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Sunday, 7 January, 2001, 16:32 GMT
African leaders: Who should quit?

This weekend Ghana's JJ Rawlings will be stepping down after 19 years in power.

News and Information for Africa
What has been his contribution to Ghana and to Africa? Has he brought peace and prosperity to what was a chaotic and corrupt country? Or was he simply a ruthless military dictator in civilian disguise keeping dissent at bay through fear and intimidation?

And as we start a new year, which other leaders in Africa would you like to see follow his example by leaving office? Whose time, do you think, is up?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

It was quite pleasing to see Jerry Rawlings stepping down to pave the way for new leadership in Ghana

Barnabas Otish, Ugandan, Ontario, Canada
It was quite pleasing to see Jerry Rawlings stepping down to pave the way for new leadership in Ghana. I think next on the list has to be Presidents Moi of Kenya and of course, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. These two ruthless dictators have presided over the wanton destruction of their countries.
Barnabas Otish, Ugandan, Ontario, Canada

Personally I think all African presidents should stay in office for not more than four years because that's the only time a president needs to prove to his people what he can do for the country instead of what the country can do for him.
D. Kabia, Sierra Leone

All presidents and so-called leaders who do not have the best interests of Africa and her people in mind and heart should go. They know who they are!
Sikelela Afrika, USA

Europe has formed a union that seems to do very well. Why can't Africa do the same?
Bayamin Ahmed, Canada

It will take another revolution and sacrifice to remove such leaders

M. Mabengano, Italy
The process of democratisation is definitely taking root in Africa and must continue. It is to be hoped that those elected will deliver and not bring change for the sake of it. Africans must also be careful not to bring political change out of desperation. Otherwise you end up with the likes of Chiluba who wants to perpetuate his stay even though he cannot deliver. It will take another revolution and sacrifice to remove such leaders.
M. Mabengano, Italy

Thabo Mbeki must go. As head of government of the "economic powerhouse of Africa", he is a leader who doesn't want to lead. He simply gets dragged along by Southern Africa's de facto leader, Robert Mugabe.
Anonymous, South Africa

I can't think of anyone other than our own Yaya Jammeh. I believe it's time for him to leave after failing to fulfil the promises he made to the Gambian people. The unemployment rate is high, people are hungry and above all, many have been innocently tortured and murdered.
Lamin A. Tunkara, Gambia

I really believe it is time for Mugabe of Zimbabwe to go. The people of that country should take a lesson from the Serbians and kick that devil out.
Alhassan Yakubu-Tali, Germany

How about all of them???
Ssubi Kiwanuka, Uganda

Perhaps the most corrupt dictatorial regimes of all are the IMF and the World Bank

N. Friend, Ghana
Perhaps the most corrupt dictatorial regimes of all are the IMF and the World Bank. They have systemically impoverished the poorest nations of the world by devaluing their currencies and by making their economies serve the interests of the rich, not ordinary citizens. When these men in grey suits in New York stop making decisions against the interests of more than half the world's population, Africans will see true democratic and fair government.
N. Friend, Ghana

If only these so-called Heads of State could hear our voices. But they never learn, do they? They just age in their presidential seats and wait for nothing short of a coup d'etat in order to be uprooted.
Adjoa Niava, Côte d'Ivoire

It is interesting how we Africans blame the western society for having this mess while African leaders by far has yet to achieved something tangible for his/ her people. Some one needs to step down willingly or show a true democracy work its way in to Africa.
Yosief B, USA

As I read through the views of my respected fellow BBC readers, one thing is for sure. Most African countries are led through dictatorship. You all know whom I'm talking about. These leaders know who they are and they must go. All of them.
Peter Mungai, Charlotte, USA/ Kenyan

I think you are all talking nonsense. The question in my opinion is not who should or shouldn't go. The real question is whether any elected African president will be accepted by the so-called Western powers. Whoever serves their interests is likely to be supported and assisted financially.
Petty Achard Nzau, Congolese in the UK

I believe the question of which leader should go next is not all that easy because who knows what the next leader will be like? We, as Africans in general, should consider what we can do individually to help our respective countries. We always blame our leaders but we do nothing to help. I congratulate J.J Rawlings for his good intentions and hard work to help Ghana.
Isaac Addo-Bekoe, Canada

Definitely the ruling party of Ethiopia

Definitely the ruling party of Ethiopia. These people came to power by the gun, they are so corrupt. I don't even think they have a clue as to what they are supposed to do besides enriching their families, friends and people of their ethnic group, the Tigri.

