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Improving good governance in Africa

Oct 12, 2011, 1:08 PM

When the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership was launched in London in 2006, many people hoped that it would become a viable antidote to the leadership crisis plaguing African countries.

Being the world’s richest prize - exceeding the $1.3m awarded by the Nobel peace prize, the Mo Ibrahim prize on Monday was awarded to former Cape Verde President Pedro Verona Pires.

This year’s prize was $5m (£3.2m)!

The prize is supposed to be awarded each year to a democratically-elected leader who has voluntarily left office.

There is, no doubt, that this award will put an end to corruption in high places, and improve governance on the continent.

If an African leader knows that he will be entitled to the whopping sum of $200,000 annually if he rules justly and equitably, then he will be less tempted to plunder state resources for his or her own enrichment.

Most African leaders are usually susceptible to the grab-it-all mania, because they are not sure of a good life after leaving office.

Now the Mo Ibrahim prize guarantees them comparable opulence outside power.

Instead of amassing wealth at the expense of the state, African leaders are now being challenged to compete healthily among themselves for quality service delivery in security, health, education and economic development to their constituents.

We assert, without any fear of contradiction, that the Mo Ibrahim prize for achievement in African Leadership is a catalyst for the African Renaissance.

We also dare to posit that fratricidal rebel wars, coup d’etats, tenure elongation and dictatorship will soon disappear forever from the African continent.

We affirm that Africa is now on the threshold of a new dawn marked by good governance, economic prosperity and political stability because our leaders are now induced to using our abundant mineral wealth for the overall good of the continent.

Unlike the sanctions regime in which African leaders seem to be forced to toe the line, they are now being motivated and encouraged by one of their own to see public office as an opportunity to ensure an improved socio-economic well-being for everyone.

It is great that this is an African initiative to solve one of Africa’s perennial problems.

We have always stressed that only Africans can redeem Africa from its litany of woes.

It is not enough for us to blame our predicament on the West as the perpetrators of colonialism. That is a defeatist mentality. It is time we sat down and thought for ourselves on how to get out of the woods.

We call on all other Africans of means to establish similar awards even at sub-regional level so that Africans will live in peace, prosperity and progress in perpetuity.

This award has put Afro-pessimists, who aver that nothing good can come out of Africa, to shame.

President Pedro Verona Pires has set an example for the rest of the leaders around the continent to emulate.

“Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you stop people talking”

Clement Attlee