African leaders in the majority of cases have been disappointing because of the lack of democracy in their countries. Many conflicts in Africa were resolved through the intervention of Western forces as in Sierra Leone, Botswana and Liberia. DR Congo is relatively stable thanks to the UN forces. Darfur was a failure for the African peace keeping forces as no other international forces outside Africa were allowed in it. In other words, African leaders, when faced with crises, can’t sort it out themselves as each has alliances outside the continent.
Chad and Sudan signed a new peace agreement in Senegal, but that was during an Islamic, not an African conference. The annual African summit is just an occasion for meeting without any tangible agreement that ordinary Africans can see on the ground as Africa itself is divided into classical parts, the francophone zone and the Anglophone zone.
Many African leaders are power-manic. They can’t survive without clinching to power as long as possible by any means, like a change in then constitution allowing them to indefinitely stay in power or by vote rigging or intimidating and imprisoning their political opponents. It’s only pressure from the West that makes them bow to make token changes. But at heart the leadership remains in the hand s of the very few.
Africa has historical figure like Nelson Mandela who set the example to other African leaders that remaining in high esteem isn’t to stay in power until asked to leave by popular anger and a coup. Perhaps African leaders should learn from sports champions who leave the fields when they’re still at their apogee and not till they’re completely run out. For Mugabe, he saw his star ascending from the days of struggle against white rule until becoming president. But his intransigent policies and the desire to remain in power, for ever, blemished his image in the eyes of the majority of his countrymen. Had he stepped down before letting his country fall into complete economic chaos, he would now be seen as Zimbabwe’s wise man. Like Nelson Mandela he could have his statue erected in a famous London square or museum.
But as power corrupts , many African leaders are ready to sacrifice the future of their countries as long as they can secure their own future. When democracy becomes a real fact in Africa, elections in them won’t be an occasion for the world to follow them with irony and regret as it happened in Kenya. Perhaps, African politicians should learn how to make fair and free elections a reality. The losers should be the first to announce their defeat and to congratulate their opponents. When politicians go publicly against each other after the elections, it’s no wonder if their supporters bloodily clash in the streets.
African politicians must know that preserving the independence of their countries comes through making sacrifices for them. Intransigence on all sides will keep the continent the poorest in the world, not because it lacks riches, but simply because it lacks politicians with rich ideas to make its multiple miseries a matter of the past.