I recently saw a CNN article titled "Africa is Young. Why are its leaders so old". This got me thinking about leadership in Africa. Really, is it longevity or a curse?
The issue of recycled leadership in Africa is not a new one, so also is the fact that the same set of people who have been ruling most African countries since their independence still remain in office. some have left and come back, some are somewhere in the background tele-guiding the affairs of the leaders that they have appointed or rigged into office.
Robert Mugabe (93) President of Zimbabwe, formerly the prime minister from 1980-1987, he has also remained in office since 1987 till date with no hope of him vactating the office, Abdelaziz Bouteflika (80) is the 5th President of Algeria, who also has remained in office since 1999 with no plan of leaving anytime soon, Among others are Paul Biya of Cameroon (84), Caid Essebsi (90) and so on. This pattern renders the youth incapable and incompetent of leading their different African nations.
Well, this would have made sense, only if this people have working developmental agendas for their countries, if only most African countries stand out among developed and developing nations of the world. reverse is the case however, corruption and political instability rocks Africa because there is no space for newer knowledge. We have leaders who advocate Youth Empowerment Initiative (for the sake of global trend) but don't believe in them. They are so power drunk that they dread being out of power for a minute. They have crossed so many people (Both state and non-state actors) so much that leaving office will make them vulnerable for prosecution and persecution.
What is really happening? Why are Africans cool with this? Am i the only one who is noticing this re-cyclical pattern in which politics and governance is taking?
See Trudeau for example, he is 45 and he is the current PM of Canada, Mugabe is double is age and he is the president of an African country that wallows in economic instability. I don't know how African leaders' body structure works but i know there is a stage where every one goes senile and might be unfit to make decisions especially when it has to do with lives of millions. The funny thing is that a lot of them still intend to contest for political offices in the nearest future, and don't even get me started with the barbaric idea of handing over to their relatives or descendants like the country is a family business..
My take is that, these leaderes are not the problem, it is us the youths who have long relaxed to be played here and there by this old lots. Its we the youth who have the energy and intelligence to bring bright and working developmental agendas to our continent and individual countries. I believe we are the architects of our own shortcomings and only us can make the changes needed to even thrive as a developing continents. Recycled leadership style remains a major challenge facing the African continent and the rest of the world 'll not take us serious until we deal with this.
the average age of ten oldest African leader is 78.5, compared to 52 for the world's most developed ten countries.