African Leadership: The Shaping and the Shapers

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African Leadership: The Shaping and the Shapers

Olivier Nyirubugara
September 2008


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Olivier Nyirubugara, Editor

Olivier Nyirubugara, Editor
©O. Nyirubugara,October 2006

In late June 2008, when Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe was feeling at last the timid pressure from his African peers demanding the postponement of the 29 June one-horse race, he replied with a rather strong challenge that pushed the peers to the corner and rendered them speechless. Mugabe said: “We have never interfered in their domestic affairs. Never ever. And now we want a country which wants to point a finger at us and say ‘you have done wrong’. I want to see that finger and see whether it’s clean or dirty”. [1] None of the African leaders who were all getting ready for the 30 June – 1 July 2008 African Union summit in Egypt, reacted to that challenge. They even let Mugabe sit among them and none questioned his legitimacy. Some would hasten to say that the Zimbabwe case was an accident, an exception that should never be generalised. However, facts would contradict those as the Zimbabwe electoral scandal came less than six months after an almost similar situation in Kenya, where the electoral process ended with two self-proclaimed winners who came to a power sharing agreement after bloodshed. Are these failed electoral processes heralding a new leadership style in Africa? Are current constitutional reforms granting life presidency to aging leaders part of that new era? Or is this just a temporary crisis that will not stop the democratisation process that started in the early 1990s? This essay explores leadership in post-independence Africa, highlighting the most representative and leading figures and their leadership styles. I will first discuss the period that immediately preceded and followed independences in the 50s and 60s. Then I will explore leadership in post-colonial Africa before considering the transition to democracy. I will end up with a quick discussion about modern Africa heroes whose leadership is full of inspiration.

Foundation Layers

In 1962, René Dumont authored a pessimistic but ground breaking monograph entitled L’Afrique noire est mal partie, translated as False Start in Africa. The title tells almost all about the book’s content but it would be a mistake to stop to the cover as most of Dumont’s points are rather strongly detailed and convincing. Most of them even converge to the letter with the writings and statements of the independence fathers, the foundation layers of modern Africa. The question would rather be to know whether all Africa missed her take-off. In this section I want to select a few independence heroes who have already entered mythology and focus on their leadership and their political visions both locally and internationally. My argument is that the current African leadership crisis could be better understood by tracing it back to the foundation laying stage. I will mostly consider Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972), Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere (1922-1999), and Congo’s Patrice Eméry Lumumba (1925-1961), with illustrations from other countries when and where relevant.

The political attitude towards the colonial masters in the 1950s – the decade of independence struggles – laid down the basis of modern Africa and still has some impact on modern day African leadership. In the late 40s already, Kwame Nkrumah who had just graduated from Lincoln University in the United States had clear ideas of what his political fight would be about: ‘The first is freedom of the individual. The second is the political independence not just for Ghana or for West Africa, but for all Africa’(Nkrumah, 1961: 5). Aware of his exceptional oratory skills, he opted for soft methods that would not suddenly shake the colonizers’ minds. Despite some riots by his supporters that resulted in his arrest Nkrumah, 1961: 6-7), Nkrumah strongly opposed violence. Beside his speeches, he added The Accra Evening News, a paper in which he published his political views, with a politically-loaded motto on the front page: ‘We prefer self government with danger to servitude in tranquillity’ (Nkrumah, 1961: 10). For him, ‘the battle for self-government went on, not with weapons and bloodshed, but with words’ (Nkrumah, 1961: 14).

Unlike Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere refused to embrace journalism as a way of spreading his pro-independence thoughts, although he published political articles in newspapers on many occasions. A graduate from Edinburgh University, Nyerere knew that his success relied in the methods he would choose. Like Nkrumah, he excluded bloodshed and abstained from immediately discussing sensible topics to avoid the anger of colonial masters who qualified him as a moderate (Van Harn, 1972: 19). This wise position enabled him to peacefully tour the country on behalf of the just-born Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). Van Harn remarks that the priority of the moment was to get closer to and educate the population rather than to confront the much powerful colonial masters. The British would even receive him as special guest and offer him police protection (Van Harn, 1972: 20-21).

Patrice Lumumba’s attitude was different, incoherent and not stable. Unlike Nkrumah and Nyerere who had both attended western universities, Lumumba left school after two years of secondary education. With such limited education, he tried his lot in many trades including poetry, journalism and post office (Lumumba, 1961: 12). In his book – Le Congo Terre d’avenir est-elle menacée? [2] - originally drafted in 1956 but published five years later, Lumumba suggests ‘the adequate solutions, [ and the] new methods dictated by the imperatives of the evolution of the Congo’ (Lumumba, 1961: 17). Contrary to the widespread literature that Lumumba was an anti-colonialist activist of the first hour, [3] it appears that he was the strongest defender of colonialism. Here are excerpts from his book that reflect his understanding of colonialism:

The aim of the Belgian presence in Africa is twofold: economic and humanitarian (p.19)…With a humanitarian and sincerest idealism, Belgium helps us, and with the help of the vigorous indigenous combatants, she chases our enemies, eradicates diseases, educates us, cleanses our less humane customs and habits, renders us our human dignity, makes us free, happy, and civilised people (p.20)….Any human and reasonable person should be grateful and pay tribute to the grandiose action achieved in this country after innumerable material and human sacrifices (p.21)…[Addressing himself to the Belgians] We admire the greatness of your civilisation as it is superior to ours. We are eager to become as civilised as you, but we want to keep our personality and originality (p.151).

At this time – 1956-1957 - it is clear that Lumumba has no liberation agenda as his people’s situation seems to be perfect. The only urgent issue in his eyes was the low salaries that Congolese workers earned (Lumumba, 1961: 23-24 and 30). His methods were rather against those in Belgium who thought that the Congo would be better off if independent (Lumumba, 1961: 162-3). In the mid-1940s, Senegalese independence father Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906-2001) did not deny the benefits of the French education for his people but he strongly rejected the idea that France was conducting a ‘civilising mission’. For him, ‘it was time to put an end to the biased image of the negro-African civilisations presented to us as primitive’ (Senghor, 1971: 9). Contrary to Lumumba, for whom independence was no urgent priority in the late 50s, Senghor was already envisioning independence in the mid-40s, while Nkrumah was formally demanding independence as early as 1953 (Nkrumah, 1961: 30). ‘Colonialism belongs completely to the past – it’s deemed to die out’, said Senghor in an interview in 1946. On that same occasion, he announced his plan, which is strikingly similar to Nkrumah’s and Nyerere’s, as it stressed a learning period of autonomy before independence:

…while awaiting total independence, we advocate the federal solution within the French Union, feasible as from now [1946]. That would enable us to quickly assimilate modern techniques and to train the [future] executive staff who would then demand the autonomy for which we are already assured to reach (Senghor, 1971: 18).

