Thursday, January 27, 2005

The more things change...

African leaders manipulating the national constitution to allow themselves to become presidents-for-life is current fashion among African heads of state. Guinea's Lansana Conté, Tunisia's Ben Ali and Togo's Gnassingbé Eyadema (all generals incidentally) all succeeded at such trickery. Others, like Zambia's Frederick Chiluba, Ghana's Jerry Rawlings and Namibia's Sam Nujoma, were less successful.

Burundi's leader Domitien Ndayizeye is the latest to attempt such constitutional manipulation. The difference is that Ndayizeye wasn't even elected in the first place. He is the country's INTERIM president and was NAMED so as the result of a painstaking negotiated peace deal between the Burundian government and rebels.

African countries which are stuck with "leaders" like Ndayizeye and Conté, will remain mired in stagnation. Those that reject the monarchical president for life model will have a chance of moving forward.


At 7:56 AM, Blogger Chippla Vandu said...

I always like to think that 'a country is much greater than the person who leads it'. A leader is here for a while but a country exists, well, not for eternity, but for generations.

Eyadema is a disgrace. How on earth he has managed to remain in power for such a long time surprises me.

You left out Museveni of Uganda who will likely seek a third term in office, if ongoing constitutional reforms go his way.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Brian said...

"I always like to think that 'a country is much greater than the person who leads it'."

Indeed. Which makes African leaders all the more frustrating. I've seen how hard Africans work and how ingenious they are and if that energy could be channelled in ways beyond mere subsistence, the continent would be in a lot better shape.

"You left out Museveni of Uganda..."

I left out others too. Kenya's Moi tried. Egypt's Mubarak did, I believe. I think Gambia's Jammeh is trying.


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