President Barrack Obama has today told African leaders in Ethiopia that no one should be president for life.
“Nobody should be president for life. And your country is better off if you have new blood and new ideas. I’m still a pretty young man — I’m still a pretty young man, but I know that somebody with new energy and new insights will be good for my country,” said Obama adding that; “I don’t understand why people want to stay in power for so long especially when they have a lot of money. If a leader says he is the only one who can hold the country together, then that leader has failed to build their nation”
Just as the African Union has condemned coups and illegitimate transfers of power, the AU’s authority and strong voice can also help the people of Africa ensure that their leaders abide by term limits and their constitutions.
Obama specifically mentioned Burundi, whose president was just elected to a controversial third term in office.
“When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office it risks instability and strife. As we have seen in Burundi. And this is often… And this is often just the first step down a perilous path… And sometimes you will hear leaders say ‘I’m the only person who can hold this nation together.’ If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation.”
President Obama has told African leaders that the continent’s progress depends on democracy.
In his first address by a sitting US president to the African Union in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, he said Africa could not progress if its leaders refused to step aside when their terms ended.
He also warned that the cancer of corruption was draining billions of dollars from the continent and said that the money could be used to build schools and hospitals.