Selected progressive and selected oppressive heds of government
Selected progressive and selected oppressive heds of government
Selected African Heads of Government

Babatunde Fagoyinbo


Trump can be likened to a man who lives in a neighbourhood and observes the foundation of his neighbours’ building being eroded. He called them to attention and they accused him of poke-nosing into their affairs. Let’s look at the major points raised in the statement:

  1. “If after 50 years of independence you have not built the necessary infrastructure for your people, are you humans?
  2. “If you sit on gold, diamond, oil, manganese, uranium… and your people don’t have food, are you, humans?
  • “If to stay in power, you buy weapons from strangers to kill your own citizens, are you humans?
  1. “If your only social project is to stay in power for life, are you being human?
  2. “If you despise and shoot your own citizens like game, who will respect them?
  3. “If you take all resources meant for development of your country for personal property are you humans?
  • “If you leave your country healthcare unattended and treat yourself abroad are you humans?
  • “Until your leaders think less of themselves and more about your people. You are not human but animal.”

Infrastructures Emplacement

Economic Infrastructural Status of uncolonised Ethiopia and Liberia relative to other countries in Africa

Colonial Africadepicting the colonising countries and showing those that were not colonised
Colonial Africa

(Fagoyinbo, 2018) observed that Liberia’s growth rate stands at 2.50%, ranking it 42nd position out of 54 African countries.  Ethiopia ranks highest on literacy level at100% while Liberia ranks 40th with a mere 43%. On Human Development Index (HDI) Ethiopia ranks 41st at 0.406 while Liberia ranks 39th at 0.413 within the region; France, UK and USA respectively scored 0.952, 0.946 and 0.951. Liberia has a high rank, 6th among 50 countries ranked, in political stability at an index of 0.55 while Ethiopia falls to 44th with a score of -1.57.

Very important is infrastructure provisioning to assess a nation’s economic development programmes. Ethiopia ranks 34th among African countries by annual electricity production of 98 KWh while Liberia ranks at 38th at a production of 73KWh. In healthcare delivery, Ethiopia is ranked 44th position among African countries and 180h in world ranking while Liberia is rated 50th among African countries and 186th in world ranking. France and United Kingdom ranked 1st and 18th respectively in health and provide 8,336KWh and 12,866KWh of Electricity respectively per capital.

The State of Development Infrastructures

In this section, we’ll look at basic socio-economic development infrastructures like electricity supply, road network, Human Development Index, population below poverty level and health delivery.

Table 1 lists the performance of countries across the world in the provision of basic infrastructures. It is observed that African countries are in the lowest rung of the socio-economic development world’s ladder in infrastructures provision, not because of lack of resources but because of little, if any, value addition to export commodities, thus, lacking in employment opportunities to the citizenry.

Over the years, most African countries have made their citizen believe that the government provides every basic need of life like water, electricity, housing, employment, and even sponsoring the performance of religious obligations.

In Nigeria, rather than embark on the provision of development infrastructures to create enabling environment for socio-economic development, many state governments have been supplying free wives to the indigenes in the way of chaste living (Fagoyinbo, 2018). Cheap promises devoid of achievable manifestoes characterise political campaigns for political posts. One clear example is the circulation of such ridiculous rumour of the cloning of a Sudanese by the name Jibril to function as President Buhari after the failure of the allegation of lack of West African School Certificate which to my mind is baseless when we consider the many pieces of training and educational attainment of the incumbent along with the diverse responsibilities that had been held and discharge creditably.

Overall, South Africa may be classified as the best performing African country. It has a nominal GDP of 370.887 x 109 US$ ranking it 34th position in the world but its population lowers its rank to 91st in per capita GDP at US$6,459. This lowering might be due largely to a high percentage of unproductive population coupled with a low level of gainful engagements. South Africa ranks fairly, 19th, in electricity production at 4,858KWh/yr per capita as compared with Nigeria that brands itself the Giant of Africa, with a nominal GDP of US$408,612 x 109 yielding a low rank of 143 at a per capita nominal GDP of US$2,108. Electricity supply is dismally low at a per capita generation of 164KWh/yr. 70% of Nigeria’s population lives below the poverty line due to the lust for multiple wives and prolific production of uncared-for children (Fagoyinbo, 2018).

Table 2 compares Nigeria with countries in the same range of per capita GDP. Among the 17 countries in the range chosen, Nigeria has the highest percentage of population below poverty level, the least per capita generation of electricity, the worst health provision, the least human development index, beating only Côte d’Ivoire while in road network it surpasses only the Republic of Congo and Djibouti.

