen with no choice, but to forcefully remove them from power.
Annan said Africa had done well and that large-scale coups were less common.
“If a leader doesn’t want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out is through a coup or people taking to the streets. [sic]
“Neither approach can be seen as an alternative to democracy, to elections or to parliamentary rule. Constitutions and the rules of the game have to be respected.”
Annan is not the first to express these sentiments. Addressing the African Union in Addis Ababa in Ethopia in 2015, US President Barack Obama criticised African leaders who refused to leave their post after their tenure had ended, saying that this put the continent’s democratic progress at risk.
“Let me be honest with you – I just don’t understand this. I am in my second term– I love my work but under our constitution, I cannot run again. I actually think I’m a pretty good president: I think if I ran I could win, but I can’t.
“There’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law’s the law and no one person is above the law, not even the president. I’ll be honest with you, I’m looking forward to life after being president. I won’t have a great security detail all the time. I can take a walk, spend more time with my family, look for new ways to serve, and make more visits to Africa,” Obama was quoted saying by The Guardian.