Life After The Presidency
On Friday, February 22, 2013, the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation, established by the former President of the Republic of Ghana after exiting office, organised the second in its Global Development Series, with a lecture at the International Conference Centre in Accra.
The lecture was delivered by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigerian Minister for Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, who, until her appointment in 2011, was Managing Director of the World Bank Group, with oversight responsibility for the US$81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South East Asia, Europe and Central Asia.
Dr. Okojo-Iweala saw much hope for Africa, provided our governance system would continue with the trend of shunning the men in uniform, while refraining from re-visiting various conflicts on the continent. In the opinion of the Nigerian Minister, Africa has turned the corner, from the doom and gloom, which plagued the continent in the 1970s and 80s.
While The Chronicle shares the sentiments of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala that the worst could be behind the continent, we are mindful to point out that it is not yet Uhuru. We still have despots clinging to power and misdirecting the fortunes of their individual countries, long after overstaying their welcome.
Robert Mugabe is still clinging to power well into his 88th Birthday, and over thirty years after leading a bush war to oust Canaan Banana, in Zimbabwe. In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni is in charge, 27 years after emerging from the bush to oust military dictator Okello.
What is worrying about the Museveni oligarchy is that the Western powers regard him as an ally, while African leaders, many of whom are dictators themselves, tend to believe in the lie that the regime is promoting a liberal democratic enclave. After 27 years in power, Museveni cannot claim that there are any policies that would improve the quality of life in Uganda that he has not implemented.
Museveni has developed a system of oppressing those who do not believe in him, while appropriating all resources of state to his cronies. That Uganda has a President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and three Deputy Prime Ministers, with the First Lady as a Cabinet Minister, should register on African and world leaders that Uganda cannot be a normal democracy.
There are many other leaders who do not deserve to be in the various Government Houses in Africa. There is Yahaya Jammeh of Gambia, Blaise Campaore of Burkina Faso, Paul Biya of Cameroon, and many others, whose presence at their various presidential palaces are sources of conflict.
In a continent where leadership tend to manipulate the electoral system and incumbency to buy the votes of the poor and vulnerable to perpetuate their stay at Government House, development invariably passes the people by.
That is why The Chronicle is of the view that it would take some time for Africa to begin to function like a normal society. All the same, we are thrilled by the good example the lecturer saw in the John A. Kufuor Foundation.
“I will like to recognise that the John Agyekum Kufuor Foundation has become an important centre in nurturing leaders in Africa,” Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala observed. “It tells me that there is life after becoming President.”
The Chronicle would like to recommend this observation to African dictators, who are tempted to cling on to power by fair or foul means. There is life after becoming President. Of course, it all depends on how the particular Head of State behaved while he or she sat at Government House.
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