A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Here Is The New Breed Of African Rulers

By David Himbara

Why are these three men looking unhappy? They should not. They are comrades who should be enjoying the occasion. You see, they are attending the swearing in of Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti on May 8, 2016.

In the middle is Ismail Omar Guelleh himself — who was just reelected or rather re-selected. Guelleh was first elected as head of state in 1999 as the handpicked successor to his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon. Uncle Aptidon had ruled Djibouti since independence in 1977. The combined presidency between uncle and nephew is just one year shy of 40 years. Not bad at all.

On the left is Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s ruler since 1989 via a military coup. Bashir is approaching 30 years on the throne. Bashir says he will retire soon — not wise. He stands accused of genocide.

On the right is Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, in power from 1994 first via a figurehead, and then directly from 2000 onwards. His new constitution allows him to rule Rwanda until 2034, and to get immunity from any crimes once he steps down. Are you listening comrade Bashir?

There you have it — “A picture is worth a thousand words.” What you are looking at is the new breed of African leaders ready to rule rain or shine.