CIKU’S BEEFS: African leaders always last to leave the party

By: Ciku Muiruri

Africa’s democratic progress is threatened when leaders refuse to step aside when their term ends. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as President of the United States.

I cannot imagine a greater honour or a more interesting job. I love my work. But under our constitution I cannot run again. I actually think I’m a pretty good president, I think if I run, I’d win.

But I can’t. No one is above the law. Not even the president. I’ll be honest with you I’m looking forward to life after being president. I won’t have such a big security detail all the time. I can take a walk. Spend time with my family.

Visit Africa more often. The point is that I don’t understand why people want to stay so long. Especially when they’ve got a lot of money.

Nobody should be President for life.” – President Obama at the African Union.

Who was Obama speaking of? Well, they are so many. Where does one start? Chad? Sudan? Uganda? Cameroon? Zimbabwe? Republic of the Congo? Angola?

All ranging from a quarter of a century in power to the longest tenured – Mbasongo of Equatorial Guinea – Rocking 35 years, 9 months. Obama wonders why they hang onto power.

Well, probably because being president in a dictatorship is very different from the kind of job Obama has.


He has to manage interests and constantly try and get both houses to work with him. There’s a reason he went grey. Being the US president is not that much fun even though you get toys like the beast and Air Force One to play in. Much better to be a president with absolute power. You don’t lobby anyone.

You don’t manage interests. You don’t even have to give a decent economy to the electorate because you rig every election. Why do they hang on? Pretty simple.

If they let go they will probably end up in jail.

I wouldn’t want that job. Being president must be the loneliest job in the world. There must be less stressful ones to do. I have a few photographer friends that easily command upwards of Sh20,000 an hour. They’re booked for weeks at a time.

I have another friend whose job involves visiting the most idyllic places in Kenya alongside tourists who want a guide. You are paid to go on holiday?

Sweet! Freelance writing is also a pretty cool gig. You work from the comfort of your home.

The choices one can make these days in terms of career are so different from when I was in school. Back then we were told that the people who excelled in sciences were the people of the future.

We were told to be doctors. In many ways that is still the top of the food chain but unfortunately in this country, many of them get paid way less than they deserve.

As an employer, I look for people that have a broad knowledge base. People who can collaborate to solve problems. Is there anything worse than an employee that does not communicate effectively and think critically? Those debating skills are found mostly with people that did humanities. They are well read. Exposed.

It’s time we stopped looking down on them in favour of sciences. Perhaps if the dictators I mentioned earlier had studied philosophy, history, classics, literature, cultures and languages, religious studies, music or linguists they would have a more cultured approach to leadership.

They’d know not to be the last to leave the party. Especially when that party is the African Dictator’s Round Table.