Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba received the 2014 Mo Ibrahim prize for African leadership in a ceremony held in Nairobi, Kenya on March 2, 2015. This prize rewards the outstanding achievements of African leaders. President Hifikepunye clinched “US$5 million over ten years” and “US$200 000 per year for life thereafter.” So far it is “the largest annually awarded prize in the world” according to the website of the foundation.
Salim Ahmed Salim, the foundation chairman, praised President Pohamba: “During the decade of Hifikepunye Pohamba’s Presidency, Namibia’s reputation has been cemented as a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights.” The recognition of President Pohamba is a historic addition of another central pillar of the slowly, but surely growing architecture of a hopeful, prosperous, stable and peaceful Africa free from dictatorial regimes. Other Mo Ibrahim prize recipients include: Joaquim Chissano in 2007; Festus Mogae in 2008, Pedro Pires in 2011, former presidents of Mozambique; Botswana and Cape Verde, respectively.
According to the foundation, there were no winners for the years 2009, 20010, 2012 and 2013 because most African leaders fell way below the requirements. The Mo Ibrahim foundation’s celebration of Africa’s progress by encouraging responsible, accountable and efficient leadership strikes at the heart of Africa’s many ills. The recognition and celebration of these excellent African leaders helps underscore the fact that elections are just a step toward better governance on a continent where holding an elected office has become synonymous with writing a blank check to self-enrichment, nepotism, lawlessness and much more. This prize promotes the democratic values of the rule of law and the respect of presidential term limits in Africa.
Furthermore, the Mo Ibrahim index, one of the foundation’s many projects, mirrors and validates the struggle of civil societies across Africa, the grievances of the many victims of irresponsible, corrupt ruling by heavy-handed regimes reflected in reports of human rights violations, infringement of personal and collective freedoms, and injustices across Africa.
By honoring President Pohamba for his work, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation celebrates the best examples of African governance. Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN) strongly believes that bad governance stands in the way of Africa’s improved security, justice, access to economic opportunity, and human development.
by Bahati Jacques