Editorials History

Former African Leaders: Are They Gold Mines or Wasted Mines For the Continent?

Where are some of our powerful African leaders who vacated the highest offices in their various countries involuntarily or voluntarily? When some of these men were in power, they commanded respected, traveled around the world, gained experience, and saved their countries from colossal damage or another. Yet when they vacated seat, they either became farmers or elder statesmen who comes out only during events.

Does it mean that these leaders are no longer relevant after their term in office? What if we give these men and women roles? The  questions of what and if are many of what these ex-leaders can do in our present world may lead to fierce debates.

However, do you think these ex-leaders can make impacts especially those who were disasters as leaders?  There is a plethora of opportunities for our ex-presidents or head of states when they leave office. Many decide to stay away from politics while a few raise their heads when there is a need.  Compared to their counterparts in other parts of the world, we may say that our ex leaders are not doing enough.

We have seen some of these leaders turn out better leaders after office and we wonder what must have happened to them. Are these men and women gold mines or waste mines? Former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh, and Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania are some of the leaders who turned to agriculture.

It doesn’t mean that they don’t contribute to issues affecting their countries. The challenge is they seem to be doing little when a lot is expected from them. Leaders like South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki and José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola have not stopped working after office. If these men and women know so much about the running of their countries, what have stopped them from offering more support?

The problem many of these leaders faced after they left office or enemies they made during their terms may be the challenge. Many of these leaders are not brought close because of their terrible leadership records. A leader who was prayed upon to abandon the highest seat of a country may not expect to be called upon to solve any issue or offer solution to a country they once governed.

If an ex-leader is not looked upon during a crisis, it means the person doesn’t have any regard among the present leaders or country.  However, we have seen a lot of these men come out with controversial facets after their term in office.  No matter how much some of them are loathed or segregated, there may still be positive things they can do for their countries. If these men and women can handle the helm of their countries for many years, they are expected to have knowledge most people don’t have. The fact that many of them are still powerful after office makes them to decide the outcome of an election or governance of a country.

Over to you. Are our former leaders gold mines or waste mines?