Robert Mugabe, has governed Zimbabwe ineptly for 37 years, rigged elections that could have thrown him out of power early enough. A mere ‘bloodless coup’ last month barred him from dying in power as president of a country whose economy has ‘gone to the dogs’.
There are worse despots than Mr Mugabe.
Mr. Museveni, for example, his critics say he has run out of ideas on public policy, more interested in power than serving, actually most young people (the biggest population) express on a daily basis the ‘Museveni fatigue’ on Facebook and Twitter, blame him for everything that has gone wrong in the country.
He doesn’t have a lot of in the kitchen, as he has even allowed multi nationals to rob Uganda’s economy and cheat the poor country of the little wealth he has helped it generate from 1986.
Neither is Mr Museveni the longest-serving; more autocrats have been in power for longer and political analysts say societies they govern would be doing better, had they stepped down early enough. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. She is the second largest-serving head of state. She assumed the throne in 1952. Just like Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro who should quit really soon, Malaysia’s Najib Razak and Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger.
After 66 years of waving at her subjects, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II should know that it is time to hand over to her son, Charles.
Museveni grew wiser in his second decade in office having liberated Uganda from a fellow dictator, but Museveni’s good intentions for Uganda faded in the third and fourth term. Even though he had started well, he has eventually run out of ideas and come to believe his own propaganda. All power tends to corrupt, and a lifetime of it is irresistibly corrupting.
The best remedies to such folly are term and age limits for presidents and vigorously contested elections. Museveni is trying to have the age limit lifted so he can remain in office for life, and he is likely to succeed because his party NRM has the majority numbers in parliament. Paul Kagame of Rwanda who is hailed as a revolutionary reformer, has tried to glue his trousers to the throne. The constitution in Rwanda has been changed to allow Mr Kagame potentially remain president until 2034.
He says he was ‘forced to run again’, but if he believed in giving someone else chance to lead Rwanda, how come he did not resist ? The entire world thought South Africa would ‘go to the dogs’ after Nelson Mandela stepped down. How will Rwanda or Uganda find another potential leader if no vacuum is created? No matter how long it takes, like it has taken South Africa.
Say what you hate about Donald Trump, he won’t be in the White House for longer than eight years, neither will he attempt to bend the constitution towards his interests.
Why can’t more leaders be like Ellen Jonson? Nelson Mandela did it, Pope Benedict XVI too, and even, at the age of only 51, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan. Bill Gates quit the job that made him the richest man alive and went on to make an even bigger difference as a philanthropist. Regardless of what reasons as to why these powerful leaders retire, the fact remains; they give up power for someone else.
Most leaders, however, think themselves indispensable long after the evidence suggests the opposite.
Knowing when to bow out gracefully is a virtue as essential as it is rare. Museveni should retire in 2018.