Friday, 1 November 2019

Why African Presidents are more Powerful than US President or British PM —by Princewill Odidi

1 November 2019 

An African President has more Powers than the American President or British Prime Minister: Plain truth, this is why. 

It would suprise many to learn that the African President is more powerful than the American President. Yes, it is very true. Things a Nigerian President can unilaterally do, the American President cannot. 

An American President cannot instruct a department to issue a contract to one of his cronies, but an African President does this so easily without repercussions. 

A British Prime Minister cannot issue an oil well to whoever he wishes, but an African President can. 

An African president can wake up in the morning to shut down the national boarders without conferring with the senate, the courts or his economic team.

An African President can disregard the law and constitution and moves ahead to extend his tenure in office something a British Prime Minister cannot contemplate. 

An African President can order a journalist locked up under trumped up charges, the police and courts will play along, this cannot happen in the developed world. 

An African President is like a god. If he wakes up on a good day he can order all civil servants salaries paid upfront even when the salaries are not due, this is practically impossible in climes that have functional institutions. 

An African President cannot be impeached by his Congress. No congressman can even contemplate it, he can mobilize support to impeach his senate president or trump up charges to replace the Chief Justice of the federation. Some would even sack the Supreme Court judge. Most African Presidents are law to themselves. 

An African President is like god, he does no wrong. He makes the laws, he interprets the law and he jails those who violate the law. An African President is law to himself. 

His opponents just vanish without trace, yet no one can question him. He can make his loyalist rich and he can wreck the businesses of his opponents. 

To the African President, life and death are in his hands. This is why I blame Africa's underdevelopment on the Presidents and not the weak institutions. If an African president want an institution to be strong he just gives instructions, the only difference is that the institutions take instruction from the President. 

One reason why Africa's Underdevelopment requires a political solution is because since our institutions are weak, not independent. A determined visionary leadership can push through programs of development which on a regular day the institutions may have delayed. This is what is happening in Rwanda. That's why everyone is saying Paul Kagame is performing. However his human rights record is zero. 

I agree with those who argue that it is easier to fix a state with weak institutions if the political leadership can exert political will accordingly. 

But in climes where the institutions are strong, a weak president can be tolerated and would not do too much harm because there are checks and balances that determines his limitations. 

Donald Trump has no power to order the arrest of his opponents, but an African President can order an arrest, trial and even determine the judgement of his opponents. 

However a weak President will be disastrous to most African nations. In the absence of Rwanda and Ghana, most African Presidents are weak. 

If the Presidents in Africa can be this powerful and answers to no one, then the burden of Africa's underdevelopment is directly linked to their weakness. 

African Presidents rarely loose elections, Ghana was an exception, African Presidents have the power to write election results. See what's going on in Cameroon and Gabon who have a near paralyzed 80 year old president still standing for election. For most of Africa, the President is the law. The entire nation lives at his mercy. 

Yes, an African President is more powerful than the US and British leaders combined. Let's continue to hold them responsible for Africa's woes.

Princewill Odidi is a social commentator who writes from Atlanta in Georgia 

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