Table 1: Development Infrastructures, by Country

State of Development Infrastructure -1

State of Development Infrastructure -1

State of Development Infrastructure-2

State of Development Infrastructure-2

State of Development Infrastructure -3State of Development Infrastructure -3State of Development Infrastructure -4State of Development Infrastructure -4
State of Development Infrastructure -5
State of Development Infrastructure -5
State of Development Infrastructure -6
State of Development Infrastructure -6
State of Development Infrastructure -7
State of Development Infrastructure -7

Table 2: Comparing Nigeria with Countries in the same GDP Range

Comparing Ifrastuctural Proviion by Countries in the ame GDP range
Comparing Infrastructural Provision by Countries in the Same GDP range

HDI is used to indicate the level of human development in different countries, to rank whether a country is developed, developing or underdeveloped. HDI combines three dimensions: A long and healthy life (Life expectancy at birth), Education index (Mean years of schooling and Expected years of schooling) and A decent standard of living (GNI per capita {PPP US$}).

The prospects of application of resource funds to the provision of infrastructures in Nigeria can be more clearly understood in the British Prime Minister David Cameron’s frank remark on Goodluck Jonathan’s attempt to win his (Cameron) support in attempt to solicit loans in international multilateral institutions for unspecified infrastructural industrial restructuring in Nigeria was that “lack of accountability and transparency is a big problem in Nigerian oil and gas industry.” (Aribisala, 2013). Aribisala further stated that Nigeria comes first among the African countries that have suffered from massive outflows of illegal funds between 1970 and 2008 (Tran, 2012; Kazeem, 2015; Roberts, 2015); and it is still on to-date.

Utilising Natural Resources Proceeds 

Socio-Economic Development Infrastructures

Most of the problems in Africa result from non-availability of infrastructures. A young professional willing to be self-employed needs power supply, water supply and transportation. These basic needs require higher funding than the small enterprise being envisaged. In Nigeria, for example, cheap means of transportation is not available; the trains are not functioning and water transportation is limited to riverine areas and not coordinated.

It is true that corruption cuts across the world but what is looted in Nigeria is not invested but stacked in hidden places, spent building luxurious buildings that are not inhabited or purchasing exotic cars that are not used (PR, 2017; Yakubu, 2017; Adepegba, 2018). Nigeria is an important oil producer, but much of that income is siphoned off by a greedy elite instead of being invested in the country (Gelling, Undated).

Population Decimation

Boko Haram

It is claimed that “the failed Sharia project during Nigeria’s fourth republic (1999–2003) led to the emergence in the north of sundry Islamist sects (Animasawun, 2015). Made up of between four and six thousand hard-core militants (Felter, 2018) Boko Haram remains a top-tier threat to Nigeria and it is claimed to be supported by top government functionaries. It is believed that the onset of Boko Haram was pleasing to traditional rulers in the core north; believing it is genuinely Islamic jihad. Until they discovered that they were part of the assumed haram, burning of Churches and slaughtering of Christians and killing of law enforcement officials was nursery school play to them (, 2011). Attributing the rise of the Boko Haram as a direct link between the uneven nature of distribution of resources and the rising level of violence in the country (Oke, 2012;, 2012) is not an authentic issue. What needs to be looked at is economic greed of the power players (Gidda, 2017; Abdulah, 2018); wanting to destroy their opponents by any means so that they can have access to the huge emoluments being paid to the law-makers.

Maj-Gen Ahmed Mohammed was targeted for killing by his soldiers blaming him for the killing of their colleagues in an ambush by suspected Boko Haram militants (BBC, 2014., 2016). His troop believed he was in complicity with the Boko Haram boys and thus ensured they were not adequately equipped. While deliberate decimation policy cannot be ascribed to any government in Nigeria, corrupt power brokers ensure that there is a hidden population decimation policy; scarce resources for dealing decisively with Boko Haram are not due to lack of military spending but corruption in high places (Gidda, 2017).

Unchecked Terrorist Fulani Herdsmen

Nigerians have been made aware that Boko Haram is not only the country’s internal security threat. States in Nigeria’s middle belt have been rocked by attacks from suspected Fulani herdsmen in a new wave of violence which primarily stems from disputes over grazing areas for cattle (Kazeem, 2018). Attacks in villages in Benue state have left hundreds of people dead, houses burnt, women and girls raped and barns pulled down for cattle to feed on. Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. Government deafness to the cry of the middle belt states is a pointer to the fact that climate change is responsible for the attacks is unfounded (Lozano, 2016).

