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Shame To African Leaders 

By Maurice Ambeno

The legendry former South African President, Nelson Mandela, is the most respected and honoured person on earth today. That goes without saying that he has his shortcomings which have easily been overshadowed by his exemplary strength of good, if not enviable character. He is an icon whose examples shame and make most African leaders look small, mean, irresponsible, heartless and unserviceable to the people they are supposed to serve.

It is common knowledge that most African countries are drenched, and wallow in poverty and disease due to ignorance, greed, corruption, bad governance and disrespect of the constitution by their leaders. Such examples abound in Africa. That is why, instead of being the land flowing with milk and honey, its leaders take pride to be counted among the highly indebted poor countries of the world. But Africa is overflowing with God-given natural resources which could have made a country like Israel incomparably rich if they happened to have been planted anywhere in our continent.

Nelson Mandela, world number one in leadership, is an African. Barack Obama, an African-American, is today’s most powerful leader in the world despite attempts by the whites to downplay his leadership and integrity. It is arguably correct to conclude that if given the chance, very good leaders can emerge from Africa. It is our responsibility to put our heads together in bringing about the creation of a new African leadership.

The Organisation of African Unity, OAU, re-baptised African Union, AU, has practically nothing special to be proud of. The very people involved in its formation and membership are the very ones who grab power and sit tight for ever even when they become unpopular. They change or flout the constitution to hold on to power? What then do we expect from such Libyan "Emperor" who rules the country as if it is his private property?

Surely, if given the least opportunity, any of these life Presidents will do everything to become a life time African monarch; God forbid. Fortunately, Nelson Mandela, by the grace of God, is still living at 91. If the African Union is anything to go by, I challenge it to hold an all African Heads of State meeting to be chaired by Nelson Mandela with Barack Obama as a special guest. Most of Africa’s problems stem from mismanagement of elections and the refusal of Heads of State to quit office constitutionally.

This brings about unbridled corruption, mismanagement and dictatorship which hatch internal trifle, violence, death and, in many cases, civil wars. It is only then that the AU and other world bodies and organisations deem it necessary to intervene with what they call "peace keeping forces." Think of how much time, money and, in some cases, lives are wasted in such operations!

The all African Heads of State meeting I am suggesting should, in the first place, be attended personally by all Heads of State. At that meeting, Mandela and Obama will, no doubt, teach them how to behave themselves for the good of their people and their country. They should sign an undertaking that all African Heads of State may serve only two five-year terms in office and no more. That there must be an independent electoral body to conduct elections from registration to the declaration of results and that no military government will be accepted or recognised.

I am sure that Africa would have advanced a mile stone if such a declaration is strictly adhered to. Besides, other ideas may come up from some leaders to consolidate our democracy and good leadership. The syndrome of children succeeding their parents which is about to take off must be discussed and stopped at the meeting.

I am writing this article to draw the attention of the African Union, all African Heads of State, the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, world governments and, in particular, my brother Nelson Mandela and my son Barack Obama who, I mean all of you, must not pretend to have over sighted my proposal or should I call it an invitation or, better still, a challenge? As it stands, most African leaders should hide their faces in shame.

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