African leaders addicted to ancestral leadership


By Michelle Muchina

Africa has been described by many analysts as “a young continent with old leaders” and this arises from the fact that most of these leaders though they are advanced in age or have become incapacitated they hardly retire.

According to some statistics, over 15 African countries are currently being led by a leader who is above the age of 70 a development which clouds possible empowerment of the young people.

Most of these African leaders have been affected by the guerrilla attitude, during the liberation struggles, they said they were fighting for the young generation, but instead it has become clear that they were fighting for themselves.

It was self-liberation to lead and scare the young generation endlessly without accommodating their views and needs.

Thus it is their culture to lead till they are dead and even in the afterlife they will continue to lead because the policies they leave behind coupled with their equally aged successors continue to affect the young generation.

Because most of the African leaders have become dictators and corrupt to the core, they have developed a tendency to glue themselves to the Presidential seats as a way of protecting their “ill-gotten wealth”.

Tracing world history it is a culture of dictators to never give up the power that easily without a fight, for example, Hitler, Mussolini and Louise XVI they feared losing power and the probably privileges that come with it and this thread has continued up to this day.

Robert Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was 94 and had to resign though unwillingly and when it only became clear that he was going to be impeached.

The continent is indeed being led by great grandfathers, how a leader can be that old.

He was followed by his successor the famous “ED”, who is 76 years old while his two deputies Constantino Chiwenga is 62 while Kembo Mohadi is 69.

Mnangagwa is keen on holding on to power and by the look of things he has already been endorsed as Zanu PF candidate for 2023 elections.

President Mnangagwa has even made it clear at one of his rallies that he will still be around when he said “2030 I will still be there!!

Just recently, a report was made concerning these African old leaders reluctance to giving up power. The Times issued out a report that the President of Gabon,  Alibongo Ondimba came back to the office after 10 months of stroke after Paulette Agomba the President of the Libreville Court questioned his abilities since he had been ill and he showed up weeks later thus revealing how these leaders are holding on to power.

A lot of these leaders are close to 80 years in age and some nearing 90 but still, they are pressing on. In Uganda, they even removed the issue of age limit and they said as long as one is still able, hence resulting in ancestral leadership as the current President of Uganda is 74.

There are a lot of old leaders around Africa, like Paul Biya of Cameroon who came into office in 1982 up to date and in Tunisia, President Beji Caid Esebi is 91, this trend really shows that our continent is affected by old age leadership and this has greatly delayed development in most African countries.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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