Because he is bereft of any plausible ideas, morally bankrupt, corrupt to the core, suffering from chronic megalomania and has turned a stable and decent country into the scourge of the earth, President Paul Biya of Cameroon has outlived his usefulness and should do mankind a favour and go immediately.
Liki Malafa, USA

Kagame should most definitely go. All he has done is endanger the very existence of his Tutsi people. In a very short time, he has managed to turn practically all Africans against them - even his former allies, the Ugandans and Congolese. He needs to leave the office to someone who will withdraw from Congo and try to reconcile the peoples of the region. This will be the only way to avoid future genocide.
Kabasubabo Wa Ntumba, USA

Mugabe has to be given a first class ticket to the great beyond

IW, Zimbabwe
Mugabe has to be given a first class ticket to the great beyond. I say first class as this is what he has grown used to in the last twenty years. The fact that Zimbabweans are starving and suffering doesn't bother him. He is the joke of African leadership.
IW, Zimbabwe

Unfortunately, almost all African leaders are there by the bullet and not by the ballot. If they were to appear in a US court, they would be found guilty of murder of one degree or another. There must be a "term limit" for all African leaders.
Seyoum Berhe, USA

The time is up for General Omar al-Bashir. It's New Year in a New Millennium and all Africa's dictator leaders must go. We need democratic, peaceful administration in the region for the new century.
Gatwech Lok, Sydney, Australia/ South Sudan

There are so many that ought to quit that it is better summarised this way: All African leaders, quit and make way for the UK Tories led by Hague. That will result in great improvements both in Africa and the UK.
Miklos Nomad, Hungary

Museveni should be the next one to go followed by Kagame next year. For the sake of peace in Africa and the Great Lakes region they should be removed by all means. We are just fed-up with the war they are waging in the Congo
Manu Manun'Ebo, UK

African people long for political renewal

Anthony Musonda, Zambian student in Germany
All African presidents, including my own, who have only produced regimes of "democratic disappointments" and have not helped improved the lot of their citizens must be shown the exit. They belong to the political museum. African people long for political renewal.
Anthony Musonda, Zambian student in Germany

Robert Mugabe of the Republic of Zimbabwe definitely should get the gold medal in the departure olympics. Charles Taylor Liberia should get the silver. Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya should get the bronze. Dishonourable mention also goes to Enyadema of Togo, Jammeh of Gambia and Kabila of Congo (D.R.).
Kofi Brobbey, USA/Ghana

I agree that the question is not who should go, but who should stay? Across Africa there is a litany of maladministration and corruption by leaders of almost every country on the continent. The problem with getting rid of any of them is that you just get another lot who proceed to behave in exactly the same way - I am reminded of the French saying, which translates to "the more things change, the more they remain the same" - alas, it remains consistently true in Africa. But I'd like to see the back of Mugabe sooner than any other.
James, UK

Mr. Charles Taylor should definitely get out. It is clear that he is playing president. His lack of social, economical or infrastructure agenda is a clear indication of his inability to govern the struggling masses of Liberia. Mr. Taylor is more of a hindrance to Liberia's development. Mr. Taylor destabilisation of the West African region and his greed for the region's natural resources speaks for itself.
Charles S. Mombo, Liberia

Robert Mugabe should be the next one to go. He has over twenty years turned a once promising country based on non-racism and equality to one based on the ethnic hatred and corruption of the worst order. The ideals fought for during the Smith regime days have been abandoned for greed and power. Mugabe came with the overwhelming goodwill of the whole world and has totally abused it. He should go now.
RC, Zimbabwe

Eyadema should definitely go

Prospa, Canada/ Togo
Eyadema should definitely go. He is a ruthless leader who killed the father of independence Mr Gilchrist Olympio and has maintained a strong hold on Togo. Today he has turned the country into a serious economic disaster to the point that most public and civil servants are without salaries.
Prospa, Canada/ Togo

José Eduardo Dos Santos is one of the most corrupt leaders of Africa. It is a shame the international community seems willing to support his petty dictatorship for the sake of oil supplies. Were Angola a poor country José Eduardo should have been ousted a long time ago.
Adriano Santos, Angola, studying in Portugal

Robert Gabriel Mugabe has outstayed his welcome. He's a huge threat and liability to the integrity of the Zimbabwean people and Southern Africa He must go even before the 2002 presidential elections
Felix, Aussie of Zimbabwean decent

Guineans are yearning for a new leader

Abdul, USA
One leader that has escaped the magnifying glass is the Guinean President, Lansana Conteh. The recent rebel activities on the borders of that country demonstrates that Guineans are yearning for a new leader.
Abdul, USA

