Annan Charges African Leaders To Quit Office Upon Expiration Of Tenure


SAN FRANCISCO, April 20 (THEWILL) – One time Secretary-General of the United Nations, UN, Mr. Kofi Annan has pleaded with leaders of African countries to quit office when their mandated term expires. He also advised them to avoid excluding opposing voices so that elections can cease to be one of the major causes of conflicts witnessed on the continent.

In an interview at the fifth Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, the international diplomat observed that while unconstitutional changes to government on the continent had reduced, exclusionary politics threatened to reverse the gains made.

The Nobel laureate disclosed that the winner-take-all approaches to elections on the continent had the effect of leaving out citizens for holding an opposing view, raising tensions around elections.

According to him, “I think Africa has done well, by and large the coups have more or less ended, generals are remaining in their barracks, but we are creating situations which may bring them back.

“If a leader doesn't want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out is through a coup or people taking to the streets.

“Neither approach can be seen as an alternative to democracy, to elections or to parliamentary rule. Constitutions and the rules of the game have to be respected.”

Agency report quotes Annan, who chairs the Africa Progress Panel and the Nelson Mandela-founded The Elders grouping, as saying that he had been the first to tell the African Union not to accept coup leaders among their midst (during an OAU heads of state summit in Lusaka in 2001).

Stressing that solutions to the problems faced by the continent must come from within, he challenged the continent to build up its ability to do come up with solutions, including in financing its institutions.

“We cannot always pass a hat around and insist we want to be sovereign, we want to be independent. We should lead and get others to support us—that support will be much more forthcoming when they see how serious and committed we are.”