Africa is a continent where Democracy is rather nominal instead of practical. Autocracy and tyranny seem to be the mode of governance they understand better. However, in recent times, good governance is beginning to gain ground in Africa, though at a very slow speed. African leaders are becoming increasingly democratic and more accountable to their citizens, and showing more respect for human rights and civil liberties. In the same vein, harsh governments are gradually eroding and are being replaced by better ones. But the truth remains that the bad eggs still linger – and there are still a number of them. An African adage says that when the wind blows, the anus of the chicken would be exposed. I’m taking to this platform to expose the hopefully last set of worst leaders we have in Africa right now. Here we go!
9. Uhuru Kenyatta – Kenya
The Presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta began on 9 April 2013 after being sworn in as 4th president of Kenya. He succeeded Mwai Kibaki. During his inaugural speech Uhuru promised economic transformation through vision 2030. Kenya’s case for democracy is a more than interesting one. Its political leaders have endangered the country’s destiny in the name of western style democracy in a bid to actually satisfy their myopic interests. His two years of presidency has recorded very poor performance in almost all areas of government. Today, Uruhu Kenyatta has not been able to meet expectations. Under his watch, Kenyans feel more and more uncertain and hopeless about the future as insecurity, tribalism, public debts, etc, cripple down the economy.
8. John Dramani Mahama – Ghana
Since President John Mahama became the president of Ghana, it has been cries of woe for Ghanaians. Disaster upon disaster, calamity upon calamity has been common occurrences. Though his praises are being sung, of course, that’s normal, but beyond the surface of these descriptions, there are darker sides: constant increase in price of petroleum products, mismanagement of public funds, corrupt activities, incompetence and immaturity on the side of his ministers. The most popular is the the incessant power outages (commonly called “Dumsor”) which has done the economy of the country great harm.
Coming to education, things have gone from bad to worse. Most public schools do not have chalk, school feeding programs are stuck because they are in arrears, the educational sector is constrained with huge challenges; in the midst of all these problems, Mr. Mahama solicited a $156 million World Bank loan facility of which a colossal amount will be used for the distribution of free sanitary pads to school girls. Demonstrations, strikes and popular protests in almost all sectors of the economy is one of the major legacies he would eventually leave behind after his tenure which has almost come to an end.
7. Jacob Zumah – South Africa
South Africa, which has the second largest economy in Africa is supposed to be one of the countries where the citizens enjoy a modearte standard of living if not for bad leadership. President Zuma’s government has plunged from one scandal to the next over the years and the country’s economy is failing to grow despite the never-ending promises of the president. In South Africa like in many other African countries, the justice system is being manipulated to favour and protect those at the very top. Corruption is at its highest cadre, with the president possibly taking the lead. The education system being so fragile cannot get some of the most basic things right. Industrial strikes, nepotism and tribalism are becoming the orders to the pitiable detriment of the poor masses.
6. Allassane Dramane Ouattara – Côte d’Ivoire
I don’t think it is an overstatement if I say that to associate Ouattara’s government to democracy is a taboo! Mr. Ouattara’s presidency is considered a bloody one following the way he seized power as well as how he has been wielding it. He could not have assumed the office of the presidency without a strong backing of western powers to mention France in this regard. The French military forces together with United Nations’ helped to overthrow Laurent Gbagbo, former Ivorian president accused of being a dictator following his refusal to concede defeat when he was alleged to have lost the November 2010 presidential election to then opposition leader and now president of Ivory Coast, Allassane Dramane Ouattara.
During this period about 3,000 people were killed in fights opposing the loyalist forces of the then two presidential rivals, Mr. Ouattara and Mr. Gbagbo and over 50 women were raped. After his assumption of the presidency, President Ouattara was expected to use his presidential power to influence the reconciliation process and that unity and peace be brought back in the country – it is surprisingly the opposite. Although the country is the largest cocoa producing country in Africa, yet the laborers, i.e the farmers who are supposed to be the “partakers of the first fruits”, together with other citizens are languishing in untold poverty.
5. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo – Equatorial Guinea
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is Africa’s longest serving ruler. He has ruled Equatorial Guinea, a tiny, oil-rich West African country, since August 1979 when he overthrew his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, in a bloody coup d’état. Equatorial Guinea is one of the continent’s largest producers of oil and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into prosperity for its people. He presides over the country with an unbelievable (by the standards of sub- Saharan Africa) per-capita income of $30,000, but most of the oil revenues are gobbled up by his family and inner circle. Consequently, 70 per cent of the country’s 680,000 people live below the poverty line, with little access to clean water and other basic necessities. The country also has one of the world’s highest under-5 mortality rates: about 20% of its children die before the age of five.