The reason why and the time when Lumumba metamorphosed into a vehement and uncompromising anti-colonialist remains unclear. However, it might be argued that his bitterness towards Belgian colonizers started with his imprisonment allegedly for theft during his post office service time [4] . That bitterness most likely took a political form during the December 1958 Accra All African Peoples’ Conference. Organised in Nkrumah’s independent Ghana, the conference called for ‘a final assault on colonialism and imperialism in Africa’ among other things (Nkrumah, 1961: 174). Nkrumah even connects that conference to the first ever serious riots that broke out in the Congo soon after the conference:

Undoubtedly, the stirring message of the Accra Conference gave new momentum to the liberation movement. Riots broke out in the Congo. Many people were killed and hundreds imprisoned. Names hitherto unknown to the world, like Joseph Kasavubu, Lumumba, Tschombe and Ngalula have spread across the front pages of the international press. (Nkrumah, 1961: 186)

The warlike tone (final assault) given by the Accra Conference changed the whole approach and terminology that Lumumba had used in his book some months before. Terms like imperialism, slavery, oppression, and liberation suddenly occupied a central place in his speeches and replaced what he had until then called the Belgian humanitarian and civilising mission. Colonial commander in Lumumba’s stronghold Stanleyville, Colonel Guy Logiest, adds that in 1959, Lumumba met Guinea revolutionary leader Sekou Touré who briefed him on how to conduct a revolution. Logiest seized Lumumba’s notebook – as Lumumba was jailed for subversion - where Sekou Touré’s teachings could be read: ‘To succeed, a revolution needs martyrs. This puts authorities in an uncomfortable position’(Logiest, 1988: 33).

Another big difference of temper and approach among the fathers of modern Africa, was their behaviour on independence days. On his side, Nkrumah showed exemplary humility towards Britain, which did not prevent him from smartly putting in his anti-imperialistic ideas. Here are excerpts from a series of speeches he pronounced on and around Independence Day on 1 March 1957:

At last the battle has ended! And thus Ghana, your beloved country, is free for ever…(Nkrumah, 1961: 106)… at this great day let us all remember that nothing in the world can be done unless it has the support of God…(Nkrumah, 1961: 107)… [ Replying to Queen Elisabeth’s representative, the Duchess of Kent]. We part from the former imperial power, Great Britain with the warmest feelings of friendship and goodwill. This is because successive governments in the United Kingdom recognised the realities of the situation in the Gold Coast and adopted their policy accordingly. Thus, instead of bitterness which is often born of colonial struggle, we enter on our independence in association with Great Britain and with good relations unimpaired (Nkrumah, 1961: 108-109).

On 30 June 1960, as the Congo officially acquired her independence, Lumumba adopted a totally different attitude that was a continuation of his warlike approach. Contrary to his godfather Nkrumah who respected the elementary protocol principles – by for instance mentioning the honorific titles of his distinguished guests - , Lumumba ignored the presence in the ceremony room of King Baudouin of Belgium, not to mention president Kasavubu and other foreign delegations, and abruptly started his speech with: ‘Men and women of the Congo. Victorious independence fighters’. Lumumba then fell in the ‘bitterness’ trap denounced by Nkrumah by decisively turning his eyes not to the future like Nyerere, but to the past ‘filled with tears, fire and blood’ and loudly proclaiming his proud for ‘putting an end to the humiliating bondage forced upon us’ (Progress Publishers, 1961: 15-16). Lumumba’s mistake was to blindly repeat the words of Nkrumah in June 1959, forgetting that Nkrumah had just completed two years of independence consolidation. [5] Eighteen months later, on 8 December 1961, Tanganyika was celebrating her own independence in joy, with Nyerere closing the independence struggle phase to open the next phase he dubbed: Uhuru na kazi – Freedom and work. Nyerere told his people that independence would not bring any miracle in terms of material gains but only change in their relationships with the white and Asiatic populations (Van Harn, 1972: 25). Like Nkrumah, he did not verbally open fire against the former colonial masters, who, in both cases, were still strong enough to harm and hinder the efforts of the new leaders in one way or another.

Lumumba’s arrogance on Independence Day and the hostile atmosphere it reflected towards Belgians were crucial during the three difficult months that he stayed in office. The humiliated and hurt Belgians sought an alternative and supported the Katanga secession, mentored the removal, arrest and murder of Lumumba who had had no time to show his leadership skills in an independent free Congo. Nyerere’s wiser but not submissive attitude towards the British paid off two years later when the British sent him eight gunship helicopters and troops to crush a military mutiny (Van Harn, 1972: 31). Nyerere’s call to the British was contrary to Nkrumah’s motto of preferring ‘self government with danger’ rather than reliance on external forces for tranquillity. Nyerere acted in a responsible way as his aim was to put his people’s interest before all. If the price to pay was to sacrifice part of his country’s hard-won pride, then it was his duty to do so. Lumumba created a very sad situation by voluntarily becoming the enemy of the former colonizers, who, any way, still had interests to defend in the country, and whose technical assistance and cooperation were still needed. It would have been wiser to have them as allies for the independence consolidation years before building up viable institutions.

The current political situations of the four countries whose founding fathers I discussed above push me to conclude with the Latin dictum that qui bene incipit bene concludit. [6] The leadership heritage left by Nkrumah, Nyerere and Senghor constitutes the basis of current democratic and stable Ghana, Tanzania, and Senegal respectively. On the other hand, Lumumba’s lack of coherence, clear political agenda and efficient methods added to improvisation, had both immediate and long term impacts on his country’s leadership that never managed to emerge as a stable, modern and organised state. The next section discusses how the foundation layers and some other early leaders styled their leaderships, readjusting the African way the already existing social and governance concepts.

Post-Independence ‘Africanizers’

Once independent, the new nations started concentrating on their economic and political survival, which many of them centred on African socialism, a concept they defined and applied differently. On the political grounds, the foundation layers and those who took over them established a new leadership style based on state-party systems. The argument of those times was that Africa could not copy-paste the European model of democracy and social organisation. In this section, I want to observe the first steps of the young African independent nations, especially those whose leaders I considered in the previous section. The period under consideration goes from independence until the late 80s - early 90s, when most African nations engaged in transition to the European model of democracy.

