For African leaders, it’s rule ’til thy death

06 Oct

By Stephen Twinoburyo, Pretoria.

I find this comparison between the ages of African leaders and those of the other world quite telling:

African Leaders:

Abdulai Wade  (Senegal), age 83, Hosni Mubarak (Egypt), 82, Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), 86, Hifikepunye Pohamba (Namibia), 74, Rupiah Banda (Zambia), 73, Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), 71, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), 75, Colonel Gaddafi (Libya), 68, Jacob Zuma (South Africa), 68, Bingu Wa Mtalika (Malawi), 76, Paul Biya (Cameroon), 77, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), 66. Average Age: 72 yrs.

Other World Leaders:

Barrack Obama (USA), age 48, David Cameron (UK), 43, Dimitri Medvedev (Russia), 45, Stephen Harper (Canada), 51, Julia Gillard (Australia), 49, Nicolas Sarkozy (France), 55, Luis Zapatero (Spain), 49, Jose Socrates (Portugal), 53, Angela Merkel (Germany), 56, Herman Van Rompuy (Belgium), 62. Average Age: 51.

Of the above African leaders, Hosni Mubarak, Robert Mugabe, Colonel Gaddafi, Paul Biya and Yoweri Museveni have ruled their countries for 24 years and above. Yoweri Museveni of Uganda earlier this year said he hopes to retire when he is 75.

They say numbers have their own language of communication. You can make your own conclusion but it seems when it comes to African leaders, it’s ‘rule til thy death’.

Of course one need also to compare the delivery level of the two groups.


Posted by on October 6, 2010 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs


21 responses to “For African leaders, it’s rule ’til thy death

  1. Matsiko

    October 6, 2010 at 12:34

    Stephen , thank you for the piece because it leaves alot to be disscused by those seeking to see a new dispensation in our respective countries espcially UGANDA WHICH IS HEAVILY BLEEDING BECAUSE OF THE UN APOLOGETIC DICTATOR MUSEVENI!
    Change must be achieved by 2011 and I know very well it wont be a smootth ride but we have to bring about the much coveted change by highlighting the very need and desire for a new dawn in Kampala and Uganda at large,

  2. Ruhindayo

    October 6, 2010 at 14:10

    @ Matsiko; wouw.. those are very strong words. Are we talking of the same Museveni? My President.

    • Matsiko

      October 7, 2010 at 07:53

      Mr. Ruhindayo, Yoweri has reached a level where he thinks the country belongs to him and his family and he is about to declare himself life president, rem. currently we have Museveni, the president, Museveni the Minister in charge of northern Uganda robbery programme and Museveni the top army chief in charge of special forces!
      He does not think any more for our poor peasantry majority but only for his family and those cronies of his. In short he has out- lived his usefulness and deserves to retire to his country farm in Rwakitura so as to give chance to other upcoming leaders in our motherland.

  3. Christopher

    October 6, 2010 at 14:49

    There has been a sneaky e-mail going around about these same statistics. It goes on to draw a conclusion that, 72 years, the average age the African leader, if compared with 51 years, the average in more developed countries, gives you the number of years (20) that Africa lags behind the first word.
    This may be a question of data mining but it probably highlights one of Africa’s problems where it looks there is no position for living past leaders in our societies.
    Or do Africans still need Kings who rule till nature or their enemies decide their fate?

  4. Twino Speaks

    October 6, 2010 at 15:29

    You make an good observation Christopher. Considering that most of the African leaders featured above are not considering leaving presidency until death do them part, and that the the voters in the other group are electing progressively younger leaders (Labour & Conservatives in Britain), the gap is likely to widen and we are likely to lag far more behind.

  5. Michael Mwase

    October 6, 2010 at 16:57

    Big up to your analysis. The only difference between the current African leaders and Amin is that Amin was bold enough to tell everybody what he was about to do(declare himself life president). These presidents are just shying away from this simple fact. Man keep it up. this energizes our brains to think further.

  6. Peter Genza

    October 6, 2010 at 22:17

    Hi Stevo, very insightful. If you do not mind my saying so, I honestly think that the majority of these African septuagenarians are jackasses. Look at the common threads that weave through their collective actions-steal elections in broad day light and then wipe your mouth and say you are the people’s choice; bleed the country dry and claim you are doing the people you rob from a favor; delude yourself into thinking that after you the country dies so it owes you a big one to keep you in power at all costs; fail to provide the basic essentials (good roads, medicines in hospitals, justice) for the people you rule with tyranny so that you keep them perpetually enslaved so you can ruler over them for life; use carrot and stick methods in virtually all sectors of the country so they will lick your boots just to be able to survive; turn the country into your family property, with virtually every member of your family “entitled” to piece of the hapless land; be the solution to all problems ranging from how people can pass remove jiggers from their feet when teachers can have their salaries increased. And on and on ad nauseam. Jackasses.