As a mark of the complicity of governance in the terrorist Fulani raid, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) claimed that some top commanders within the Division One of the Nigeria Army illegally deployed armed soldiers who invaded Awgu in Enugu State community whereby 76 indigenous Igbo farmland owners were arrested and hauled into the Umuahia prison for allegedly resisting the plots and activities of some armed Fulani herdsmen to annex some of their ancestral farmlands for the purposes of illegal grazing of cattle (Ugwuanyi, 2016). That the herdsmen carry arms with impunity in a country that has laws against illegal arms ownership and use is a pointer to the complicity of governance (Brisibe, 2018).

Rifle-carrying terrorist herdsmen are common features in Nigeria
Rifle-carrying terrorist herdsman

Though the focus has been on Nigeria, it is not the only country that has embarked on the decimation of its population. Mapfuna (Undated) listed:It is unfortunate that the southern belt that had been carrying the financial burden of the north and the middle belt region that had stood by the core north in the execution of the civil war are now the objects of attack. Fulani leaders should be ready for retaliatory attacks on their communities when the middle belt region gets tired of their antics. This is the time to save the Fulani race. A few reprisal attacks on communities in the northwest may completely eliminate the Fulani race. It should be noted that the age of horse-warfare is gone while wits and tactics belong to the middle belt. Even with the horses, none of the notable communities in the middle belt could be conquered.

  1. Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia (from 1974 to 1991) was responsible for between 400,000 and 1.5 million deaths
  2. Idi Amin oF Uganda (1972 – 1979) was responsible for between 25000 and 30000 deaths
  • Sani Abacha of Nigeria (1993 – 1998) was responsible for between 100 000-200 000 deaths
  1. Ahmed Sékou Touré of Guinea (1958 – 1984) was responsible for between 100 000 and-150 00 deaths
  2. Charles Taylor of Liberia (August 1997 – August Of 2003) was responsible for between 100 000 nd150 000 deaths
  3. Hissene Habre of Chad (1982 – 1990) WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR BETWEEN 80 000 AND -100 000 DEATHS
  • Macius Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (1968 – 1979) WAS Responsible for between 50 000 ND 7 000 DEATHS
  • Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea (1979 – date) Still counting. Abuses under Obiang have included “unlawful killings by security forces; government-sanctioned kidnappings; systematic torture of prisoners and detainees by security forces; life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention facilities; impunity; arbitrary arrest, detention, incommunicado detention and cannibalism (Daniels, 2004).
  1. Omar Al-Bhasir of Sudan (1989 -Date ) was responsible for between 30 000 and–  40 000 deaths. He has been charged with 7 crimes against humanity. He planned and committed genocide against several ethnic groups such as Masalit and Zaghwa killing tens of thousands of people. He is regarded by many as one of the most murderous dictators ever.
  2. Paul Biya of Cameroon (1982) IS RESPONSIBLE FOR BETWEEN 20 000 AN 30 000 Deaths

Constitution Manipulation for Prolonged Stay 

The common strategies used by African leaders to hold on to power has mainly been through imposing restrictions on political competition, the use of force and manipulating the constitution such as amending term limits. For the most part, these strategies have worked for the incumbents. Unfortunately, these constitutional amendments have not in any way been favourable to the overall economic development of the nations. In the wake of a slew of constitutional amendments granting Mugabe broad power, the country experienced drops in life expectancy and per capita income between 1990 and 2005, as well as a notable decline in its ranking on the UN Development Program’s HDI and resulting to underfunded or dysfunctional government departments and programmes (Felter, 2017). Felter also observed that the practice gained intensity after 2000 when many postcolonial leaders were nearing the ends of their constitutional term limits.

About seventeen heads of state have tried to remain in power by altering their countries’ constitutions. Sam Nujoma of Namibia did so in 1998, Eyadema Gnassingbe of Togo in 2002. Omar Bongo of Gabon got the parliament to modify the country’s constitution to allow him for a sixth term in 2003. Such countries as Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda also made attempts.

However, 2017 was a tough year for Africa’s strongmen: Yahya Jammeh (Gambian, 1994 to 2017) was kicked out, José Eduardo dos Santos (Angola, 38 years in office) stepped down, and Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe, 37 years in office) was pushed off (, 2018).