In the sixties, Dumont warned the new African leaders that ‘political independence was not enough’ as many had understood it as the replacement of white masters by black masters with all accompanying privileges (Dumont, 1969: 21). He further advised them to stop condemning the colonizers whose errors they tended to perpetuate in independent states (Dumont, 1969: 77). Dumont denounced the luxury which independence fathers turned into priorities: the president of Dahomey wanted a sort of Elysée Palace while Republic of Congo’s (Brazzaville) Fulbert Youlou ‘wanted his little Versailles’ and secured a loan from Switzerland for it (Dumont, 1969: 79-80), to mention only a few examples. Nyerere resisted that luxury temptation and even refused to dwell in the former colonial governor’s luxurious palace that had become the presidential palace. He preferred to secure a loan and to build his personal modest house with personal furniture (Van Harn, 1972: 13). Regarding farm ownership, he simply banned it for the leaders (Van Harn, 1972: 141).That was the exteriorisation of Nyerere’s political philosophy known as ujamaa, one form of African Socialism. Confirming Dumont’s remark, Nyerere rebuked his educated fellow country men on their ‘colonial attitudes of mind’ consisting in seeking wage office employment once they completed even primary school education (Nyerere, 1972: 71). Nyerere defined his ujamaa socialism concept as a return to the African roots, a closure of the brackets opened by the colonizers who had imposed foreign ways of living:

The word ujamaa denotes the life lived by a man, and his family – father, mother, children and near relatives. Our Africa was a poor country before it was invaded by foreigners. There were no rich people in Africa…Land was the property of all the people, and those who used it did not do so because it was their property. They used it because they needed it…Life was easy…No one used wealth for the purpose of dominating others. This is how we want to live as a nation (Nyerere, 1972: 137).

Nyerere’s idea was to abolish the master-servant relationships inherited from colonialism and to ‘make every person a master – not a master who oppresses others, but one who serves himself’ (Nyerere, 1972: 139). In March 1952, that is fourteen years before Nyerere’s views on master-servant relationships, Nkrumah had used exactly similar arguments and terminology to inculcate African socialism into future Ghanaians’ minds. At that time, Prime Minister Nkrumah addressed the national assembly in these terms:

We are making sure that there are no more Civil ‘Masters’ in this country as under the Colonial regime, but Civil ‘Servants’, as in other countries, dictating no policy but faithfully carrying out the policy decided by the Cabinet (Nkrumah, 1961: 27)

I have to say that contrary to Nyerere’s ujamaa, Nkrumah’s views and achievements with regards to African socialism were not outstanding and visible. He even made little mention of them in his book I Speak of Freedom (1961). Apart from slightly mentioning his intention of fortifying ‘an African socialist ideology’ allowing the ‘creation of a welfare state based upon African socialist principles, adapted to suit Ghanaian conditions’ (Nkrumah, 1961: 163), he did not detail his plan and strategy to implement that African socialism. He even refers to it as ‘an’ Africa socialist ideology, inferring that that ideology still had to be defined. The point is that both Nkrumah and Nyerere were fighting on two fronts: internal and external. The difference between the two is that Nyerere’s stands both on internal and external issues were clearer and unmistakeable, while Nkrumah’s internal issues were overshadowed by his panaficanist activism.

Less concerned by panafricanist issues was Senghor. Like the above-mentioned independence fighters, he embraced and advocated African socialism (Markovitz, 1969: 110) from the beginning of his political career in the early 40s. Being one of the prominent fathers of the Negritude movement in the 30s, Senghor had no other imaginable option as Negritude referred to the return to African values, including the ones Nyerere mentions in his definition of ujamaa. Seating in the French national assembly, Senghor moulded his African socialism based on French socialism, combined with his Negritude philosophy and the humanistic aspects of Marxism. Defining his understanding of African socialism much more intellectually and philosophically than practically, Senghor viewed it as a ‘return to the lively Marxian sources by rethinking them as Negro-Africans’ (Senghor, 1971: 54).Unlike Nyerere’s conviction about profit making and ownership, Senghor did not deny the law of savings and the one of profit (Markovitz, 1969: 143).

Why have all these leaders, and many others, [7] opted for African socialism? Many reasons could be advanced, including the fact that the priority of post-independence Africa was to mobilise maximum resources to improve the level of life of the former colonized populations. There was an urgent need to have socialist governments that focus on building basic infrastructure (health care, schools, water and sanitation, roads, etc) instead of focusing on pure market economy capitalism. Another argument could be based on the foundation-layers’ backgrounds. Nkrumah lived in the United States during the Great Depression that necessitated direct socialistic intervention from democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration. One major inspiration for Nkrumah could have been the Roosevelt’s New Deal that provided relief to the poor and allowed economic recovery. Regarding Senghor, I have already mentioned that his involvement in the Negritude movement had made him almost automatically socialist and he remained so even in the French parliament in the 1940s. [8] Nyerere’s possible source of inspiration is not easy to detect in his background. The only thing that most likely pushed him to opt for socialism was the fact that he was the first Tanganyikan to ever attend a European university. During his absence, the school where he had taught took good care of his family and fiancée, a highly socialistic action that is likely to leave indelible marks on one’s mind (Van Harn, 1972: 11).

On political grounds, things went differently throughout the continent. Like socialism, many other concepts were turned ‘African’, including democracy itself. After overwhelming multiparty electoral victories (70 seats out of 71 in parliamentary election in 1960, and 98,1 percent in the December 1963 presidential election) , [9] Nyerere decided to establish ‘a democratic one-party system by law’ as the previous system had been ‘directly influenced by the practices of democracy in Britain’ (Nyerere, 1971: 36-37). Nyerere had two major arguments: the voters had massively voted for TANU and it would be useless to keep other non-representative parties. This Nyerere’s new leadership style inferred that the non-representative parties were meant to eternally remain small as if TANU was big at birth. He did not allow the population to make their mind later after judging TANU’s achievements. The second argument, which many other leaders reproduced, was that multiple parties spoil national cohesion and unity. In subsequent elections, Nyerere was the only candidate. I should rather talk of referenda as voters were asked to tick the ‘Yes’[to Nyerere] or ‘No’ boxes, instead of selecting among different people (Nyerere, 1971: 77) with different agendas. Joseph Desire Mobutu (1930-1997) , [10] the man behind Lumumba’s arrest in September 1961 and who took power after a military coup on 24 November 1965, also introduced the referendum style with voters presented only with a green and red card for unity and order [Mobutu], and discord and disorder, respectively. Mobutu would say that presenting red ballots [for discord and disorder] was perceived as a provocation by the voters, who chanted that they would vote 500 and even 1000 percent for him (Michel, 1999).