  7. Martin

    October 7, 2010 at 09:01

    For me the ‘ages’ reveal that on average to become a president you have to be within the 45-55 age bracket. This applies to both developed and ‘ever developing countries that do not become developed’. What is important to note however, is that presidents tend to perform better during their initial stay in power. This is often the case because the new presidents still feel bounded by the promises they made to the electorate/supporters before they came to power. They have to show that their governance is better than the previous ones. This phase of the presidency is the most beneficial to the electorate and a country. There is always some improvements within a country that has just elected a new president, save for the isolated cases of Kenya. Given the ages of the presidents that you provided, it follows that countries are likely to benefit most when their presidents are within the 45-60 age bracket.

    The second phase of any presidency tend be characterised by self-praise for the good done in phase one, and personal preservation within the presidency. Resources are channelled from doing good for the country to self preservation. In many developing countries this manifests its self in the increased security details of a president, using verbal abuse rather than positive actions to castigate actions of the past government e.t.c. This phase that should be avoided and I guesss that is why term limits were made part of conventional elective democracy. This second phase kicks in when the average president’s age is above 60 if your figures are right!!

    Just thinking!!

  8. Abubaker Kintu Basajjabaka

    October 7, 2010 at 10:41

    In Africa, we begin late! Late to go to school, late to mature due to poor feeding and poor medical response etc.

    Museveni’s generation includes people who could have started school when they were about 8 or so years. So, by the time they make a round through to university, they would definitely clamour for responsibility and some role to occupy them. As they begin to enjoy, age catches up thus the desire to cling and die in power.

    Otherwise, I’m very positive that this is likely to be outgrown with people like Nobert Mao, Obedi Bwanika, Lubega etc.

  9. Matsiko

    October 7, 2010 at 11:51

    David Cameroon is one of the young leaders mentioned in Stev’s piece above.This morning in The we see the British PM coming out in full swing to show his unreserved support for FDC/IPC President Kizza Besigye. Cameroon is a the new face of the British Government and he has come to the world scene to right the wrongs of the previous UK labour government.
    He is sending a clear message to Museveni that it about time another leader takes over and restores order in Uganda come 2011. My take is that FDC/IPC has what it takes to govern Uganda come 2011, it has the trust of the majority of our people and the required international influence to bring the desired change in our motherland. Your take on this matter is of paramount importance.

  10. Abubaker Kintu Basajjabaka

    October 7, 2010 at 13:31

    Steve, your concern set me thinking! In reverse sequence, as much as we worry so much about the age of our presidents, the average age of our MPs seems to be lower than those in developed countries. Let’s take the US for example. I know some senators who’ve been senators until they’ve died and some who are still there in spite of their advanced ages. Find link below:

    Should we also assume that these are power hungry too or is it just want of service?!

  11. Twino Speaks

    October 8, 2010 at 09:00

    Interesting analyses and comments. Abu, I have checked on your link and seen that the ages of US senators are indeed high. But one should also look at their median starting age.

    I think the problem in Africa is not that leaders are old per se. Many of them indeed came to power when they were at young ages like those we see in the developed world. The problem is their inability to see that they need to vacate and allow in fresh ideas. Most of them (Museveni for example) came in promising that they were going to go after a short while. They always claim people want them to stay – all rubbish of course! Staying in power is their creation and as martin put it above, they go into an unproductive (or even destructive) phase that drags ther country down. Sincerely speaking, of all those eladers that have been in power for more than 20 years, tell me one that has done something remarkable for their countries in the last 10 or so years.

    I am sure many of them don’t even care about our writing but we will continue doing so. maybe one of the things we write or say will at one time be the spark that makes the difference – or slowly by slowly builds the steam that eventually drives change. Words, unlike guns, don’t rot.

  12. edward muyingo

    October 8, 2010 at 16:49

    you can not compare the African MPs with the senator / congress men or women because these people are elected Thur free and fair elections not like Uganda were an MPs bribes and shoots his or her way to Parliament . i remember senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts this was a man who had been in the senate for 30 yrs but when election time come this guy would got out walk the street greeting and talking to every voter he come a cross campaign like he is going to the senate for the first .these people make pladges not cash but roads , hospitals ,libraries , more money for schools , things that will serve the all community and these are fulfill in time before the next election . my point is these men and women go into government to serve there people because they care . these are the kind of leader we need .

