Will you look at that! This is Barack Obama on the streets of New York City on March 10, 2017. He is now a private citizen, after serving two terms as president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. He is retired and reinventing himself. And having fun. And Obama is only 56 years old.
Now look at his 10 African counterparts that have been in power for 23-38 years, aged between 60 to 93. What do these 10 men think when they see a smiling Obama in retirement?
1. Obiang Nguema, President of Equatorial Guinea since 1979 (38 years), 75 years old.
2. José Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola since 1979 (38 years), 75 years old.
3. Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe since 1980 (37 years), 93 years old.
4. Paul Biya, President of Cameroon since 1982 (35 years), 84 years old.
5. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo from 1979–1992, and 1997–2017 (33 years), 74 years old.
6. Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda since 1986 (31 years), 73 years old.
7. Omar Bashir, President of Sudan since 1989 (28 years), 74 years old.
8. Isaias Afwerki, President of Eritrea since 1993 (22 years), 72 years old.
9. Paul Kagame, Ruler of Rwanda in different capacities since 1994 (23 years), 60 years old.
10. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti since 1999 (18 years), 71 years old.
What never fails to surprise me is how the tragic end of long-ruling autocrats does not discourage the next generation rulers from pursuing same disastrous course. Clinging onto power hardly ever ends happily.
Look at Obama folks. There is life after power.