Nkrumah and Senghor who had enjoyed a longer period of autonomy before independence made big exceptions by allowing the existence of opposition parties, although under tough government control. For Senghor, Africa had her own original form of democracy long before the coming of Europeans, and that is where Africans should go back to for inspiration:

African democracy is essentially founded on the palabre. The palabre is a dialogue, or better yet, a colloquium, where each has the right to speak…Formerly, even the dead were consulted. But once every opinion was expressed, the minority followed the majority to manifest their unanimity. This unanimous opinion was then vigorously applied without deviation. The severe offender had to atone and seek expiation in order to reintroduce order into community and universe. Otherwise he was excluded….The problem now is to restore this domestic democracy under a modern form (Markovitz, 1969: 195-196).

Based on this Afro-renaissance conception of democracy, Senghor established not a one-party system, but rather a dominant-party one, where the opposition and minorities find ‘their natural legal limits in the rights of the majority’. (Markovitz, 1969: 196-7). The same argument I used against Nyerere’s African democracy is valid for Senghor as well. The opposition is deemed to remain minority forever as their limits are within the rights of the [present and thus eternal] majority. The only difference is that oppositionists were within TANU in Tanganyika, while in Senegal they had independent parties. Nkrumah’s perception of democracy was unique. He maintained a multi-party system at least until 1964, stressed African ways of solving African problems but never rejected systematically Western influence, techniques and methods (Nkrumah: 1961: 101). On his side and in the name of African democracy, Mobutu established a one-party system in the country that he was to rename Zaire. Asked if European democracy could work in Africa, Mobutu replied:

We are not Europeans. We are not Westerners. We are Bantou . [11] Having been colonized by Westerners does not make us Westerners. We remain Bantou. We have our manners which are different from yours [European] and which will never be yours….We can apply it [European democracy] but not to the letter…the nuance is that here, the respect due to the chief is sacred. No one should dupe or cheat the chief. When the chief decides, his decision is irrevocable. I decided on behalf of the Army high command that we will stay on power for five years and that is irrevocable (Michel, 1999)

Imitating Nyerere and Senghor, Mobutu too connects his leadership style to African traditional democratic values. For Nyerere, democratic alternatives could be found only within the one-party structure. For Senghor, the opposition had no other option but follow the eternal majority. For Mobutu, no other option was possible but to follow the will of the Chief, who he was. Next-door, in Rwanda, Gregoire Kayibanda (1924-1976), was referring to democracy as the rule of natural ethnic majority as if no member of the minority group could join the majority group’s party and vice versa. Although the 24 November 1962 Constitution allowed the existence of parties, the ruling Parmehutu’s pressure forced smaller parties out of the political arena and the party became a de facto single party (Paternostre, 1994: 181-183). Like Nyerere and Mobutu, Kayibanda won the subsequent one-man elections with over 98 percent. His successor, Juvenal Habyarimana did not change much, except that he introduced the démocratie responsable model which he did not attempt to give any Afro-renaissance connotation. The principle was to have by law one captain (himself) and one ship (his party) for the crossing of the river of poverty (Shimamungu, 2004: 80). Dumont recognised that the European democracy could not work in countries of illiterates with very low levels of economic developments. However, he laughed at the theatrical and resource-consuming elections organised with results known in advance (Dumont, 1969: 240-241).

This political cacophony caused by diverging ways of perceiving democracy allegedly the African way also reached Nkrumah’s Ghana in 1964, when he committed his political suicide by instituting the state-party system. A country that had enjoyed an effective multi-party democracy since early 1950s created harsh opposition essentially composed of the victims of Nkrumah’s ill/not-defined African socialism that had favoured the emergence of classes of feudal profit makers and exploited masses especially in the key cocoa sector (Panabel, 1984: 117-118). The economic and administrative sectors were also gangrened by rampant corruption, which inspired Ghanaian novelist Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are not Yet Born (1968). On 24 February 1966, Army chief of staff, General Jospeh Ankrah did what Congolese, and Central African Republic (CAR) colleagues General Mobutu and Colonel Jean Bedel Bokassa had done three and four months before him, and what General Gnassingbe Eyadema did some eleven months later: ousting by force the independence fathers. When Panabel was publishing his study of African military coups in 1984, a total of 37 coups had taken place, which makes two coups per year since independence. At that time, only Ivory Coast, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal and Zambia had had no coup at all (Panabel, 1984: 5), a description that proves Dumont right that Africa missed her take-off. [12]

So far, I have gone through three stages of leadership [re-] styling since the pre-independence period until the late 1980s. The first was the diverging approaches to acquiring independence, the second one was the Africanization of socialism and democracy, and the third was the authoritarian style imposed by former army chiefs after ousting the foundation layers. The coming section explores leadership style based on multiple parties.

Multipartyism Pioneers

In early 90s Africa found herself in a situation of doubt and hesitation similar to the pre-independence years. Like in that period, the success or failure of the move from self-styled state-party regimes largely but not exclusively depended on the attitudes of the leaders in office. At that time, African leaders adopted different approaches to handling the post-cold war democratic principles, which had nothing to do with the previous cold-war motivated laissez-faire and hypocritical attitudes. In this section, I would like to scrutinize the major political figures who marked the transition to democracy in one way or another across the continent.

Although primarily regarded as a military leader who seized power in a coup in 1972, General Mathieu Kérékou, the two-time president of Benin (1972 – 1991 and 1996- 2006) has acquired a new status of democracy pioneer in modern-day Africa. The first 19-year tenure corresponds to what I described above as state-party based leadership that was common at that time, while the second 10-year regime witnessed a different and democratically-minded Kérékou. He had wisely accepted defeat in 1991 and had soon after apologized to his fellow countrymen for the wrong-doings of his Marxist dictatorship. In return, he received guarantees from his successor Nicephor Soglo that he would not be prosecuted (Bratton and Van de Walle, 1997: 2). Later that year [1991], Zambia’s independence father Kenneth Kaunda (president from 1964-1991) followed Kérékou’s example and peacefully conceded defeat to former labour union leader Frederick Chiluba. It would be interesting to analyse the reason why these two leaders with dictatorial experience and methods suddenly accepted to leave power. Going into this analysis would require a separate study on accepting political defeat in modern Africa. I will therefore content myself with mentioning this rather exceptional year (1991) that heralded the renaissance of African leadership in the persons of Kérékou and Kaunda.