  13. Abubaker Kintu Basajjabaka

    October 8, 2010 at 18:26

    Guys, we need to stop praising the west. Yes, these people have their democracy built over years and at some point it was chaotic; history shows this.

    Now, don’t get me wrong! I share the same pain that these leaders have meted against us and I think we equally have reason to complain and complain vehemently! Democracy doesn’t fall down like manner. Indeed its through such discussions and awareness that we arouse critical concerns of good governance!

    However, when comparative analysis is done, we shouldn’t rush to conclusion that America has the best democracy merely because they go to polls and elect their leaders. Yes they had the best system but not any more. You would indeed be shocked to learn that the American system has decayed and will take ages to be redeemed. I’m currently reading a book by Al Gore: The Assault on reason. This book explores the terror propaganda, the torture, lies and money used by the Bush administration to seek reelection.

    In this book we see that America ceased having objective presidents that had America at heart. While past leaders built America, the latest ones (Bush to be specific) are breaking it down through unnecessary wars!

    The book can throw some light before we conclude. America has one of the most pervasive systems that can’t question the legitimacy of leaders.

    Otherwise, we need to admit that where Uganda has reached it can’t be taken for granted. I have written a piece that looks at autocracy as the last lap of dictatorship. In this piece I make mention of rigged elections, intimidation, persecution, gerrymandering–increasing districts, violence etc. Once our leaders run out of these options they may possibly try governments of national unity. But once this is done, dictatorship is also gone!

  14. Air News Times

    October 9, 2010 at 13:25

    A nice thank you letter

  15. Twino

    October 9, 2010 at 19:52

    You make an enlightening analysis Abu. It’s true democracy in the west may be having it’s faults. I however believe it’s still a good model that greatly promotes accountability and we need to draw good qualities from it. The problem with our leaders is that they tend to quickly point at small faults in the western system to blanketly justify their horrible leadership and greed. Most of the problems of African leaders will be traced back to greed.

    I still insist, many African leaders are worse than the colonialists and on this ‘independence’ day I could have done with colonialists than some of the leaders Uganda has had. What benefit do I have being transferred from somebody taking my wealth to somebody else that not only takes my wealth but also makes me live in perpetual fear of the horrors he can unleash?

    Today, to mark Uganda’s ‘independence’ day, I attended a seminar at the Joburg Stock Exchange organised by AUPSA and aimed at empowering us with tools to be financially independent. The JSE was founded in 1887 and presenter said they give advice to African stock exchanges to help them avoid the mistakes and pitfalls the JSE went through. We should also similarly learn from democracies that have been in existence for hundreds of years and don’t have to reinvent the wheel expecting to go through all the stages they went through even where they failed. We can’t go back to the 17th century even though our leaders are keen to take us there.

  16. enoq

    December 17, 2010 at 07:52

    Onyango Obbo once did the same comparison and indeed u and him are quite spot on,till death do them part (leaders and leadership)

  17. donald nji f

    January 28, 2011 at 09:47

    Africans are all cowards.from the north to the south from west to east.In Gabon father dies son takes over,in Equatorial Guinea the same story.I’m glad the wind of change is sweeping through Africa from the north[Tunisia has started with Egypt prayers are that it must sweep through CAMEROON and wipe a wonderful dictator in the name of Paul biya else the son will also take power.

  18. King

    January 31, 2011 at 09:38

    @Donald, if leaders in developed countries are so young with an average age of 51, it is because these had a vision to change their countries right from their young ages. The youths in Africa are still interested in imitating extravagant life styles in developed countries, they are not even interested in politics. Just two examples: when did Obama and Sarkozy get into politics? Two other examples: At what ages did President Paul Biya and Gaddafi take over power? I think when youths will come to be ambitious right from their very young ages things will change. So blame the youths and nobody else.

  19. Galla Earnest

    June 11, 2011 at 11:22

    Africa is a land full of biblical promises. presently it needs a revolution to stamp Africa a new image. This is because most African presidents are leaders are yet to be civilized. As a matter of fact most of them lack visions for the nations and mother land . So in that state they have instead polluted the land than spicing it. The Africans needs to get up from their slumber so that the scriptures can come true. A new generation of leaders have born in Africa since the the year 2000 began. All the old leaders who do not want to step down from their thrown most do so by the finger of God

  20. king

    July 5, 2011 at 09:00

    For now, do not expect all African countries to be led by young leaders as in the developed world, because they have not yet fully understood the game of politics. In the developed world, politics has been practiced for ages now and all the work has been done, so the young leaders of today just need to follow the path that has been traced. In our countries, most if not all of those who in power today are those who fought for the independence of their countries and brought in politics, and it is just beginning to be understood by the young generation. Give time to time and you’ll see more younger leaders in our country.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: