November 12, 2011


Vladimir Putin, just another autocratic leader unwilling to let go of power. The west may be appalled but this is nothing new in Africa.

More by Correspondent

Vladimir Putin: long-term autocrats nothing new

Vladimir Putin: long-term autocrats nothing new

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has defended his decision to run for the Russian Presidency in March 2012, saying he wants to finish his work of improving prosperity for his people and securing his country’s place as a world power. In this he has been supported by the out-going President, Dimitry Medvedev. Putin had already been President of Russia between 2000 and 2008, since when he has served as Prime Minister, nominally under Medvedev. If the election result goes as planned (and the Kenya Forum means ‘planned’) then Medvedev will be become Prime Minister (but the power will revert to Putin).

If this interesting arrangement continues, Vladamir Putin will have been President and Prime Minister of Russia, and then President again, for 20 years by the time he finishes his second term (for the second time) in office as President in 2020.


Of course, leaders who stay in power for 20 years are nothing new to Africans. 20 years in power?

President Museveni joins the top five longest serving African leaders

That’s for beginners!

With the death of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Uganda’ President Museveni joined the ranks of top five longest-serving leaders on the African continent, having come to power in January 1986, 25 years ago.

Note though that Museveni is only fifth in the rankings. President Paul Biya of Cameroon has been in power for 29 years; President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, 31 years; President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola, 32 years; and topping the list is none other than that famous old democrat, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasongo of Equatorial Guinea, who has lovingly presided over his people’s welfare for 32 years.

Vladimir Putin, like Museveni and all the other semi-permanent political leaders in Africa, thinks he is irreplaceable. They all cannot imagine anyone else doing the job of President. Or perhaps it’s just that they all want to keep their hands on the power and the money for as long as possible. Either way, millions of Africans are fed up with it.


Another world leader celebrated 25 years in power last week.

Last Sunday marked Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25th anniversary as the manager of one of the world’s most popular and best football clubs, Manchester United. It is his tenure at Manchester United that has seen the club go through an era of success and dominance both in England and Europe, that has given Ferguson a reputation as one of the most admired and respected managers in the history of football. It was on 6th November 1986 that the then Alex Ferguson took over at Old Trafford (Manchester United’s ground) where he found a drinking culture and unfitness among players. His first mission was to instill discipline which he managed and the fruits of his efforts were evident when United finished 11th in the English First Division (now the Premier League) in his first season.

It wasn’t until the 1989-90 season that Sir Alex clenched his first title (the FA Cup) with United after a period of reforming the club. Since then Manchester United have won a series of titles totaling 38 trophies in all, unmatched by any other English Club.

Sir Alex Ferguson shows no signs of retiring as manager of Manchester United, stating at one time that he was too old to retire. He said that only his health will remove him from the hot seat. Sir Alex is one leader whose longevity in office is celebrated by the millions of Manchester United fans on the African continent and, one suspects, even by the millions of supporters of his opponents, those who follow Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and even Manchester City.


Related Articles