In many other countries, leaders adopted different but expected attitudes. If they had strangled oppositions for decades, why should they all of a sudden accept to put their supreme position at stake? In May 1990, Mobutu lifted the ban on political parties but imposed himself – not his party – as the single arbiter on the political arena. This infers that all could be negotiated or obtained through polls except his seat, which actually kept him as unquestionable ‘Chief’. In a historic address to the Nation, Mobutu said:

At the end of this 20th century, I decided, alone and consciously, to attempt once again the multi-party experience in our country, with the primary principle that everybody is free to join the political party of his choice…What will be the Chief’s role in all this? The Head of the State is above political parties. He will be the arbiter, better, the ultimate recourse. (Michel, 1999)

There is no need to emphasize the similarity between the false start of the independent Congo and the one of the ‘democratic’ Zaire. Both Lumumba and Mobutu failed to establish priority lists that would have guided their actions. While Lumumba’s priority was to humiliate the Belgians, Mobutu’s seemed to be to stay on power forever like many of his counterparts in Cameroon, Gabon, Togo, among others. In Mali, things went differently. Moussa Traoré who had overthrown independence father Modibo Keita in 1968, was deposed in March 1991 by the military who accused him of not opening up the political arena to democratic changes (Wiseman, 1996: 67). From March 1991 to June 1992 coup leader General Amadou Toumani Touré conducted the transition that ended with the democratic election of Alpha Oumar Konare in June 1992. Toumani’s attitude is rather exceptional as he did not run for presidency like General Robert Guei unsuccessfully did in similar circumstances in neighbouring Ivory Coast in October 2000. He rather waited ten years before entering competition on equal footing with other competitors and won the 2002 presidential election.

The democratic return of Kérékou and Toumani could mislead uninformed observers, especially by amalgamating democratic returns and military ones. Six months after the April 1996 return of Kérékou to power, Major Pierre Buyoya, who had reluctantly conceded defeat in 1993 in Burundi, staged his second coup this time against democratically designated president Sylvestre Ntibantunganya. A year later, General Denis Sassou Nguesso came back under similar circumstances in Congo Brazzaville. General Andre Kolingba who had won esteem and respect for accepting electoral defeat in 1993, attempted a military return in May 2001 in the Central African Republic (CAR) but failed as his democratically elected successor Ange Felix Patasse managed to resist. Beside these non-democratic returns, military coups against democratically elected leaders were staged in Niger, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, São Tomé and Príncipe, the CAR, among others. These are unquestionable signs that democracy was not working at all in most African nations. On the one hand, the newly elected leaders failed to bring the promised changes which would have made coups impossible and unpopular. In the Republic of Congo for instance, corruption was much more rampant under Pascal Lissouba’s regime than under Nguesso’s dictatorial rule (Bratton and Van de Walle, 1997: 259). This could justify why Nguesso’s coup in 1997 was not so unpopular though non-democratic.

Despite all these failures, there is no way that Africa could be called a continent of democratic failures. Wiseman (1996: 1) notes that before the shift from dictatorial regimes to democratic ones in the late 80s-early 90s, Botswana, The Gambia, Mauritius, Senegal, and Zimbabwe were more or less having democratic regimes. Since then The Gambia and Zimbabwe witnessed a military coup in July 1994 and harsh dictatorship respectively, which removes those countries from the list of good and successful leadership examples. Beside the three remaining, I should add Tanzania, Ghana, and Senegal, which all managed to secure a more or less good start upon independence as section one demonstrated. However, the tendency in this first decennium of the 21st century is that African leadership is undergoing another shift which could be attributed to the false start of democratization in most African countries. Despite the fact that there are multiple parties, only one emerges to be the dominant one, not always because it is democratically dominant but because the whole administrative and electoral apparatuses are controlled by it, which makes all dishonest manoeuvres possible.

This restyling of African leadership could for instance be seen in Rwanda President Paul Kagame’s move in July 2008 to have the Constitution readjusted by the National Assembly. He successfully managed to include, among others, that the president of Rwanda will never be pursued by any court after leaving office. [13] Any observer of that country’s recent evolution will detect that that amendment is tailored on the president’s own situation as he is at risk of being added to the list of Rwandan military wanted by the French and Spanish justice for criminal allegations in the mid and late 1990s. Earlier that month, Rwanda’s minister of justice had announced that the 30 June-1 July 2008 AU summit in Egypt had unanimously rejected the arrest warrants issued by the French and Spanish judges. That very summit tacitly recognized President Robert Mugabe who had openly stolen his opponent’s victory.

Similar support was offered to Sudan president Omar El Beshir who is at risk of prosecution by the International Criminal Court. President Beshir will likely follow Kagame’s path and put in place legal instruments preventing his prosecution. The biggest worry is that African leaders are forming a continental coalition for self and mutual protection. Addressing the Afro-Arab Festival in Kampala, Uganda in mid-March 2008, Libyan leader Muammar el Qaddafi, suggested that outstanding leaders like Yoweri Museveni and Robert Mugabe “should stay in power until they have solved all the problems in their countries or die while still in power”. [14] On their turn, they would most logically support Qaddafi’s life-presidency and any other move if needed. Supporting Beshir and Kagame in their judicial misfortunes is securing support in advance for days and years ahead. Former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s arrest and trial pushed serving leaders to be cautious devise self and mutual-protection instruments. Taylor was the most unfortunate as he made the mistake of being in open conflict with almost all his neighbours. He could secure no support from far away when next-door neighbours were complaining about him. Mugabe’s case was different. Neighbours –except Zambia - were almost unconditionally his natural allies due to the common liberation struggles that Mugabe still embodied. Malawi never had that kind of struggle and thus should be less prompt to support Mugabe. Instead of that, president Bingu wa Mutarika lacked appropriate words to praise Mugabe. He was ‘impressed that no external force was applied and citizens have been given full opportunity to do what they want’. [15]

The new African leadership era is characterized by one allegedly democratically elected leader who imposes himself at all cost as the key political player; constitutional readjustments that fit the leader especially by removing the term limitation obstacle and guaranteeing a worriless retirement; the annihilation of opposition parties; poll rigging; support from the continent; and power-sharing negotiations if the situation goes out of hand. The Zimbabwe and Kenya cases are good illustrations and seem to be inspiring other opposition leaders in other more stable countries. John Atta Mills, the opposition presidential candidate in Ghana’s November [2008] election stated in January that year that ‘the similarities in the unfortunate situations in both Ghana and Kenya are too glaring to be ignored, especially as there is a high probability of their repetition in our forthcoming general elections’. [16] Atta Mills and other opposition leaders are more and more convinced that incumbents are not ready to leave and that the presidential seat is attributed not by voters but through a two-man power-sharing talk.

