The fantasy of a one term president in Africa

Antoinette H. Condobrey
By Antoinette H. Condobrey

Antoinette Herrmann-Condobrey is a journalist who specialises in digital media and magazine reporting. She has a strong attachment to topical issues and a soft spot for arts and culture reporting. Journalism for her is a passion and this is evident in her careful approach to reporting and the comprehensiveness of her work. "The hardest and one of the most depressive things for me to do," she says, "is to go ahead and publish a story that my mind tells me could do with one more fact." Antoinette has functioned as a senior reporter and editor. The Ghanaian-born has real concerns about the representation of Africa by the more developed world and is convinced that only the African media can do justice to the image of the continent. It is this task that she hopes to help accomplish through her work.

Posted on Monday, 12 September 2011 10:09

I’ve been wondering if those declaring Ghana’s President Mills a one term president even before the end of his first term in office absolutely believe what they are saying or whether their comments are more of wishes.

To be honest, I did share their view during and immediately after the bitter primary fight between President Mills and former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings; but I have since reconsidered that position after a cursory African case study.

Sitting presidents losing elections from where I come is almost unheard of. And I am not talking fraud, which is by the way a factor; I am only looking at the far-reaching influence incumbents usually have over the general public.

South Africa’s Nelson Mandela chose to be a one term president; Umaru Yaradua, the late president of Nigeria, died in office, and the many other one-term African presidents that have crossed my mind, including the late Hilla Limann of Ghana, were overthrown in military coups.

The least said about Sassou-Nguesso, André Kolingba, Didier Ratsiraka – heads of states who lost elections only after being stripped of most of their powers – the better.

I am closing my mind on F.W. De Klerk’s loss to Mandela for obvious reasons.

Oops! Nicephore Soglo: That statesman from Benin who made history in 1996 as the first sitting president in Sub-Saharan Africa to lose power at the ballot box. So the idea isn’t completely unheard of after all.

Regardless, considering the sophistication of the new Ghanaian voter – demonstrated at the 2008 polls – aren’t they the ones to be wary of concerning the 2012 elections rather than the clout of those who need their endorsement?

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