Muluzi will be remembered in history books as the first president in democratic Malawi. If rumours are true that he wants to change the constitution and seek a third term, he will end up becoming another Mugabe. It is time for him to go too. Malawi has about 9 million people and surely we can find somebody to rule us after him. I am counting the years......
Clement Terence Chiwaya, Malawian in USA

I nominate Isayas Afeworki of Eritrea for a graceful exit. His track record as leader of the new nation of Eritrea has so far been shameful. He has, so far, managed to alienate this poor small nation from all its neighbours and has been responsible for a disastrous war with Ethiopia causing thousands of youths to perish for a senseless cause. Unfortunately, there is no opposition party to challenge this mad man of the Horn.
Fesseha, USA

When it is time to go, it is time to go

E. Kuwanda, USA
Hats off to J. Rawlings as he calls it a day. From the little I know about him, he has done his best to develop Ghana. When I visited the country in the 90's, I learnt that he had delivered clean water and electricity to every village. He deserves applause from all of us. Rawlings is following the example set by Nyerere of Tanzania, Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Masire of Botswana. When it is time to go, it is time to go. It is a shame that leaders like Robert Mugabe still want remain in power after the red card has been raised both locally and internationally.
E. Kuwanda, USA

President Rawlings has proved to be Ghana's most outstanding ruler, second only to Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Africa needs more leaders of this calibre.
Kofi Osei, Germany

I think about 90% of all African leaders should resign. Rawlings has set a good example for others to follow. Until dictators are wiped out from Africa, the continent will still remain very poor.
Yaw Acquaah, Ghana

Two Presidents come to mind immediately - Moi and Mugabe

Khan, USA
Two Presidents come to mind immediately - Moi and Mugabe. Moi has been in power for over 22 years, Mugabe for just over 13 years. Both have presided over a gradual but devastating ruin of their respective countries - Kenya and Zimbabwe. The two countries were once among the most promising in Africa. They are now in social and economic turmoil, struggling to even feed themselves. The sad part is that even if Moi and Mugabe were to leave today, their countries would need at least a decade to recover to where they were at independence.
Khan, USA

As a West African from Ghana, I think President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone should be the next to go. West African leaders have spent too much money and have lost too many soldiers trying to prop up the man's presidency. He should go and allow someone with backbone and vision to deal with that country's problems.
Charles Owusu, Ghana

I think president Obasanjo of Nigeria should go. He has done absolutely nothing to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians or meet 10 percent of his campaign promises. I don't even think he has a clue as to what he is supposed to do besides corruptly enriching his family, friends and people of his ethnic group, the Yorubas.
Uche Esealuka, Nigeria

I think Robert Mugabe should go! He has long overstayed his welcome. In my opinion he stands in the company of Mobuto and Amin... the worst leaders the continent has seen.
Mndeni, South Africa

Charles Taylor's time has definitely expired

Charles, USA
Charles Taylor's time has definitely expired. He is a ruthless leader who is a menace to the entire region. He MUST go!
Charles, USA

Arap Moi, Mugabe, Eyadema - these old hands have overstayed their welcome. They have brought down their countries with them. Not only economically but with their citizens tolerating their leadership they have also depreciated the esteem and honour with which their citizens are held.
Daniel, Ghana

I wish President Rawlings well after January 7. We should give the devil his due. The leaders of Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, Togo, Libya, Zambia and Burkina Faso should emulate President Rawlings' example and give way to new faces on the political scene in Africa.
Alexander Owusu-Kwakye, UK

I think Charles Taylor should be next to exit the political scene. This man is a menace to the entire sub-region of West Africa. There will never be any peace, as long as this man is president of that country; The unrest will keep on circulating around the sub-region.
Henry Smythe, Sierra Leone

I personally think the question should be who shouldn't go?

Ephraim Noble Banadda, Ugandan studying in Belgium
I personally think the question should be who shouldn't go because I'm sure most Africans are going to say their presidents should go. It is a shame to see a president who is so old that he can't allow his current photo to appear on the ballot paper but still believes he is the right man for the job!!
Ephraim Noble Banadda, Ugandan studying in Belgium

My humble suggestion is for the President of Sierra Leone to step down next month when his democratic mandate ends. Any attempt by him or his rubber stamping parliament to extend their mandate will lead to bloodshed in the city next month. These people must go and allow a transitional government to run the country.
Frank During, Sierra Leone

Definitely, the next person who needs to leave office is Yaya Jammeh, the current president of The Gambia. Not only did he come to power by the gun, he has also greatly diminished the freedoms of Gambians who, until his advent to power, have never known intimidation from their government.
Fatima, USA

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30 Dec 00 | Africa
Historic win for Ghana challenger
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