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The sour milk of Africa’s aging leaders

African leaders pay tribute to departed souls in Russia-Ukraine war

African leaders pay tribute to departed souls in Russia-Ukraine war

African leaders came together last week in the manner of a well-oiled enterprise dedicated to the art of futility. The African Peace Mission sought to make peace between Russia and Ukraine. They did well.

The mission trended across global news headlines. Mama, we made it! We can also do hard things of futility. Many Africans watched perplexed, wondering how our African peacemakers flew over the burning fires in Sudan, the latest war arena on the African continent.

The fighting in Sudan is now in its third month; last week, a governor from Sudan’s troubled Darfur region was killed in cold blood hours after he accused one of the warring sides of committing genocide. On June 17, as the mission posed for photos with the Russian president, 17 people including five children died in an airstrike in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

The United Nations estimates that over 1,000 people have been killed in the conflict and about two million displaced within the country with more than half a million seeking refuge outside Sudan.

So, yes, the much harder things that assail the African continent as detailed in last week’s article, Six African leaders posing for selfies in their burning backyards, continue unabated.

In 2019, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, our favorite national uncle and strong advocate of ‘Africa’s Time is Now’, made a rallying call. Kagame posited, “I have always thought it is Africa’s time, we Africans, we have let ourselves down. We are now realizing it is Africa’s time and we need to seize every opportunity to be where we should be...The advice, therefore, is simple; let’s do what we know we have to do.”

Are we doing what we know we have to do when our leaders step outside Africa to make peace as intractable fires blaze in our own backyards?

The African Peace Mission comprises the presidents of six African countries: Congo Brazzaville, Zambia, Senegal, Egypt, Uganda and South Africa. Like an afterthought, the Comoros president joined the mission in his capacity as chairperson of the African Union.

As the pictures of the African Peace Mission members trended, it could not be unseen. The old men in dark suits posturing for the likes and follows on the world stage. For whom does the African Peace Mission speak? The median age of the mission’s members is 68 years.

Last week, BBC Africa tweeted that 70 per cent of Africa’s population is under 30. Africa is the youngest continent with the oldest leaders - the median age of Africans is 19 years.

Mo Ibrahim, founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, believes in Africa’s young people. Ibrahim wrote in 2013 that young people are best equipped to identify and deliver fresh solutions in a world that is changing at breakneck speed.

Ibrahim noted that Africa’s aging leaders have little knowledge or interest in the dreams and aspirations of Africa’s youth – nor in passing on the reins of power.

In February this year, the world’s oldest leader celebrated his 90th birthday. Cameroonian president, Paul Biya, who reportedly rules remotely, preferring the soft life in Europe, has been at the helm for 41 years and shows no signs of slowing down even as his body fails him publicly.

Is the age of the leaders the problem or their long stay in office? Foras in Uganda, a youthful President Yoweri Museveni already answered that question. Museveni of yesteryears, brimming with revolutionary fervor and the pride of youth, said, "The problem of Africa in general and Uganda, in particular, is not the people, but leaders who want to overstay in power."

Perhaps now in hindsight, Museveni of today who has now lived long enough to morph from hero to ‘villain’ preserves his premium disdain for the unforgiving memory of the internet, which will not let his words rest.

What, do tell, is so unpalatable about leaders overstaying in power? Apparently, twin demons. A 2019 Forbes report noted, “The effectiveness of leaders decreased as they aged, thus contradicting the conventional view that leaders learn from their work and experience and become better. The report further stated older people are more likely to become arrogant and complacent, less likely to welcome the ideas of changing themselves or the system.”

The report christened arrogance and complacency as the ‘twin demons’ that commonly afflict senior leaders. No wonder aging leaders beset by these twin demons ignore such rude reports.

A January 2023 Forbes article impudently spells it out, “Leaders, like milk, become sour after they stay on the shelf for too long. Once a leader turns sour, the only way to maintain power is through bribes, intimidation, and violence.”

There you have it. Sour milk and twin demons. A truly unpalatable combination. Nevertheless, yes, let us go make nice between Russia and Ukraine - take a break from the sour milk of twin demons.

smugmountain@gmail.com

The writer is a tayaad muzzukulu.

Comments

+8 #11 Lysol 2023-06-23 21:33
Ken Mawa
Idi Amin was a much better comedian than Museveni. Amin was a brutal cold blood killer, just like Museveni who perfected it.
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+3 #12 Kent Mawa 2023-06-24 15:15
Oh yes , Idd Amin was more than a dangerous comedian . The only slight difference between the two dictators is that this one is a cunning & calturating viper while the other one easily mixed crude ferocity with allure.

Two of my very close relatives were high-ranking UA officers, one of which was murdered by Amin.

The one who lived shared many stories about Amin with us. He told us that Idd Amin had multiple personalities ( DID)

One day , some of these chaps that are now working for Museveni will reveal some of the secrets that this dictator imagines will never surface.

It is more likely than not that this president has a obsessive-compulsive personality situation .(OCD)
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+1 #13 Akot 2023-06-25 17:46
Quoting Lysol:


Idi Amin was a much better comedian than Museveni. Amin was a brutal cold blood killer, just like Museveni who perfected it.


Thanks.

Sudanese Idi Amin believed he would make Uganda Sudanese land! Rwandese Museveni is making Uganda Rwandese territory as he & Kagame can't share power in their motherland!

When Amin realised he couldn't hold on, he flew out in Uganda plane, while Sudanese who believed they had their second land, took off & Kampala/Gulu road was full of Uganda vehicles they left in & never send back!

One good thing; Amin didn't have time to empty Banksso there was money from coffee, cotton, tea...that gave chance to a new start, without Uganda begging the outside wrold!

Ugandans should by now know they are not enemies of one another, are ALL in trouble with migrants who own their land, tax money & won't stop!
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0 #14 Akot 2023-06-25 17:55
Lysol, thanks.

If Ugandans don't bring down the tribalistic system Museveni so cleaverly put in place, the Rwandese migrant will rule for life & leave the post to his son!

Why do Ugandans prefer being powerless tribally divided ruled by the migrant?

Why is NO to the tribalistic system & UNITY that will end Museveni's ownership of Uganda, more dangerous to Ugandans & they prefer being slaves in the zone formed by their tribal lands?

Why are tribal leaders still in posts & Ugandans go along, ensuring the zone belongs to the migrant family & Ugandans who are slaves, just fight one another for posts?

What if ADF/islamists take over, will this be change for Ugandans & in what way?
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0 #15 Akot 2023-06-25 18:02
Now that Wagner walked out of the war in Ukraine as it understands it makes no sense, what do the aging African leaders say?

Putin is a danger not only to Ukraine & EU, but to the rest of the world!

But Museveni is a danger to Ugandans as he wants to make Uganda second Rwandese land, yet, Ugandans haven't understood it!

As it is, all Museveni has to to now is "dissolve posts of tribal leaders" & make his Uganda a "real country"!
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+2 #16 Lysol 2023-06-25 20:15
Quoting Akot:
Now that Wagner walked out of the war in Ukraine as it understands it makes no sense, what do the aging African leaders say?

Putin is a danger not only to Ukraine & EU, but to the rest of the world!

But Museveni is a danger to Ugandans as he wants to make Uganda second Rwandese land, yet, Ugandans haven't understood it!

As it is, all Museveni has to to now is "dissolve posts of tribal leaders" & make his Uganda a "real country"!


Akot, always try to update yourself on global news.
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