Too Old To Run
Having succeeded in putting the Not too Young to Run legislation in place, focus should be shifted to a Too Old to Run legislation.
This becomes more expedient when we consider the seat tight syndrome of African leaders – a continent that its leaders are not at ease with handing over the reins of leadership to a younger generation that contributes more than 70% of the population. Even the current global emergence of successful young leaders the world over has done little to assuage this stranglehold of power by first and second generation African politicians, some of whom have led their countries since their political independence.
The lack of legislation to limit these first and second generation African politicians from perpetuating themselves in power has been its water loo. The world’s youngest continent keeps being run by the worlds oldest leaders. In the short past, President Mugabe of Zimbabwe had to be removed from office in what many described as a palace coup at 93 years of age and was replaced by a 75 years old Mnangagwa.
In Nigeria with an average population age of 18.4 years has a 76 year old retired military General Muhammadu Buhari as its president. He is currently seeking a second term that will keep in power until 80, despite mounting health challenges and deteriorating cognition and memory, the reason Trump referred to him as “lifeless”. His closest rival in the 2019 general elections Atiku Abubakar, who served as vice president for 8 years from 1999 to 2007 is currently 72. Both have promised to hand over to a younger president, that, like many political promises in Nigeria is nothing to bet on.
In Uganda where there was an age limit of 75, it has been repealed to pave way for President Museveni who is 73 years to be able to recontest in 2021 when he turns 77.
This calls for legislation that will be difficult to repeal to limit the age of political office holders by individual African states, failure will result a continuous cycle of old and outdated ideas from the first and second generation politicians who have passed their prime and lost the capacity for improvement and leadership that meets the current socio-politico economic realities of today’s society.
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