The restyling of African leadership is also bringing to the surface the already-mentioned African democracy features, such as annihilating or at least weakening the opposition. Like Mobutu whom voter promised a 1000 percent score and Juvénal Habyarimana whom Rwandans voted for with close to 100 percent, President Paul Kagame, a democratically elected general, can allow himself to say that he is still expecting a 100 percent score in the 21st century democratic Africa. He even uses arguments close to Mobutu’s that his people were not voting for him but for peace and order : [17]

In 2003 when people voted they were voting for peace, for security, for national unity and for social and economic development. Those were their worries. It could even have been 100 percent. [18]

In short, when Africa embraced multi-party democracy in the early 90s, she displayed multiple faces. In many countries, the transition to democracy derailed and escalated into civil wars and total chaos. In some others the process was between failure and success: it was a failure because electoral processes were not transparent, which resulted in the survival of the previous era generation of leaders whose political philosophy changed only theoretically. It was a success because no civil war or other forms of violence accompanied the process, although later years showed the fragility of such half-successes. In a few other nations, the process was a complete and overwhelming success, which the next section endeavours to look into.

Modern Leadership Immortals

On 18 July 2008 I was discussing with a Dutch young journalist about Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, and how major world media had extensively covered it. I asked him why such simple an event should mobilize world and South African media while the rest of Africa would not even mention it. ‘He is the greatest living hero in the world’, said the colleague. A debate ensued. ‘What did Mandela do to be called a hero?’ I asked. The colleague could not find a quick answer. After reflection he said that Mandela had allowed South Africa to become a multiracial tolerant society by not advocating revenge by the formerly oppressed black community. I asked if Mandela had any choice after all without full control over the country’s powerful and white-dominated army, police, judiciary and many other key sectors. Some even would say that justice was not served as criminals received a general amnesty without even appearing to court and confessing their crimes. It can even be compared to the Nazi negotiating and obtaining a peaceful surrender after killing millions, simply because they are still powerful and thus harmful if worried. This is not to challenge Mandela’s outstanding status but rather to illustrate how debatable it is to grant the hero status to anyone.

Mandela’s post-apartheid leadership is mainly built upon three factors: firstly his charismatic personality and prison years, secondly his acceptance of a negotiated transition to multiracial democracy, and, thirdly, his pragmatic post-apartheid political management. I do not want to discuss Mandela’s charisma that the 27-year imprisonment strengthened, as he himself described it in his lengthy Long Walk to Freedom (1994). His acceptance to sacrifice justice for long-term racial reconciliation is much more interesting. The setting up of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was the exteriorisation of this reconciliation policy where no justice was expected to be rendered to the long-oppressed non-Whites. Mandela accepted to put in brackets the crimes that he and his fellow Blacks had been victims of, preferring to focus on the hard-won social justice, that is the rule of the majority. Ronald Walters (2008: 5 and 17) argues that when such huge harms as apartheid is strongly anchored in collective memory, they render any step forward impossible. Having achieved this ‘impossible’ task of moulding a modern South Africa based on racial forgiveness, earned Mandela the status of immortal. Unlike Robert Mugabe who embarked on a socially justified but badly implemented land redistribution twenty years after vanquishing the Ian Smith White-only government, Mandela did not put on his agenda the redistribution of riches. The consequence is that the black majority came to power while the white minority kept holding full control on the business sector. According to Walters, over 80 percent of Black, Coloured or Asians are still predominantly poor while the reverse is true for the white ‘largely due to the tremendous profits created by slave labour’ (Walters, 2008: 35). These contradictions make Mandela’s immortal status somewhat sombre even though they allowed him and the African National Congress (ANC) to reduce racial tensions, which was the priority of Mandela’s administration.

Mandela is also a [Pan]Africanist immortal in that he remained firm vis-à-vis Western pressures. Like Julius Neyerere who broke diplomatic ties with Britain over Southern Rhodesia [Zimbabwe] [19] and Kwameh Nkrumah who froze French assets after France’s 1960 nuclear test in the Sahara, [20] Mandela defied the United States and their Western allies with regard to Libyan leader Muamar Qaddafi, then considered international terrorist. On a reception in his honour in June 1999, Mandela told Qaddafi:

It was pure expediency to call on democratic South Africa to turn its back on Libya and Qaddafi, who had assisted us in obtaining democracy at a time when those who now made that call were the friends of the enemies of democracy in South Africa. [21]

Such statements, added to friendship with then Cuba president Fidel Castro, are the first characteristic of panafricanist heroism as Africans [should] decide themselves who their friends should be. The debate is relevant today more than ever before, as Africa is forced [by the West] to choose between the West and China. Mandela’s panafricanist immortal status was recently damaged by his deafening and unjustified silence regarding hot issues in Africa. No reaction was heard from him about the Kenyan December 2007- March 2008 crisis. He timidly spoke of ‘tragic failure of leadership’ in Zimbabwe months after Mugabe had overtly shown his anti-democratic conduct. [22] Unlike him, Nobel Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu was prompt to put pressure on Mugabe since the beginning, asking for sanction and a foreign peace keeping force, among others. [23] Mandela’s status as African elder statesman and Nobel Prize laureate would have positively contributed to a positive change in Zimbabwe. He could also have relieved his successor Thabo Mbeki whom presidential function and lack of charisma push to adopt the ‘silent diplomacy’ strategy that has so far proven inefficient.

This absenteeism makes Mandela different from Nkrumah and Nyerere who were alert on political evolution in other African countries and kept repeating that their respective countries would be free and independent if all Africa were (Nkrumah, 1961:133 and Nyerere, 1968: 144-145). The latter’s panafricanist views and actions granted them extra-national fame as their message was the basis for the Organisation of African Unity that later became the African Union (AU). Their message should be readjusted to become ‘African individual states will be free and democratic if all Africa were’. Nyerere’s question in 1965 has a staggering relevance with regard to African leaders’ attitudes in current leadership crises: ‘Do African states meet in solemn conclave to make a noise? Or do they mean what they say? …Where can we hide ourselves for shame?’ (Nyerere, 1968: 128). Mandela could be excused as he has had a totally different experience compared to other African leaders. That experience prompted him to devise a totally different political agenda that placed domestic issues on his four-year term priority list. The evidence is that Mandela’s successor Thabo Mbeki quickly filled the gap left open by Mandela by fully involving himself in the NEPAD (New Economic Partnership for African Development), in peace keeping missions in Burundi and the DRC, and in mediation efforts in Zimbabwe. Instead of being interpreted as Mandela’s weakness, I should argue that it was most likely a strategic choice: concentrating on urgent racial reconciliation issues rather than diverting efforts to long-term panafricanist issues.