Obiang is a fierce dictator, known as the country’s “torturer-in-chief” who has defied all oppositions and powers. Since 1979, he has been continually re-elected into power with not less than 90% of the votes. The opposition is severely hampered by the lack of a free press to express their views. Around 90% of all opposition politicians live in exile, 550 anti-Obiang activists have been jailed unfairly, and several killed since 1979. Sometime ago, the State Radio in Malabo, referred to Obiang as the “country’s God,” and claimed that he had “all power over men and things”. Meanwhile, the first son of the president, Teodorin Obiang (who is in line to succeed his father), spends millions of dollars of state funds financing his lavish lifestyle which includes luxurious property in Malibu, a Gulfstream jet, Michael Jackson memorabilia and a car collection that could easily make billionaires bite their lips in envy.
4. José Eduardo dos Santos – Angola
José Eduardo dos Santos is Africa’s second longest serving president. He took the reins of power in September 1979 following the natural death of his predecessor Agostinho Neto. To his discredit, Jose Eduardo has always run his government like it’s his personal, privately-owned investment holding company. The president has a very unsavory human rights record, for instance, Angola is sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest oil producer and the seventh-largest supplier to the U.S. The country is also the world’s fourth-largest producer of rough diamonds. Yet despite these plentiful resources, the people of Angola who are not directly related to the president remain desperately poor with 68 percent of the population living below the poverty line and life expectancy topping out at 41 years. Most of the schools are housed in dilapidated structures and there is a severe deficit of skilled and qualified teachers. It has been alleged that Dos Santos and his cabinet are responsible for silencing the media and harassing journalists who attempt to uncover details about their financial dealings. The president’s daughter, Isabel dos Santos is the richest woman in Angola and the entire Africa.
3. Robert Mugabe – Zimbabwe
President Mugabe helped bring freedom to Zimbabweans only to get himself power drunk, and has refused to step down since 1980. It is true that his government has recorded commendable growth in some facets such as education, agriculture and GDP growth, yet, Mugabe’s inadequacies overshadow his achievements.
He has failed to deal with the ever-present problem of employment. The country’s high literacy rate does not necessarily translate into employment opportunities for its people. Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa: it’s over 60%. Mugabe is an odd man when it comes to dictators. He has the illusion of democracy on one hand while he oppresses the white Zimbabwe people with the other. Robert Mugabe has been viewed as being racist towards white people, targeting white citizens in various ways. He recently held one of the most extravagant birthday party ever witnessed in the country. According to reports, among other outrageous expenses, two elephants, two buffaloes, five impalas, two sables, 40 cows, a lion and a crocodile, were slaughtered. Also, seven mattress-sized cakes were also made available for the celebration. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, UN reports reveal that one out of every three children suffer stunted growth as a result of hunger. The 91 year-old tyrant has vowed not to step down despite having ruled the Southern African state for over 35 years.
2. King Mswati III – Swaziland
Sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch who obviously exercises absolute political and royal powers with as much selfish interests as possible, Mswati has been criticized for his lavish lifestyle whilst his people starve: nearly 70 percent of the country’s citizens live on less than $1 a day and 40 percent are unemployed. But for all the suffering of the Swazi people, King Mswati has barely shown concern or interest. He lives lavishly, using his kingdom’s treasury to fund his expensive tastes in German automobiles, first-class leisure trips around the world and women. Mswati is a Prolific Polygamous Man. While his country suffers, he occupies himself with marriages and sexual pleasure. He currently has 27 children from his first 14 wives and wives-to-be. According to tradition, he can marry his fiancées only after they have fallen pregnant, proving they can bear heirs. Until then, they are termed liphovela, or “brides”. He goes to a wild and ignoble extent of kidnapping ladies just to turn them to his wives.
But his gross mismanagement of his country’s finances is now having dire economic consequences. Swaziland is going through a severe fiscal crisis. The kingdom’s economy is collapsing and pensions have been stopped. In June last year, the King begged for a financial bailout from South Africa, and the country is at a dead end, so badly that it recently announced its withdrawal from the 2013 Africans Nations Cup, citing lack of finances as the principal reason.
1. Omar Al-Bashir – Sudan
Omar Al-Bashir is currently the worst leader in Africa at the moment. He seized power in 1989 in a bloodless military coup against the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi – a government which was democratically elected by the people of Sudan. Soon after seizing power, Al-Bashir dispersed all political parties in the country, disbanded the country’s parliament and shut down all privately-owned media outlets. His reign has been characterized by a civil war in which over one million have been killed, while several millions have been displaced. Al-Bashir is still wanted by the International Criminal Court for instigating crimes against humanity, particularly in directing and funding acts of violence against the Southern Sudan. Famously corrupt, a diplomatic wikileaks cable revealed that Al-Bashir likely siphoned some $9 billion of his country’s funds into his private bank accounts in the United Kingdom. He is a gruesome dictator who has been accused of several dehumanizing atrocities including genocide, war crimes, violation of human rights, etc.