Cape Town – Former president and struggle icon Nelson Mandela resisted the trend set by many post-independence African leaders when he stepped down from power after serving one term in office, a report says.
Bloomberg said Mandela, who was elected president in the country’s first multiracial elections in 1994, retired after spending five years in office at the age of 75. Mandela at that time said he was too old to govern.
Mandela's decision to relinquish power has, however, remained a rare occurrence in Africa as only a few leaders have managed to follow his footsteps, the report said.
Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Botswana and Sierra Leone are the only countries that have had leaders conceding defeat or accepting term limits in the past years.
A professor at the University of Limerick in Ireland Tom Lodge said it was unfortunate that there was still a continued tendency by African leaders to cling on to power even when they were defeated in elections.
Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 71, Angola’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos, 71, and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, 89, are some of the leaders who have managed to prolong their stay in power.