Another success story is to be found in Mozambique, a country that managed to emerge first from the independence war and then from a disastrous civil strife into an exemplary peaceful and democratic society. In October 2007, former president Joachim Alberto Chissano (1986-2005) was rewarded by the Ibrahim Mo Foundation for his role in building a modern democratic Mozambique. Chissano voluntarily stepped down in 2005 while he could have run for another term without readjusting the Constitution. Until then, only Tanzanian Julius Nyerere (in 1962 as Prime Minister and in 1985 as president), Senegalese Lépold Sédar Senghor (in 1980), and South African Nelson Mandela (in 1999) had voluntarily retired, while the prevailing systems (state party, dominant, and a constitution allowing two-terms, respectively)) allowed them to stick to power. Some would minimize Chissano’s retirement arguing that Kérékou and Kaunda had done so in 1991. I would counter-argue that both Kérékou and Kaunda courageously but not voluntarily retired from office as they conceded defeat to their more popular opponents. In Chissano’s case, he simply left the competition for others to try their luck, even though some political calculations could be detected in his move as I will explain later.

Chissano is also credited for his efforts in reconciling the two formerly opposed movements, that is, his own Marxist Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) and right-wing Mozambique Resistance Movement (Renamo). Long before that, he had strongly used his student years in Paris to contribute to the non-racist definition of Frelimo in the early 60s when the movement was divided in two camps: on the one hand those considering any white as enemy, and on the other hand, those – among whom Chissano, Eduardo Mondlane, and Marcelino dos Santos – who believed that ‘there could be such a person as a white Mozambican’ (Christie,1989: 21). Beside his anti-racial views, Chissano actively fought within Frelimo and, in 1966, became one of the two heads of the steadily growing movement’s armed branch. While independence father Samora Machel was defence secretary, Chissano was his security colleague (Christie,1989: 44), which already earns him the status of co-father of Mozambique’s independence. Gillian Gunn (1989: 17) adds that ‘where Machel led from the front, Chissano organizes from the back’.

I should also mention that good leadership seeds were planted during the independence war period, especially in early 1969 when Frelimo founding father and mentor Eduardo Mondlane was assassinated in Dar es Salaam. Faced with a risk of succession war and related internal divisions, Frelimo opted for a triumvirate leadership including military chief Machel and theoreticians Dos Santos and Reverend Uria Simango. Although this did not work, it shows the spirit in which current modern Mozambique leaders grew in. Machel was finally elected as Frelimo president in 1970 and Dos Santos as his deputy, while Simango was expelled for divisionism (Christie,1989: 58-59). Chissano says that since the beginning ‘Frelimo had always been open to ideas within itself’, and that decisions were taken after multiple discussions that ended with a consensus. He further explains that this democratic experience put Frelimo in a very comfortable situation when multi-party thoughts emerged in the country in the late 1980s – early 1990s. He notes that in that crucial transitional period when many African nations derailed, the opposition in his country was playing a positive role and discussions in the parliament and civil society were mature. Let me mention that only after one year in office, Chissano recognised the need to have multiple parties, including the externally engineered Renamo. The latter metamorphosed into a political party in 1993 and joined that positive opposition that Chissano is referring to. [24] In 1989, about two years of Chissano’s administration, Gunn was already talking of a new era in the country – the Chissano era – as so many audacious changes had been operated.

It is here worth considering the Renamo metamorphosis which analysts rightly attribute to Chissano. How was it possible that all of a sudden the Renamo and Frelimo who had been fighting each other for over a decade finally managed to sit and discuss maturely? When the 1992 peace agreement was signed, Renamo’s future was gloomy as the main supporter South Africa had decided to change the course of her history by abolishing the apartheid. The result of this regional geopolitics was that Renamo, was about to collapse on its own. Chissano could have waited a bit and crushed Renamo but he opted for wisdom, which makes him one of the most respected African leaders. This is how he summarises his political philosophy revolving around the primacy of peace and reconciliation over sovereignty, dignity and pride:

…for the sake of peace we had to compromise…In some instances we had to compromise even dignity and sovereignty because we felt that peace and reconciliation were paramount. The success of peace in Mozambique lay in our ability to be tolerant of the views of others and to transcend some of our needs for dignity and give away some of our pride. Peace, stability and progress in a democratic environment are the ingredients to restore dignity. [25]

Chissano’s success is primarily attributed to his political pragmatism. On the one hand he timely operated changes where needed, and, on the other, he set clear, achievable objectives. [26] That is how the formerly Marxist-Leninist country progressively transformed its ideology into one of the most prosperous market-based economies on the African continent. To achieve peace, Chissano sacrificed his panafricanist solidarity to the detriment of Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) in the hope that South Africa would loosen her support to Renamo. Withdrawing his support to oppressed non-White South Africans and removing ‘racist’ from his vocabulary when referring to South Africa (Gunn, 1989: 18) could be easily interpreted as high treason vis-à-vis Black South Africans. Chissano violated the sacred principle established by Nkrumah and Nyerere and which Machel had kept to the letter, that his country would be free and independent if South Africa were. It is only years later that observers recognised Chissano’s pragmatism that allowed him to temporarily betray ANC in order to restore peace, the only way Mozambique could move forward.

The succession of Chissano is another point worth discussing. I have already mentioned that renouncing power when the gate is wide open for another term is something rare even in older western democracies where leaders seek to exhaust all their constitutional terms. One way of understanding Chissano’s move is the fact that he had achieved what any leader would wish to achieve during his time in office: in almost twenty years (1986-2005), he had won two multi-party elections by defeating Renamo’s rival Afonso Dhlakama (1994 and 1999); he had achieved his primary goal of normalising life in the country after years of unrest; he had successfully introduced a multi-party democracy in a period when other African nations were failing to make a new democratic start. What else would he be seeking by running for another term if it’s not adding his name on the list of eternal presidents?

