Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni was sworn in on May 12th. The headline was that he was on his way to a record-breaking 40th year in power.
Museveni has been in power longer than any previous East African president, and is unlikely to be in the future achieved by one.
It wasn’t just Museveni’s political profile that was peculiar. The 11 African presidents who attended the ceremony represented countries whose experiences are so diverse that it was a dramatic demonstration of the diversity and complexity of Africa.
Burundi’s President Évariste Ndayishimiye was in the house. Ndayishimiye was sworn in weeks earlier because his predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza, who resigned, died on June 8, 2020. However, he should hand over power in August. The official cause of death was a heart attack, but it was widely believed that the coruravirus-denying Nkurunziza died of Covid-19.
Tanzania’s new President Samia Suluhu, who had been in Uganda days earlier, returned. Her predecessor John Magufuli, a Covid denier like Nkurunziza, officially died of a heart problem on March 17, but it was widely believed that he too succumbed to the virus.
Burundi and Tanzania are the two neighboring countries in Africa, where their leaders have likely both been overtaken by Covid-19. However, President Samia also represented the country that has long been ruled by a single party on the continent.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta also rocked. Kenya was the only country there that was not ruled by a soldier, a former guerrilla chief, or a leader who claimed he was a socialist.
Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo from Somalia recently became the first president , who caught one term extension from parliament, and had it revoked days later in the face of threats of total descent into chaos. Somalia is also the only African country that is on the way to having more than one breakaway nation.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo came to us from the most successful and democratic African state after military rule. < / p>
Namageia Hage Geingob was the only country in Africa that was colonized by a neighboring settler state, South Africa. Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the only Vice President persecuted by the great man Robert Mugabe but returned from brief exile within days to take power away from him.
With his ubiquitous black fedora, Salva Kiir from South Sudan was the newest nation in the world and also the longest-born.
Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, a typical limit-breaker of the President, was nevertheless the only leader on the platform who had been in exile and prison and came to power during one of these transitions from military to civil rule.
Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde appeared from an ethnic federal republic which, however, threatens with the dissolution of the US war in his Tigray region .
Then there was President Félix Tshisekedi, the first leader of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to come to power through an electoral transition, despite the fact that he was fraught with gimmicks.
H But did we say it’s a demonstration of how diverse and complex Africa is? Not really. It looks like one of those giant bird nests built from hundreds of different materials. But it’s still a whole nest.
Charles Onyango-Obbo is a journalist, writer and curator of the “Wall of Great Africans”. [Email protected]