By Tasie Theodore
The ‘statesmanlike-act’ of accepting defeat in the 2015 presidential elections has not been enough to secure the much coveted Mo Ibrahim Prize for former President Goodluck Jonathan.
This follows the announcement by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation today that, on account of the failure of Jonathan and several other immediate past leaders within the continent to meet the stated criteria for the selection of awardees, there is no winner of the 2015 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.
The long-awaited announcement was made following a meeting of the independent Prize Committee chaired by former Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union), Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim.
In his response to the decision of the Prize Committee, Mo Ibrahim, Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, affirmed: “The Board respects the decision of the independent Prize Committee. When we launched the Prize ten years ago, we deliberately set a very high bar. We want the Prize to shine a spotlight on outstanding leadership to provide role models right across society, as well as supporting Laureates to continue to serve the continent by sharing their wisdom and experience.”
The Difference checks outlines that the candidates for the Ibrahim Prize are all former African executive Heads of State or Government who have left their office during the last three calendar years, having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term. The Prize Committee meets on a regular basis to review eligible candidates and has begun considering candidates for the 2016 Ibrahim Prize.
Since being launched in 2006, the Ibrahim Prize has been awarded only four times, a point that analysts say clearly underscores the poor leadership situation in the continent.
The previous Laureates are President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), President Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), President Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008), and President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007). Nelson Mandela was the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007.
And from his present track record of service, one other leader within the continent that looks almost sure to miss the prize upon the completion of his current second term in office is South African President, Jacob Zuma.
Equally, leaders like Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, despite their fairly impressive successes in office may also not get the prize when they eventually leave office on account of alleged human rights and other governance deficits.