The year is not ended yet but 2017 African leadership will be remembered for the unprecedented break in the dictatorial style of leadership.
While there are still a few authoritarian leaders left in African polity, having the likes of Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, Angolas Dos Santos and the all time freedom fighter turned tyrant, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe bow out of their long dominated thrones, is a plus for the continent.
Change does not happen overnight. It starts with an undying step by step persistence.
The sit tight syndrome is known to be one of the major setbacks in African leadership.
To keep power, some African leaders ruthlessly evoked awkward circumstances in their countries. To constitutionally achieve the unlawful bid, attempts were made to increase ruling tenures in several countries.
A great majority of African politicians and leaders have been known to be power thirsty.
With the latest happening in Zimbabwe, the status quo with ignoring the duration of leadership may never be the same again.
The military ousting of Mugabe makes a very big statement in the African system.
Robert Mugabe is one of the most popular African presidents in history, most definitely for his strong dictatorial personality. The legendary self-imposed tyrannical “Monarch” at 92 had become the oldest incumbent president in the world.
Till the time of the bloodless coup, Mugabe was able to withstand various coup attempts, oppositions and pressure from his country and the international community.
Another remarkable thing about this development is the no interference (for the much known now) from the Western world.
Unlike the ousting of Muamar Gaddafi and the following destruction of Libya, Zimbabwe seems to be looking good.
Already the country has gone through a frustrating downward trend economically and politically. A violent coup would have worsened an already bad situation.
Though unconstitutional, the bloodless coup which took place a week after the demotion of VP Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeded in breaking the strong man who has ruled for nearly 4 decades. And what’s more, the coup did not disrupt the peace of the nation.
Call it a soft but effective revolution, the truth is that Africa is gradually getting to the point where the people are desperately bold to call out for the need to change the repeatedly used and failed leadership system in the continent.
Zimbabwe’s latest victory is indeed a victory for Africa. It has set an example for other power thirsty leaders across the continent.
At the moment these are some African strong men we would love to call it a day in administrative leadership. These are the presidents that have exceeded the constitutionally permitted time frame to rule.
- Teodoro Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) – 38 years
- Paul Biya (Cameron) – 35 years
- Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) – 31 years
- Omar al-Bashir (Sudan) – 28 years
- Idriss Deby Chad – 27 years
- Isaias Afewerki (Eritrea) 24 years
- Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo) – 20 years
- Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Algeria) – 18 years
- Ismail Omar Guelleh (Djibouti) – 18 years
- Paul Kagame (Rwanda) – 17 years
- Joseph Kabila (DRC) – 16 years
Though ruling for the 3rd term, it is worthy of mention that Rwanda’s Kagame secured his current tenure with the permission of his people following a referendum.
In January, Yahya Jammeh, the 2nd president of the Gambia(1994-2017) and currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea was forced to step down after refusing to concede defeat after the country’s elections in 2016. He was warned and pressured by a coalition of AU, UN and ECOWAS forces.
Earlier in the year, Angola’s José Eduardo dos Santos stepped down on his own in the month of August. Having ruled from 1979-2017 (38 years) and after much calls to resign, the former Angolan leader decided not to stand for re-election as party president, and de facto state president.