On Life, love and Politics

"Random musings about Life, love and Politics. Just my open diary on the events going on in the world as I see it."

The Law of “Diminishing Returns” and African Leadership June 13, 2009

Filed under: Opinion Corner/Votre opinion — kikenileda @ 10:42 AM

By Innocent ChiaNelson_mandela

Nelson
Rolihlahla M
andela, former President of South Africa and its first to
be elected in fully-representative democratic elections, may have been
the one leader that the world
and his people would have readily
forgiven if he had chosen t
he transgression of holding on to power.
After all, it was before the eyes of the world that the anti-apartheid
activist and leader of the African National
Congress
(ANC) served 27 years of his life sentence in prison, much of it in a
cell in Robben Island, for sabotage after he went underground and began
the ANC's armed struggle. But after five years of presidency, 1994 to
1999, the cultural icon of freedom and equality knew he had given
enough of himself and passed the relay baton for s
omeone else (Thabo
Mbeki) with a fresh set of eyes to either cha
nge or continue with the
same trajectory.

Compared
to most the rest of his unflappable peers that are pseudo-leaders, this
was an aberration. It must have been so in their minds because all
around Africa the Presidents reign supreme for quarter centuries and
more, never questioning their productivity and the correlation with
longevity in power. Like the monarchs before them, power is “till death
do us part”.

It was the case with Houphouet Boigny of Cote
d’Ivoire. El Hadj Omar Bongo, the world’s fifth longest serving ruler,
was just 31 and the world’s youngest, when he became President of Gabon
in 1967. Following the February 2005 death of Togolese president
Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled for 38 years, Omar Bongo became Africa’s
longest serving ruler, and remains in office today. Ahidjo of La
Republique Unie du Cameroun only left at the “advise” of his medical
team after 21 years in power and died a short while after. His
hand-picked successor, Paul Biya has not only shattered the
predecessors record after 24 years and counting in power; there are
plans underway to have him modify the constitution yet again to have a
presidency for life in Cameroon. This piece will argue that by
understanding and effectively applying the economic Law of Diminishing
Returns, beleaguered African power holders and kingmakers could reverse
the leadership and economic tides plaguing the continent.

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