African leaders turning Presidency into family affair, says AU elders

Chairperson of the African Panel of Wise Dr Specioza Kazibwe and African Union chairperson Moussa Faki at a past event. File photo.

The African Union Panel of Wise has condemned African leaders who have made it a habit to turn the Presidency into a family affair.

The Panel of Wise is a consultative body of the African Union composed of five appointed members who each serve three-year terms. Its mandate is to provide opinions to the Peace and Security Council on issues relevant to conflict prevention, management, and resolution.

Meeting in Kampala for a two-day retreat convened to discuss trends of democracy in Africa, the panel condemned what it called a move by some African leaders to scheme what they described political family succession.

The AU Panel of Wise, which is also in the country to discuss elections and governance in Africa, castigated military takeover, saying it’s no longer acceptable.

This was in reference to events unfolding in Zimbabwe where the military has dethroned long-time Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe, although the army still insists it is not a coup.

Sitting at Munyonyo Resort Hotel , Dr Specioza Kazibwe, the acting chairperson of the AU Panel of Wise, said the eminent members on the continent unanimously agreed not to allow African leaders annoint their relatives as successors.

Eminent leaders also castigated leaders who build family chiefdoms around national politics, vowing not to allow family rule in Africa.

“We are in the middle of a crisis in Zimbabwe. It is a depressing state of affairs. The idea of farmdoms has been criticized by the members here. Farmdom is where one leader leaves office and his wife or child takes over. We cannot afford to have this happen in Africa,” Kazibwe warned.

Kazibwe also said events happening in Zimbabwe indicate that the military is back into the political arena.

At the beginning of this week, the Zimbabwe army took charge of the country, a situation analysts in Zimbabwe describe as bloodless transition of power from President Mugabe to his former vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The army denied being involved in a coup, saying it was only targeting criminals near the president.

President Mugabe is currently under house arrest at his residence in Harare. But the whereabouts of his wife Grace Mugabe are still unknown although media reports indicate she fled to Namibia.




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