Former Secretary General Of the United Nations, Kofi Annan has condemned African leaders’ habit of clinging to power even when their time is up.
Mr Annan stated that extending their stay in office and excluding opposition parties incites violence and provokes the return of military regimes in Africa.
“I think Africa has done well, by and large the coups have more or less ended, generals are remaining in their barracks, but we are creating situations which may bring them back,” he said in an interview at the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa.
“If a leader doesn’t want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out is through a coup or people taking to the streets.
“Neither approach can be seen as an alternative to democracy, to elections or to parliamentary rule. Constitutions and the rules of the game have to be respected.”
The Nobel Laureate also added that the solution to Africa’s problem lies within the continent, also stressing that this can only be possible if the continent equipped itself to do so, starting with its institutions.
“We cannot always pass a hat around and insist we want to be sovereign, we want to be independent. We should lead and get others to support us—that support will be much more forthcoming when they see how serious and committed we are.”
While some African leaders have stuck with the term granted them by law, clinging to power is still prevalent in the continent, with some leaders having stayed in power for over 20 years.
This norm also caused President Barack Obama to make a statement similar to that of Kofi Annan when he addressed the African Union last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The president expressly stated that “no one should be president for life”.