via How much is your president worth? – DailyNews Live by Bill Saidi 21 MARCH 2014
After the death of many young people looking for jobs in Nigeria last week, the people of that country must have asked the 64-million naira question: how much is our president worth in terms of performance?
The same question could also be asked of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who only recently said he deserved a hefty boost in pay.
Mugabe has been in power longer than Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan. He does not have to contend with the equivalent of the Boko Haram Muslim terrorists killing men, women and children in its avowed campaign to turn the country into a Muslim state.
A bloody campaign in Zimbabwe after independence in 1980 featured “the dissidents”, or “bandits” of Matabeleland.
More than 20 000 people, most of them of the Ndebele ethnic group, were killed in that period.
Mugabe described that massacre as “a moment of madness”, never once singling out his own Five Brigade soldiers as the major players. He had also promised “compensation” of sorts for the relatives of the victims. But little has been heard from him or his lieutenants on how far that promise has gone into fruition.
Mugabe would be in power for 34 years on April 18. His supporters will, inevitably, point to the land reform programme as one of his sterling successes. Most of them, unfortunately, have no economics savvy to speak of.
Agriculture is in the doldrums today, in a country once touted as “the breadbasket of southern Africa”. Although the president holds a degree in economics, there are few people who could cite one example of how this knowledge has benefited the country.
There are no lists of economic success stories in Africa which include, among their top 10, Zimbabwe.
Goodluck Jonathan, presiding over the second strongest economy in Africa, has very little to show for his short tenure either. A country which stirs up great controversy by firing the governor of its central bank, but ends up waffling terribly on the reason for that wacky decision, is probably blundering aimlessly in a thick forest of uncertainties.
The question of how much our African presidents are worth in terms of their performance has become relevant because of our poverty. The examples provided by South Africa and Nigeria are pathetic. There is poverty in both countries on a scandalous scale, when you juxtapose this with their obscene wealth in natural resources and the lifestyle of the fat cats, including the politicians.
Also to be considered in the same countries is the level of corruption. Both have billionaires who owe their wealth, mostly, to the bribing some of the highest-ranking politicians in the land. In South Africa, there are reports of politicians of the ruling party being appointed to the boards of directors of some of the biggest companies in the land. Their only qualification is their political clout.
It is always difficult to be balanced in the criticism of our leaders. Nigeria brings in the example of Goodluck Jonathan government’s decision to award an honour to Sani Abacha, the late dictator.
Abacha was among the ruthless leaders who ran Nigeria before its political stability in the 1990s, after independence in 1960.
The story is told of how corrupt and licentious Abacha was and how he is said to have died of Aids.
Transparency International publicly-questioned that decision. But Jonathan would not comment on the scandal. Is it any wonder there has been no winner for the number one African leader prize for years now?