African leaders: Glued to their seats?


Many trust the old adage that “If I’m sitting on it, I shall stay there”, a formula that applies to most African countries, reports the Missionary International Service News Agency (MISNA).

That is to say that, once they gain power, presidents do everything possible to stay there. Bechir Ben Yahmed, a contributor to Jeune Afrique, has described this characteristic as an “African sickness”. The famous Jeune Afrique has decided to explore this phenomenon by generating an interactive map entitled “Shall he leave or not? The leader’s last Temptation”.

Clicking on a particular country, immediately offers a series of indicators such as time left on the mandate, re-election prospects. The website also offers an up-to-date list of countries where there are no Constitutional limits on term length, which have been red flagged on the map.

The website shows that in Africa, there are as many as 12 States where this is true – including Eritrea which has never staged presidential elections.

The map also shows outgoing presidents such as Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza, Burkinabé Blaise Compaoré, Congolese Denis Sassou Nguesso and DR Congo’s Joseph Kabila, as well as Benin’s Boni Yayi, might tempted to follow the same path.

Jeune Afrique reveals that out of 19 presidents worldwide who took power in the latter half of the 20th century and who are still leading, fourteen or three quarters of that number, feature African leaders.

Ben Yahmed says that they hardly know the meaning of the phrase “the usury of power” as he quotes a statement attributed to Gen. De Gaulle:”Better to leave five years earlier than five minutes too late”.

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