To defeat a President

Typical  African scenario:


1. The newly elected President has launched an ambitious reform program to fight poverty, reduce corruption, revive agriculture and secure equal treatment of all ethnic groups.

2. The President is quickly encompassed by powerful forces within society who benefit from status quo and continued patrimonialism. The President gets frustrated and gives gradually up his reform agenda.


3. When the President retires, he joins the group of the “old and wise” who look behind and talk about what they could and should have done when in power.


Recommended reading: “Inside the Presidency”, written by former Presidential  adviser in Zambia, Dickson Jere

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4 Responses to To defeat a President

  1. Chi K says:

    Very insightful as ever. But these are not uniquely African problems – at least 1.5 of the points you raise can also be applied to Barack Obama’s presidency.

  2. Tore Westberg says:

    1. A young, newly educated development aid worker gets a job with a Western development aid agency. He begins with a lot of enthusiasm, he has genuine theoretical ideas about how to kick start development in Africa. He joins an agency with an ambitious goal of reducing poverty.

    2. He soon discovers that he is tied up by his own country’s ever changing political ideas of how the aid should be carried out and which group to help. He also gets frustrated that he actually has to listen to the local and central leaders in the African country. He cannot make shortcuts to reach the actual poor population.

    3. When he retires, 40 years later, he will write blogs about how development aid REALLY should have been implemented and he is active in discussion forums and in development aid magazines.

  3. Jean-Claude Adzalla says:

    It takes a leader with a vision and courage to swim through the infested lake of corrupt cronies. Maybe we should look at less expensive ways to run a campaign. Then the president will owe allegiance to no dark forces.
    African governements should finance presidential elections and candidates from political parties meeting a certain treshold of representation.

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