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Former ambassador decries sit-tight syndrome among African leaders


Egypt –  Amb. Ahmed Haggag, the former Assistant Secretary-General of the defunct Organisation of African Unity (OAU), has condemned the sit-tight syndrome among leaders in some African countries.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Cairo on Monday, Haggag described the syndrome as undemocratic.

He, therefore, urged African leaders to respect the Rule of Law and the wish of the people by relinquishing power at the right time and ensuring smooth transition of government.

“After the liberation of Africa and ushering of Independent African states it was normal that the leader of the liberation movement was elected unanimously by all sectors of the African people as the first president of that country.

“Some performed well and they were very democratic; they acknowledged the will of the people and they relinquished power after serving two terms according to the constitution.

“But others found excuses in prolonging their stay, but now I think African people are more alert to the abuse of staying in power for a long time.

“And one testimony to this we can find now we organised a colloquium for former heads of African states.

“So, this means that the head of state can leave in peace and not allow themselves to be chased either by assassination or coup d’etat.’’

Haggag called for continuous awareness creation on the negative effect of the prolonged stay in government by African leaders.

He also called on heads of government to create the environment that would help create an environment that would generate employment opportunities to reduce poverty in Africa.

“Unfortunately poverty has been prevailing in many parts of Africa.

“Yes employment market is limited, but I think it is the responsibility of any responsible government to enlarge the market, to employ more people.

“The market in many African countries is confined only to mining, which is controlled by some Western mining companies, which do not give a lot of jobs to the mining sector.

“Also the government has to diversify the economy in order to introduce other sectors which could provide employment for the people.

“Poverty is something inherited, but mainly it is the responsibility of the governments to reduce the level of poverty in African countries.’’


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