Retired Leaders

I remember a few years ago when Joaquim Chissano, president of Mozambique, decided not to run for a third term. I remember because I already thought he was a fair guy from his good speeches and the fact that under his watch, the nation had managed to move passed the long era of civil war. But when he decided not to run for a third term, even though he could, I thought – hey, there’s someone who isn’t obsessed with power.

Indeed Kofi Annan confirmed my observations when he and the Mo Ibrahim foundation gave Chissano the honor of a good governance award. On a continent where certain leaders seem to hold on to power until it is pried out of their dead hands, he seems to indeed be a good example.

Speaking on The State We’re In last week, the foundation’s namesake, Ibrahim said that his award involves giving money to that person so that they can continue to do good work through organizations and campaigns to improve lives in Africa. He spoke about how in the west, leaders seem to make good money after leaving office (foundations, think tanks, book deals, etc).. yet in Africa, he said… leaders often sit in office making themselves rich in order to stay rich once out of office. This way, in his view, they can say to leaders, just do your job as an elected leader, when you’re finished, there will be this money for you to continue to be the champion for your cause, don’t worry about not having funds.

Interesting idea….this Ibrahim gentlemen is on to something.