Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Africa governance prize finds no winners
Thanks for sharing this article Kome!
Not surprised at the Africa Governance Prize Committee's decision to not award the prize to any candidate this year, I really can't think of anyone who qualifies. Maybe when Rwanda's Kagame or even our dear Yar'Aadua, decides to step down, then we can have some potentials worth debating over. Thoughts on whether they got it wrong this time?
Africa governance prize finds no winners - Financial Times
Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese telecoms magnate, will not award his $5m African leadership prize this year, a decision seen as a rebuke to the former presidents of Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana, among others.
The prize, now in its third year, is given to heads of state who rule wisely and hand over power to elected successors.
Mr Ibrahim launched the award, along with a related index on African governance, after concluding that poor governance was the biggest impediment to Africa’s development, and deciding to devote the fortune he made selling Celtel, his telecoms company, to the promotion of leadership.
He intended the prize, which he has no say over, would stir debate on governance. This year it has, on cue.
Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president, Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s leader between 1999 and 2007, and John Kufuor of Ghana were all eligible, having stood down within the past three years.
The decision not to reward them was made by a panel including Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general, Salim Ahmed Salim, former chairman of the Organisation of African Unity, Mary Robinson, Ireland’s former president, and Mohamed ElBaradei, the outgoing director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
On Monday, Mr Ibrahim said people could draw their own conclusions about the decision.
In a statement, the prize committee “welcomed the progress made on governance in some African countries while noting with concern recent setbacks in other countries”. It added that after an “in-depth review the prize committee could not select a winner”.
The three main candidates played prominent roles mediating conflicts and building pan-continental institutions. They were far more influential on the international stage than previous winners, Festus Mogae of Botswana and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.
However, Mr Mbeki and Mr Obasanjo were divisive figures at home, with the former Nigerian leader losing the battle against corruption and sacrificing credibility with a last-minute attempt to prolong his rule. Mr Mbeki drew fierce criticism for his controversial stance on the HIV/Aids crisis.
Mr Kufuor was considered by supporters at home and abroad to be the obvious winner after presiding over a rare peaceful transfer of power to his party’s opponents. However, in recent months his record has come under scrutiny and there are growing concerns about Ghana’s role as a conduit for cocaine during his tenure.