Some African leaders have left poor legaciesBy BUSINESS DAILY Correspondent | Friday, April 13 2012 at 13:44
African, Middle Eastern and other poor countries provide the world with strange leaders. Senegal was almost becoming another farce in African leadership courtesy of Abdoulaye Wade, who had spent 25 years as an opposition leader.
Despite having come in as a popular leader and having completed two terms as president, he tampered with the constitution in a bid to get a controversial third term in office.
Like many of his African compatriots, the shreds of democratic principles were sacrificed after tasting the fruits of high office for 12 years - the needs of the country and people notwithstanding.
Macky Sall, his former prime minister and ally-turned-foe, got the full support of the opposition leaders during the election run-off, sending the octogenarian home.
And there was the recent saga in Malawi driven by late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Having started out as a reformist like Wade, he almost turned Malawi into another kleptocracy were it not for the vigilant civil society and pressure from the Western world. Sadly he died but it shows that you can’t just trust African leaders.
Despite being the most naturally endowed continent, Africa performs dismally politically, economically and in social realms purely due to myopic leadership.
The political landscape in the continent has changed, but old habits die very hard in Africa.
At the same time, the old appetite for leaving office to favourite sons or allies is gaining currency.
In all this nobody cares about posterity, just the survival of the fittest. Whoever said that people get the leaders they deserve must have been a political genius.
What we see today is a mere reflection of how low we are on modern scales of political maturity. We surely have a long way to go.
Discovery of oil or not the economy has to get a way of absorbing the shocks of political myopia. Is there anything Africa wins straight?
The writer is a consultant and researcher
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