You can’t rule for life-Obama tells African leaders


Obama addressing AU

US president, Barack Obama, has asked African leaders to consider giving up power and give a chance to young blood to take over.

Obama made the remarks Tuesday in his first address to the African Union in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

“If a leader says he is the only one who can hold the country together, then that leader has failed to build their nation,” Obama stated.

“I don’t understand why people want to stay in power for so long especially when they have a lot of money?”

He said Africa’s democratic progress was at a risk if people continue to hold onto power.

“Nobody should be president for life. A country is better off with new blood,” he said, emphasising that leaders should not refuse to step aside when their terms end.

“I have to be honest with you: I just don’t understand this. Under our constitution, I cannot run again. There’s still so much I want to get done to keep America moving forward. But the law is the law and no one is above it, not even presidents.”

Obama said himself was looking forward to life after being president.

“It will mean more time with my family, new ways to serve, and more visits to Africa.”

He lashed at President Pierre Nkurunziza who has given himself a third term in office, saying, “When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife, as we’ve seen in Burundi”.

He said unlike the late South African leader, Nelson Mandela, Nkurunziza’s hold onto power was “a first step down a perilous path.”



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