Over the weekend, Zimbabwe’s Standard Sunday newspaper published an interview with President Robert Mugabe’s former Home Affairs and Defence Minister Enos Nkala. Nkala, who had since fallen out with Mugabe, spoke with the Zimbabwean leader last week and stated “From what we discussed, Mugabe said he is tired and wants to retire but he cannot do so now because Zanu-PF will die… He (Mugabe) was yet to find a successor within Zanu-PF, who could lead the party and keep the country united.” According to Nkala, Mugabe claimed that “factionalism was eating away at the party and, if not handled properly, could explode into a civil war.” He also said that “It’s easy for people to say Mugabe must go…but most of them do not know that he is the glue that has been holding this country together.”
Regardless of whether or not Mugabe’s statements and Nkala’s assessments are true, this story raises a concern that I’ve heard reflected in conversations about other long-serving African leaders:
Are some African leaders who have been in power for several years the “glue” that holds their countries together? If so, what are the likely outcomes if/when they depart the political scene without a succession plan?
If you’re reading this, I’d really be interested in hearing what you think about which other African leaders might be in a similar situation and what might happen to their countries when they depart.
The Article heading is posed on a premise of a generalized assumption that all African leaders are the same. However, you corrected it within the article.
Whereas I am not an expert on Mugabe, after reading the above article link about Mugabe, Nkala makes persuasive points. That old man depicted in those photos dozing off in his vulnerable advanced age is the same leader with most degrees – 7 in total, with 2 masters and two law degrees and once vigorous. To some Zimbabwean, he is a hero, a liberator and super glue.
Leaders like Mubarak are no glue, just like many leaders clinging to power giving false excuses just like the colonizers did.
To understand if some African leaders are the glue that can hold their countries together, one has to go beyond the present. Look back at how they got into power and the historical background of those countries’ demarcations and soon you will see the same old game of divide and conquer being played within and without.
With many educated African youths and African natural resources with the power of technology, what is needed is democratic governance and it is just a matter of time.