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is an Equatoguinean politician who has been President of Equatorial Guinea since 1979, continues (2018). Mbasogo’s eldest son Teodorin was given a three-year suspended jail term and a suspended fine of € a French court for embezzlement, money-laundering, corruption, abuse of trust and plundering public money from his oil-rich but impoverished west African state to fund a jet-set lifestyle in Paris. Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has won a seventh term in office in polls marred by low turnout and voter intimidation. Mr. Biya, at 85 and sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest leader, took 71.3% of the vote; making it the 7th term in office since 1982. Others include:

  1. Congo-Brazzaville President, Denis Sassou Nguesso, has spent 34 years in office; though with a break between 1992 and 1997;
  2. In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni has been in power for 33 years. He took office in January 1986 after winning the war that ousted brutal dictator Idi Amin Dada. He was elected to a fifth term in February 2016;
  • In Sudan, Omar al-Bashir has ruled for 29 years after staging a coup in June 1989.
  1. Chad’s Idriss Deby took over the northern nation in 1990, giving him nearly 28 years in power. He won a disputed fifth term in April 2016;
  2. The Eritrean leader, Isaias Afwerki, has been in charge since independence in April 1993, making 25 years;
  3. McVeigh (20175) added Rwanda’s Paul Kagame to the list. Rwandans have voted overwhelmingly to allow President Paul Kagame to extend his term in office with an official result of nearly 99% in an election criticised for numerous irregularities. He has been described as the “most impressive” and “among the most repressive” African leaders. It is, however, noteworthy that Kagame is credited with engineering Rwanda to a turnaround from a war-ravaged, ethnically divided country to a united and successful nation.

news also noted that two were killed in office:

  1. Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie holds the record for the longest time in power on the African continent. After reigning for 44 years, he was ousted in 1974. His regime was also criticised by human rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, as autocratic and illiberal. The 1973 famine in Ethiopia led to Haile Selassie’s eventual removal from the throne. He died on 27 August 1975 at the age of 83, following the coup d’état of 1974.
  2. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled with an iron fist for nearly 42 years. Gaddafi attended military college and almost immediately set about plotting to overthrow Libya’s ruler, King Idris I. He succeeded in 1969, taking power in a bloodless coup. Muammar Gaddafi was 27. Gaddafi remained firmly in power and built a reputation as a shrewd if eccentric, dictator. In 2011, he attacked protesters in his own country, leading to a full armed rebellion in Libya. The rebel forces overran Tripoli in August of 2011. Gaddafi escaped, but two months later he was wounded in battle after being cornered near his hometown of Sirte; he reportedly was captured and then died of his wounds shortly thereafter. He was famous for his all-female contingent of bodyguards, and for his habit of receiving visitors in a Bedouin-style tent.

Two presidents were relieved from power by death:

  1. Gabon’s Omar Bongo died in June 2009 after more than 41 years in power. Bongo was criticised for, in effect, having worked for himself, his family and local elites and not for Gabon and its people. For instance, French green politician Eva Joly claimed that during Bongo’s long reign, despite an oil-led GDP per capita growth to one of the highest levels in Africa, Gabon built only 5 km of freeway a year and still had one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates by the time of his death in 2009. It is believed that he died of advanced complications of cancer.
  2. Gnassingbe Eyadema also ruled the West African country of Togo for 38 years from 1967 to his death in 2005. He was succeeded by his son Faure Gnassingbe. He participated in two successful military coups, in January 1963 and January 1967, and became President on April 14, 1967. He was declared to have died of heart attack. Eyadéma’s son Faure Gnassingbé’ declaration as president was opposed widely byAlpha Oumar Konaré, president of the Commission of the African Union, the International Community and ECOWAS. The presidential elections of April 24, 2005, declared Faure president with 60% of the vote.

Will African Leaders Plan for Development?

Where is the hope for the emergence of Africa from squalor to eminence? From under-development to industrialisation? From poverty to wealth? The hope is bleak.

Let’s look at the Nigerian situation. An ex-Minister of Communication declared that the telephone is for the rich. A few decades later telephone became ubiquitous; even affordable to roadside hawkers. The same person rose to be Senate Preside with a two-time tenure. We voted him in. the same Senate with the lower House allotted huge allowances to themselves; as stated earlier.

