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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 13:13 GMT 14:13 UK
How should Africa treat its ex-presidents?
Zambia's former president, Frederick Chiluba, has been replaced not only as head of state, but as leader of the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy, MMD.
After elections last December, Chiluba was succeeded by Levy Mwanawasa as president, but managed to maintain control of the MMD.
This caused a split in the ruling party.
According to Vice-President Enoch Kavindele: "There has been divided loyalty, and in the interest of party unity we agreed that Mwanawasa should take over from Chiluba".
Has Chiluba been unfairly sidelined? Should Africa's former heads of state be given any role in governing their countries?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
I strongly feel that Ex African leaders should not be involved in government after they leave office, they should live a private life and stay away from politics, because the president has his own potential, agenda, and visions for the country. If the ex-president's advice is needed then that is different case. but he should stay out of politics and be meaningful in other areas of the country.
No, African leaders should not be allowed to intervene in politics after their term of office, unfortunately we can only boast of two honourable leaders, Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela.
I think Mr. Chiluba had more honour to gain by resigning his post as party chairman the moment he relinquished power. This has made him less respectable. African presidents ought to learn that being in power is not eternal, they ought to retire and now assume the role of grand father ( grand mother if any ladies ever become African presidents) I only call upon all presidents in power to show respect and treat former presidents well, this will help minimise undue persistence in power. It is not easy to become a former president so all those who achieve it ought to be respected, looked after and consulted when advice is needed.
Former heads of state should be given a meaningful role to play outside politics. To encourage a culture of leaving office gracefully, it is important for the corporate business and the international organisations to honour these leaders and where possible find roles for them. Democracy and good governance in Africa is elusive because of the fear of the unknown after leaving office by these leaders.
Sula Mazimba, USA/Zambian
I believe that the choice on whether to participate in the country's current political and economic developments should be left to the ex-presidents to decide. Some of them prefer to work more in the private sector for a particular cause such as the environment, reduction of the spread of aids etc. It is important that we let the former president lead their own lives unless there are questionable issues that took place during their presidency.
I don't think that the question requires a "yes or no" answer. It depends on the past leadership of the former heads of state. Some former heads of state still have the potentials and capabilities to move their respective country's forward, in spite of their early retirement. Yet, the fear of greed causes some African Nations to consider the ideas of allowing ex heads of state to be given any role in governing their Countries.
This is one of the reasons why every head of state must practice the form of democracy, and govern their own people with fairness, love and justice. "What goes around, comes around." Good leaders are trained, not made.
No, I believe that it is important to give the newly elected President an opportunity to reform and change the old status quo as he is pleased. Having a former President around will limit the extent to which the new President can operate as the former's respect and allegiance does not end with their departure from office.
Cillaty Daboh, USA/Sierra Leone
Certainly, some ex-African leaders deserve roles. People like Mandela, Kaunda and a few others can help change the continent's leaders because they would preach what they believe and stand for. Mr. Chiluba, I am afraid is a man who is known for his hypocrisy, manipulations and outward crookedness. What can he offer after all this his done to Zambia. The country is more divided now as everything is been turned into "small" influential groupings based on tribal lines. Even his imposition of Mr. Mwanawasa on Zambians was designed to suit his whims of ego, but soon realised how life can change. Well, if he has any reasonable offer to help, he should first face the law and come clean before we can look toward him for anything.
An ex-African head of state who either retires or concedes defeat in the elections should be consulted vis a vis national affairs. People like the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the late Leopold Senghor, Kenneth Kaunda, Nelson Mandela and Serese Khama (to mention a few) were and are still true African leaders and heroes who deserve the highest praise. Zambians are good people and no doubt have no intention to sideline Frederick Chiluba. Chiluba's strategy to manipulate others has caught up with him. This is the man who wanted to change the constitution to suit his political agenda. This very man divided the MMD. Zambians just want to make sure that Chiluba honours what he said while in office, "No one leader can have the monopoly of knowledge and power. Leaders come leaders go". The hour has come for Chiluba to politically say good bye.
Joel Zama, Germany
The importance of Chiluba as the head of state can not be undermined, his wisdom is really needed for the prosperity of Zambia, but that does not mean that he shouldn┐t give room for younger generation in order to get new ideas, His role as former president should be to give advice on how things should go right in case of any wrongdoing.
Most African former leaders should not be given any role to govern their countries because they have never been democratic. They behave as if are still presidents when they are out of power! This tendency causes a lot of confusion in most upcoming democratic African nations.
Chiluba has not been unfairly sidelined. Considering his leadership record - which has always been that of manipulations, he has been placed where he rightfully belongs i.e. the archives. If Chiluba was allowed to continue being in charge of the MMD, he would have likely come up with another crazy idea like the third term debate.
Most African Presidents are more concerned with personal aggrandisement rather than building a respectable personality that would make them useful/ resourseful to the society.
Chiluba has not been unfairly sidelined. Both his last phases of party and state presidency were self-imposed through corrupt practices. Dr. Kenneth Kaunda deserves the respect that he is now enjoying among Zambians.
It very important that former African Leaders should be involved in the political affairs of their respective countries, so as to utilize the experience they gained as leaders. Remember that experience is a good teacher but at the same time it requires a lot of time to gain experience
No they shouldn't participate directly in governing but can be consultants for some issues that are critical for national unity. Fortunately we had a few African leaders like the late Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Sedar Sengol of Senegal and the late Seretse Khama of Bostwana, who continued serving their nations indirectly when challenging issues arose.
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