Ah, African presidents, those fascinating characters with a talent for clutching power like it’s the last piece of cake at a birthday party. It’s like they’re playing a never-ending game of musical thrones – and trust me, they’re not too keen on letting the music stop. This is an article on this barbaric habit of most African presidents, of course, triggered by the recent happenings in Gabon.
The Gabon Crisis – 29/08/2023
Ali Bongo, Gabon’s president for two terms is trending. And not for something out of the ordinary. It is because of something fairly common with African presidents. Ali Bongo seems to have a fondness for turning elections into his own personal trilogy. Winning his third term in Late August 2023 might sound like an achievement, but the plot thickens – high-ranking officials in the military decided to storm in and take over, turning the whole situation into a border-closing, power-shifting, head-scratching drama. It’s like a twist straight out of a telenovela – you never know what’s coming next.
Take Museveni, for example. He’s been hanging around the presidential office like that one guest who just won’t leave after the party’s over. Burundi’s Nkurunziza is now also like, “Hey if Museveni can do it, why not me?” And don’t even get me started on Rwanda – they’ve joined the “Hold On Tight Club” too.
Democracies? Pfft, who needs those when you can have your very own monarchy, complete with a ruler who couldn’t care less about what the people want? Kings and queens? Nah, we’ve got presidents who think they’re above term limits. They’re like those stubborn houseplants that refuse to die no matter how much you ignore them. You see, comparing these modern African democracies and archaic kinships and monarchs, you easily see that not much has changed, really.
African presidents who have been in office for the longest time
You’ve got to hand it to these presidents – they’ve been in power longer than some of us have been through schooling, and that’s 8 years plus 4 years, plus 4 years. They’ve become one with their countries, so much so that you can’t distinguish them from the state itself. Look at Abdelaziz Bouteflika, pulling off his fourth term in office like it’s a magic trick. Houdini would be proud.
He even rewrote the constitution to make sure he could keep the presidential party going for more years than your favorite local show on Citizen TV. In his quiet moments, I bet Bouteflika pats himself on the back and wonders why other presidents aren’t as “innovatively genial” as he is. Seriously, how could they miss the memo?
Remember those North African uprisings? They shook things up like a teenager rearranging their room for the umpteenth time. King Mohammed VI of Morocco played nice and agreed to a new constitution, while Algeria’s scrambling to find a solution that doesn’t involve pitchforks and angry mobs. And who could forget Tunisia’s Ben Ali? He hightailed it to Saudi Arabia after a 20-year power spree, probably wishing he’d taken some “how to be an iron-fisted ruler” classes.
Ben Ali, now sipping coffee and munching on dates, must be smacking his forehead, realizing he should’ve been stricter. Crack that whip, tighten that leash, squash those protesters! But then again, hindsight is 20/20, and now he’s to be seen but not heard, like a misunderstood mime.
For those who don’t die in office, what really happens to African dictators when they are finally ousted?
Oh, the cling-ons! A cast of characters that rivals any soap opera. We’ve got Mohamed Abdelaziz, Paul Biya, Teodoro Obiang Nguema – they’re like the Avengers, but instead of saving the world, they’re saving their presidential seats. And who could forget the one and only Omar al-Bashir? The ICC’s favorite target. Blaise Compaoré tried to hang on for 27 years, but the people finally said, “No, thanks,” and he’s now chilling in Ivory Coast.
Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddaffi – oh, the nostalgia! These names are like a journey down memory lane, a.k.a. the Hall of Ex-Presidents.
How Uruguay’s ex-president did it different
Let’s take a page out of Uruguay’s book, shall we? José Mujica Cordano knew how to live the minimalist presidential dream. No lavish mansion, no power-hungry theatrics. Just a good ol’ serving of humility and the realization that when you’re elected, you’re “Public Servant Number One.” He even used a beat-up VW Beetle, and yes, drove himself to the office.
I have never been a president myself, so given the seat, I don’t know how I would fare. What I know is , that isn’t the correct way to rule. Power is good, but power is also dangerous. Dear presidents, it’s time to gracefully exit stage left when the curtain falls. No need for encore performances that last longer than the entire Harry Potter movie series. Once the people want nothing to do with you, it is going to be lonely at the top.