AFRICA needs a new crop of leaders who will not have the desire to overstay or want to die in office for the sake of enjoying perpetual power at the expense of democracy, veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga has charged.
He said recent statements by Namibian President Hage Geingob that Africa needed a generation of leaders that would not permanently cling to power at all costs had given him (Dr Mwaanga) a tremendous sense of relief and hope for the African continent.
Dr Mwaanga said it was disheartening that some African leaders had caused mayhem in their countries, killing citizens who resisted the tampering with constitutions in a bid to remain in power longer than the law permitted.
He said while the Statement by President Geingob was a source of pride to leaders who respected democracy, it was going to make the Namibian leader one of the most disliked Presidents among other African leaders who had overstayed in office or were planning not to leave.
Dr Mwaanga said President Geingob called for a generation of new leaders that would not have the temptation to overstaying their welcome in Windhoek when he opened the African Union 6th retreat of Special Envoys and Mediators on Promotion of Peace and Stability on the African Continent.
He said according to the United Nations (UN), Africa was the youngest Continent with 65 percent of her population averaging 35 years by the year 2014 but that the Continent the largest proportion of the oldest Presidents.
Dr Mwaanga explained that the average age of older Presidents in Africa was 72 years while the average age of African President was 63 years making the Continent with the highest number of old leaders in the world.
“Africa needs a new crop of leaders who will not overstay or want to die in office just for the sake of enjoying power. The United Nations estimates that in 2014, 65 percent of Africa’s population was 35 years or below and the average age in Sub-Saharan Africa was 19 years.
This makes Africa the youngest Continent. Conversely however, Africa has the largest proportion of the oldest Presidents. The average age of older Presidents in Africa is 72 years where as the average age of African President is 63 years, the greatest in the world.
Dr Mwaanga said he congratulated former president of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete for peacefully respecting the country’s Constitution and handing over power peacefully to the new President.
He said Africa had also witnessed the peaceful handover of power in Nigeria and Mozambique adding that it was good for the Continent as this was a way of restoring Africa’s democratic deficit.
Namibian President Geingob recently said: “Let us adhere to the new ideals of a new Africa, an Africa of electoral democracy where our former leaders are respected, and an Africa which shuns those who come into power through force. Leaders must recognize that when they are voted out of office, it is time to leave that high office for a preferred citizen.”
Dr Mwaanga said President Geingob and his wife in May this year declared their assets and business interests apart from setting aside 20 percent of his salary to a scholarship fund for impoverished children.
“President Geingob was also right when he pointed out that people do not eat constitutions, peace or democracy. People eat decent, affordable food, should live under decent shelter, and should enjoy decent employment. This should be a lesson for Africa’s ageing leaders who want to overstay and create wealth for themselves, their families, political parties and their associates at the expense of their poor people,” Dr Mwaanga said.