In same Nigeria, ex-President Obasanjo declared the following concerning his Vice President, Mr. Abubakar Atiku, as:

  1. Possessing unsavoury corruption perception (Ogundipe, 2018)
  2. Anti-graft detectives allegedly came up with damning dossiers that linked his lieutenant (Mr. Abubakar) to a slew of financial misdeeds (Ogundipe, 2018).
  • $6m of the diverted funds allegedly went to iGate, a Kentucky-based communications firm that tried to do business in Nigeria in 2004 (, 2007)
  1. Atiku complained about taking on too many responsibilities as the nation’s Number 2 citizen. (Toromade, 2018)
  2. His judgment was not right and, on a number of occasions, I pointed this out to him (Toromade, 2018).
  3. a blatant and shameless liar (, 2018)
  • a most disloyal human being (, 2018)
  • If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me (Ogundipe, 2018)

However, Obasanjo reneged on his “God will not forgive me” vows as he has pledged to support Atiku Abubakar’s presidential bid, as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party. Obasanjo and Atiku have mended their broken fences or should we say that they have filled up the gulf existing between them?

Chief Olabode George was adjudged to be very corrupt, investigated and found to be involved in shady deals. Obasanjo instructed a review of EFCC findings and he got a clean slate (Obabueki, 2016), was later arraigned before a court that found him guilty and sentenced for 28 years on (, 2009) 35 of the 68-count charge (2 years each on 7 counts and 6 months each on another 28 counts of the charges- Abdulah and Adejuwon, 2009 ). Nigerians were not happy with the low penalty and PDP celebration after his release (Abati, 2011; Aziken et al, 2011). After serving out the jail term, the Supreme Court slammed the case, to the chagrin of legal luminaries (Falana, 2013; Obabueki, 2016) and accusing the Nigerian court of being penchant to dismissing corruption cases on the altar of technicalities, that it is on record that many corruption cases filed against members of the ruling class by the anti-graft agencies have been dismissed in the last few weeks on flimsy grounds (Falana, 2013) and that it is a significant setback to the fight against corruption in Nigeria (Muktar, 2014). When such highly placed individuals cry against corruption, it excludes themselves (, 2014; Abdulah, 2018).

Ibori was jailed in Britain but conferred with chieftaincy title on completion of his jail term and return to Nigeria (Yusuf, 2017). The old adage which says “Remember to uphold the family’s good name” has changed to “Don’t forget to haul in the nation’s resources that you have access to”. This new title agrees with the chieftaincy title conferred on James; “Ezi-Oyi Anioma”, also known as “a good friend of Anioma nation”

Way Forward

I have no apology concerning my views on Ango’s declaration on handpicking Obasanjo for presidency (Fagoyinbo, 2016). Obasanjo noted that beyond other PDP presidential aspirants, Atiku possessed, for him, relatively and of all the aspirants the widest and greatest exposure, experience, outreach and possibly the best machinery and preparation for seeing the “tough and likely dirty campaign ahead” through (, 2018). Obasanjo has the right to air his opinion and has not forced it on the nation. It is also right for the populace to consider Obasanjo’s opinion based on their assessment of his ow performance and the credibility that is assigned to him.

He claimed Atiku has a better understanding of the economy than President Muhammad Buhari.  He advised Atiku at their reconciliation meeting “You surely understand the economy better and you have business experience, which can make your administration business-friendly and boost the economy and provide jobs. “You have better outreach nationally and internationally and that can translate to better management of foreign affairs. “You are more accessible and less inflexible and more open to all parts of the country in many ways,”. Obasanjo further advised him to run an inclusive government where merit and performance count more than blood relationship, friendship or kith and kin like they both did between 1999 and 2007 and emphasising “Please uphold truth, integrity, principles, morality and fight corruption, crimes and insurgency’ and stressing that “The fundamental law of the land, our constitution must be scrupulously defended.”

Obasanjo unequivocally committed Mr. Abubakar to uphold the country’s constitution ”I make one demand and one demand on you today, I need you to say before God and man that you will always remain irrevocably committed to upholding all the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the whole country will remain your single indivisible constituency. “Constitutionalism, popular participation and inclusiveness are pre-conditions for reversing the deficits of the past three and half years.” They will ensure abiding faith in our indivisibility, oneness and faith in the survival of all against none. “The fundamentals for our development, economic growth and progress are hard and soft infrastructure.”

On inclusive governance, he advised “Remember to always give adequate places in your administration to our youth and women. All the authorities involved with the preparation, all processes and conduct of the election must ensure that the election is free, fair and credible.”

Atiku reiterated that he could not have become relevant without the training and tutelage from Obasanjo’s leadership. Atiku who described the day as one of the happiest days in his life said it was time for well-meaning Nigerians to come together so that the country could be repositioned on the path of unity and prosperity. He pledged to dedicate and commit his tenure, if elected as president, to the continuation of the Olusegun Obasanjo- led administration ( (2018).