To complement this argument, I should add that under him were other first-hour independence fighters waiting for their turn. Current president Armando Guebuza was Frelimo’s education secretary at the time when Chissano was security secretary in the 60s (Christie, 1989: 54-56). Like British prime minister Tony Blair who retired to let Gordon Brown bring new blood in the Labour Party’s leadership, Chissano might have felt the need to let another battlefield companion give a new impulse to the party and the country. This is certainly one of the big differences between Chissano and Mugabe, two freedom fighters initially with a similar stature but different political pragmatism. Mugabe could have joined the modern Africa immortals if he had retired in the late 80s or early 90s when Zimbabwe was on the top-five list of democratic nations in Africa together with Botswana, The Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritius (Wiseman,1996: 1). It is also obvious that Mandela retirement in 1999 after only one term was motivated by similar reasons. Beside his old age (81), and a mission accomplice sentiment he had after over four decades of struggle, he logically could not fix himself other long term political objectives. He was wise enough to know that politics is a risky game where success and failure succeed each other and that failure, however small, could have definitively spoiled his image, just like in neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Finally, Chissano might have taken his courageous decision to retire after analysing and comparing his scores for the 1994 and 1999 elections. In 1994 he had scored 53.3 percent against 33.7 for Dhlakama. Five years later, his score went down to 52.3 percent while Dhlakama’s steadily went up to 47.7. If Chissano had gone for a third term, there were risks of suffering a bitter defeat. That aspect most likely played a role in his decision to pass the relay to Guebuza who achieved an overwhelming score of 63.64 percent pushing Dhlakama back to 31.74. With this change of leadership, Frelimo won 160 seats in the parliament against 90 for Renamo, compared to the previous close scores of 129-112 in 1994 and 132-118 in 1999. [27] These results push to think that Chissano’s retirement was not only a gesture of wisdom but also a political calculation that only wise and responsible statesmen can do.


The political evolution of the African continent could be divided in three main periods: the 50s-mid-60s independence and consolidation period that I called the foundation laying phase; the mid-60s – late 80s period marked by domestically defined traditional African democratic and social values; the 90s-to- present period that saw the birth a multiparty systems on the continent. The first period was shaped by independence fathers the most eminent of whom being Kwameh Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Léopold Sédar Senghor and to some extent Patrice Lumumba. My main point in the first section was that the success or failure of modern African states largely depended on the success or failure of the foundation layers. The 60s-80s period was largely marked by generals taking power and introducing what they called African democracy that implied single parties. Coup survivor Nyerere and Mobutu, among others, left their marks on this period. Finally, the democratic transition of the early 90s was strongly marked by two defeat concessions of Kérékou in Benin and Kaunda in Zambia. Chissano and Mandela left their marks on that period due to their political pragmatism. I end with one observation regarding the democratisation period, which gives all signs of giving birth to another era. The majority of democratically elected leaders are readjusting constitutions to either to stick to power or to ensure a worriless post-presidency retirement, presidents in some countries are being designated not by voters by through post-electoral talks. My opinion is that these new phenomena are opening a new era in African leadership, the ‘democracy-readjustment era’. This transition is hastened not only by the pace at which previously stable countries are getting contaminated but also by the solidarity among African leaders who are far from willing to point fingers to one another.


Books, Booklets and Filmography

Journal Articles and Online Sources


  1. Zimbabwe Times[The] , June 27, 2008 , (accessed 25 August 2008)
  2. Congo land with a future , are you under threat?
  3. See for instance ‘Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s freedom’ published in 1961 by Moscow based Progress Publishers.
  4. Logiest, 1988: 33
  5. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of his party, CPP, in June 1959, Nkrumah told his party supporters that ‘…we emerged victoriously from our fight against imperialism and colonialism’ (Nkrumah, 1961: 163).
  6. Who begins well ends well
  7. Kenya independence father Jomo Kenyatta also embraced African socialism.
  8. Senghor authored a series of books entitled Liberté containing his political thoughts. In Tom II entitled Nation et voie africaine du socialisme (1971), Senghor publishes his speeches to the French national assembly and his interviews.
  9. Van Harn, 1972: 23 and 29
  10. In 1974, Mobutu introduced a back-to-African-values ideology consisting in nationalising (Zairianising) everything, including names, faith, and clothing. He abandoned his (Western) first names – Joseph Désiré - and replaced them by authentic African names – Sese Seko Nguku Ngwendu wa Zabanga.
  11. Large African group stretching from central to Southern and Eastern Africa.
  12. The seizure of power by General Robert Guei in December 1999 in Ivory Coast removes that country from the no-coup list. Likewise, the hurriedly announced but not proved victory of President Mwai Kibaki in the December 2007 election prevents Kenya from being listed as a country where power has been peacefully transferred.
  13. BBC Great Lakes, 15 July 2008
  14., Gaddafi calls for Mugabe’s life presidency (19 March 2008) (accessed 30 August 2008)
  15., Malawi leader impressed by Zimbabwe (7 April 2008) (accessed 25 August 2008)
  16., 10 January 2008, (accessed 29 August 2008)
  17. Thierry, 1999
  18. Financial Times, 3 July 2008 (accessed 20 August 2008)
  19. Nyerere told the National Assembly on 14 December 1964: ‘Why then is Africa now quarrelling with Britain to the extent that Africa has said that if certain things are not done by 15 December – tomorrow – we shall break diplomatic relations with that country? …Let me make the charges clear. Africa maintains that Southern Rhodesia at present a colony of the United Kingdom, and that ultimate responsibility for events there resides, in consequence, with the Government of the United Kingdom in London’ (Nyerere, 1968: 116-117)
  20. In a speech during a panafricanist conference on peace and security called by him in Accra on 7 April 1960, president Nkrumah said: ‘…the French Government arrogantly exploded this nuclear device on our soil. As a result of this callous and inhuman attitude, the Government of Ghana took immediate action by freezing the assets of French firms in Ghana’ (Nkrumah, 1961: 212)
  21. Nelson Mandela’s speech on 13 June 1999 (accessed 19 August 2008)
  22. The Independent, 26 June 2008, Mandela ends silence on Zimbabwe crisis (accessed 21 August 2008)
  23. In an AP article published by USA Today on 16 March 2007, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was quoted as saying: ‘We Africans should hang our heads in shame…How can what is happening in Zimbabwe elicit hardly a word of concern let alone condemnation from us leaders of Africa?’ (accessed 21 August 2008)
  24. SARDC, Peace and Reconstruction. President Joaquim Alberto Chissano of Mozambique (1997: 4-5). Although Chissano praises the opposition, he also criticises it for lack of alternative programmes and for being more destructive than constructive. However, he further admits that ‘there is a good fight in the parliament and we are beginning to evolve towards a more positive debate’ (p. 9)
  25. SARDC, 1997: 8
  26. SARDC, 1997: 2-3
  27. These electoral results can be found in the SADC Parliamentary Forum’s Election Observation Mission Report: Mozambique Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, December 2004 (Windhoek: 2006: 17 and 33)