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African Leaders & Power: Moths to a Flame

Leave it to Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's octogenarian ruler and as of today African Union's new chairman, feigning modesty & integrity in his inaugural speech, to embody the Union's members' political dysfunction. Mugabe is not only quite old for an active head of state (he's 91) but he's also been at it for a very long time (35 years). It's telling though that despite his three and a half decades of continuous rule, he's only Africa's third-longest serving leader. And most absurd still is that his country is technically a democracy. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe's model of "monotheistic" democracy is shared by many African countries which led the UN's general secretary, visiting the Union's base in Ethiopia for its annual get-together, to make a public appeal to African leaders to stop clinging to power:

Dear African leaders,

You are kindly requested to refrain from indefinitely clinging to power as this is slightly problematic for the viability of this thing called democracy. I respectably urge you to refrain from "controversial" methods, such as ballot stuffing, constitutional amendments and opposition intimidation/murder, which only serve to prolong your stay in office. In the spirit of cooperation, please give your fellow politicians a chance to lead your country, serve its people and plunder its resources. Surely a 15-20 year rule is enough to quench even the most power hungry of you, do not overdo it.


Ban Ki-moon

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