“African leadership is like war’’
In recent times, Ugandan President and leader of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Yoweri Museveni, has strongly likened African leadership to war. The head of state was reacting to plans put in place by the opposition to unseat him in the election year 2021, after the Supreme Court removed age limit, giving incumbent Museveni the chance to contest president elections indefinitely after 2021. Though the president and his party cadres may see this as a trivial issue, Ugandan politics is going through a test of time. According to Museveni, African politicians become more proactive when fighting for their political gains than when handling important national issues that can change the lives of local Africans. In other words, President Museveni thinks the philosophy of ‘’togetherness’’ is still farfetched in an African context. Using a local proverb the head of state said ‘’ when you have food, you sound a small drum, but if you sound alarm for war, you make it big so that more people can come and join.’’ Some years back, President Museveni made a call to his African counterparts to compromise their ides or knowhow for the growth of the African continent. He reiterated that the African continent is endowed with natural resources and remarkable human capital to drive the continent to economic, social and political development, but bemoaned that differences in ideologies, especially political views, is tearing the continent apart.
Constitutional amendments in Africa
Like Uganda, many Africa countries have tampered with their constitution in order to give serving presidents the chance to seek reelection after their mandates officially end. This phenomenon of constitutional change is one of the reasons some African countries have descended into unending political wrangling. The opposition seems not to have its place in Africa political, since judicial institutions often back the party in power, rendering them powerless. This explains why most marginalized opposition parties often use retaliation or violent protests as a means of demanding for reforms or political balance. In December 217, Uganda’s parliament in a heated debated, voted to remove the constitutional clause that forbid a candidate to seek elections after 75 years. An overwhelming majority of lawmaker upheld the move, in a ration 315 to 62. In addition, the country’s top court in July 2018, backed the removal of presidential term limit by a majority of 4-3.
The court’s ruling has met with so much resistance from Ugandans and especially politicians, as this presents a total loss for opposition candidates. With this new dispensation, President Yoweri Museveni is eligible to seek reelection after 2021, when his mandate ends, thus a president for life. Modern day critic of President Museveni, Bobi Wine has vowed to challenge the court’s ruling. He quoted ‘’the Supreme Court endorsed a life presidency. That shows the depth of entrenchment of the dictatorship.” How far Mr. Wine can go remains a point to reckon with. It should be noted that incumbent Museveni has vowed to remain president, until Africa attains real development and maximum seciruty.
Constitutional change in Togo
Despite fierce resistance from Togolese and opposition parties, Togo’s Parliament and the constitutional court have effected changes in the country’s constitution to allow current President Faure Gnassingbe in power until 2030. President Gnassingbe can legitimately contest the 2020 and 2025 polls. ‘The kingdom’ of Togo has become restive as the opposition seek to end the leadership of the Gnassinbes. The family has been at the helm of Togo’s presidency since 1967 under then president Gnassinbe Eyadema. The incumbent became president in 2005, following the demise of his father. However, the Akufo Addo led mediation is ongoing, striving to bring peace to the restive West African country.
In a nutshell, amending constitutions seems to be a disease that has eaten up the African continent. Burundi, Rwanda, Cameroon among other nations, have also witnessed constitutional amendments. The appellation ‘sit-tight presidents’’ describes mostly African leaders. The quest for power accounts for the many internally conflicts in present-day Africa. Pundits have always blamed African politicians for the backwardness of the continent and for persistent mayhem the continent is witnessing in the contemporary era. Due to poor leadership and poor governance, industrialization has failed to materialize on the continent, corruption, embezzlement have taken hold of the continent’s development drive.
Article from AFRIC Editorial
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