No good African leaders

Mo Ibrahim can't find a suitable candidate for the good governance award he hands out to the best former African leader once a year.

Grace Mugabe, Robert Mugabe, Jacob Zuma, and Thobeka Zuma during welcome ceremony April 2015. Image credit Government of South Africa via Flickr (CC).

Remember Mo Ibrahim’s prize for “good governance,” awarded annually to an African leader? The winner gets $5 million over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life thereafter. Previous winners have included such prudent politicians as Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano and Botswana’s Festus Mogae. According to The Guardian, “… Nelson Mandela, who was made an honorary laureate in recognition of his ‘extraordinary leadership qualities’.”

Apparently Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s second democratic president (1999-2008), was among the candidates for this year’s prize.

This year, however, there won’t any winner because Mo Ibrahim can’t find a suitable candidate. Nobody deserves it.

Read more.

Not everyone’s been convinced by the Prize.

For example, a 2009 profile in The Guardian, was not very positive:

“There is, of course, some irony in what Ibrahim is doing. The businessman who prides himself on never having paid a bribe now seems to be offering a bribe to political leaders. Criticism of the prize comes both from those who think that it’s too big (why so much money for leaders who are only doing what they’re elected to do?) and too small (it’s not actually enough to deter corruption; $500,000 a year would be small change for, say, a Nigerian politician) …”

Ibrahim should have taken Karl Marx’s advice: “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”

Further Reading