Obasanjo is one ex-president that is accessible to any socio-economic development agency involved in active and participatory development programmes. He is involved in promotion f research and development, agriculture and governance. African leaders need to learn from his experience. He is not hunted by any international court or local judicial organisation.

Other ex-presidents to learn from are Arap Moi f Kenya

  1. General Yakubu “Jack” Dan-Yumma Gowon is a former Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria from 1966 to 1975. He took power after one military coup d’état and was overthrown in another. During his rule, the Nigerian government successfully prevented Biafran secession in the 1967–70 Civil War.

The postwar years saw Nigeria enjoying a meteoric, oil-fuelled, economic upturn in the course of which the scope of activity of the Nigerian federal government grew to an unprecedented degree, with increased earnings from oil revenues. Unfortunately, however, this period created the era of 10% gratification on contracts to federal government officials; and although the head of State himself, he was often accused of turning a blind eye to the activities of his staff and cronies.

General Gowon lives peacefully in Nigeria and is involved in Guinea Worm Eradication Programme as well as the HIV Programme with Global Fund of Geneva. Gowon founded his own organisation in 1992 called the Yakubu Gowon Centre. The organisation is said to work on issues in Nigeria such as good governance as well as infectious disease control including HIV/AIDS, guinea worm, and malaria. He is also the founder and Grand Patron of Nigeria Prays, an interdenominational praying group committed to praying for peace and development.

  1. Jerry John Rawlings was the former head of state and president of Ghana from 7 January 1993, to 7 January 2001. Rawlings initially came to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force following a coup d’état in 1979 and, after initially handing power over to a civilian government, ousted the then government and took back control of the country on 31 December 1981 as the Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council.

In 1992, Rawlings resigned from the military, founded the National Democratic Congress, and became the first President of the Fourth Republic. He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years. After two terms in office, the limit according to the Ghanaian Constitution, Rawlings endorsed his vice-president John Atta Mills as a  presidential candidate in 2000. He currently serves as the African Union envoy to Somalia.

  • Daniel Arap Moi was named vice president in 1967, Moi became president in 1978 following the death of Jomo Kenyatta. He quickly consolidated his power, banning opposition parties and promoting his Kalenjin countrymen to positions of authority at the expense of the Kikuyu. He also curried favour with the army, which proved loyal to him in suppressing a coup attempt in 1982. His continuation of Kenyatta’s pro-Western policies ensured significant sums of development aid during the Cold War (1947–91), and under Moi’s stewardship, Kenya emerged as one of the most prosperous African nations.

Following western countries’ demand for political and economic reforms Moi to legalised opposition parties in 1991. The following year he won the country’s first multiparty elections amid charges of electoral fraud. Riots and demonstrations marred the 1997 elections, and hundreds of Kenyans, mainly Kikuyu, were killed. Easily elected to his fifth term as president, Moi promised to end government corruption and implement democratic and economic reforms. In an effort to combat corruption, in 1999 he appointed Richard Leakey, the popular and respected anthropologist, the head of the civil service and permanent secretary to the cabinet, a position Leakey retired from in 2001.

On 25 July 2007, Kibaki appointed Moi as special peace envoy to Sudan based on Moi’s “vast experience and knowledge of African affairs” and “his stature as an elder statesman”. In his capacity as peace envoy, Moi was expected to help secure peace in southern Sudan.

  1. Nelson Mandela spent 28 years as a political prisoner in South Africa before becoming the country’s first black president.

He was a leading member of the African National Congress (ANC), which opposed South Africa’s white minority government and its apartheid policy. The government outlawed the ANC in 1960. Mandela was captured and jailed in 1962, and in 1964 he was convicted of treason and sentenced to life in prison. He served his prison tern on Robben Island, near Cape Town. He became a prison-bound martyr and worldwide symbol of resistance to racism.

South African President F.W. de Klerk finally lifted the ban on the ANC and released Mandela in 1990. Nelson Mandela used his stature to help dismantle apartheid and form a new multi-racial democracy, and he and de Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Nelson Mandela was elected the country’s president in 1994. He served until 1999, when he was succeeded by his deputy Thabo Mbeki. Mandela remained a celebrated figure in South Africa and throughout the world until his death in 2013. Mandela is one good example to emulate by African rulers either in the Executive or legislative arms.


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