What happens to African presidents after power?

In African continent, their heads of state left power but they had various fortunes after their reign. Some are forced into exile, others have been imprisoned and others more fortunate have been able to retrain.

Here is a list of what some former leaders do.

Joseph Kabila, President of the DRC from 2001 to 2018

Congolese voters went to the polls Sunday 30th December 2018, for an election that stands as the first democratic transition of power in the country. After 17 years as head of the country, Joseph Kabila plans to rest in his farm Kingakati in the outskirts of Kinshasa, the capital of the country.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018

She is the first woman elected by universal suffrage to head an African state. Economist trained in the United States, she led her country for 12 years. Mrs. Sirleaf is also Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2011 and the 2017 winner of the Ibrahim Prize. Her outstanding leadership and her ability to straighten out a country devastated by many years of civil war and facing unprecedented and renewed challenges were hailed.

She recently published a platform in which she urges the old African heads of state to cede power to the younger generation. In November 2017, Mrs. Sirleaf was considering a peaceful retirement after her two terms. “I hope to retire honourably and actively participate in private life in the interest of Liberia and Africa,” she said, adding that there is life after retirement.

Alpha Oumar Konaré, President of Mali from 1992 to 2002

Alpha Oumar Konare, born February 2, 1946 in Kayes (Mali) was President of the Republic from 1992 to 2002. In 2002, in accordance with the Malian Constitution which limits the number of presidential terms to two, he gives the presidential chair to Amadou Toumani Toure.

A year later, he was elected President of the African Union (AU) Commission in July 2003 by the African Heads of State meeting at the Maputo Summit, a post he left in 2008. Gabonese Jean Ping succeeds him. Alpha Oumar Konaré lives in his country, Mali, since his retirement at the AU. He remains an observer and a respected figure in the Malian political scene.

Pedro Pires, President of Cape Verde from 2001 to 2011

Previously, he was Prime Minister from 1975 to 1991. Leader of the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), Mr. Pires is a veteran of the fight against Portuguese colonization in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.

The 2011 Ibrahim Award for Leadership Excellence in Africa was awarded to him for his commitment to democracy and governance, including his refusal to run again at the end of his second presidential term, categorically rejecting any suggestion of change the Constitution as it sees fit.

After heading Cape Verde, Pedro Pires runs quiet days in Praia. He conducts conferences across the continent and conducts election observation missions and participates in international symposia.

Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria 1976 to 1979 and 1999 to 2007

Born in 1937, Olusegun Obasanjo is a Nigerian soldier and statesman from the city of Abeokuta, Ogun State. He led Nigeria twice from 1976 to 1979 and from 1999 to 2007. At the end of his presidency, he leads an active life on an international level.

Mediator appreciated in his country as abroad, it is often requested for missions. In November 2008, Obasanjo was appointed UN Special Envoy for the Congolese crisis between Joseph Kabila’s government troops and Laurent Nkunda’s CNDP militia.

In 2017, he played the role of mediator between the Ivorians Alassane Ouattara and Guillaume Soro, at the height of the tensions between the two men. He became an economic operator with his chicken farm called Obasanjo Farms in Ota.

Pierre Buyoya, president of Burundi from 1987 to 1993 and from 1996 to 2003

Pierre Buyoya, born in 1949 in Rutovu, Bururi Province, is a Burundian officer and statesman. He led Burundi twice from 1987 to 1993 and from 1996 to 2003. Pierre Buyoya has also been President of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) and the KAGERA Basin Organization. After his presidency, he leads an active life on the international level.

Pierre Buyoya is an observer for several elections in Africa for the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

In 1994, he observed the first elections since the end of apartheid in South Africa. In April 2004, he attended the legislative elections in Guinea-Bissau and, as chief of observers, in the presidential elections of Guinea-Bissau in July 2005, in the general elections of the Democratic Republic of Congo in July and October 2006, and in legislative and presidential elections of Mauritania in November 2006 and February and March 2007.

The OIF names him head of a political mission in the Central African Republic to promote political dialogue in August 2007 and a year later, head of a fact-finding mission to Mauritania, just after the coup against the president Mauritanian Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

On 25 October 2012, he was appointed High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel, for the resolution of the crisis in Mali.

Abdou Diouf, President of Senegal from 1980 to 2000

A Senegalese statesman, Abdou Diouf led his country for almost 20 years. In 1970, following a constitutional revision, he was appointed, at age 35, Prime Minister by the father of the Independence of the country, Leopold Sedar Senghor.

He held this position for 10 years. Defeated by Abdoulaye Wade in 2000 during the first democratic transition of power in the country, he congratulates his rival and withdraws from local politics.

But on the international level, a great international career opens his arms. He became Secretary General of La Francophonie, thus overseeing all the institutions and operators of countries with French in common: the International Organization of La Francophonie, TV5 Monde, the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie, the University Agency of La Francophonie and Senghor University of Alexandria.

He heads the OIF from 2003 to 2015. Since his retirement in 2015, he has been spending quiet days between Paris and Dakar. Since his departure from power in 2000, Abdou Diouf has moved away from politics and observes a position of neutrality and reserve.

Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya from 2002 to 2013

He led his country from 2002 to 2013 when current president Uhuru Kenyatta succeeded him. Previously, he was Vice President of the Republic from 1978 to 1988. At 87, he lives a peaceful retirement in his country. He has recently been hospitalized.

Laurent Gbagbo, President of Côte d’Ivoire from 2000 to 2010

Laurent Gbagbo, born in 1945 in Gagnoa, is a statesman, historian and Ivorian writer. He led his country from 2000 to 2010 after several years of struggle in the opposition. A long-time opponent of Felix Houphouet-Boigny, he was elected for a five-year term in 2000, facing Robert Guei.

His mandate is marked for several years by a political-military crisis that cuts the country in two. The 2010 presidential election, which he has rejected six times, is opposed to Alassane Ouattara. At the end of the election, he is considered beaten by the Independent Electoral Commission and almost all the international community, but declared victorious by the Constitutional Council.

He then refuses to leave power, resulting in a crisis of several months. He was finally arrested by rebel forces of Alassane Ouattara with the support of France on April 11, 2011 and incarcerated at the International Criminal Court in The Hague since November 30, 2011.

Hissene Habre, President of Chad from 1982 to 1990

Hissene Habre is a Chadian soldier born in 1942 who led Chad from 1982 to 1990. He took power following the coup that overthrows Goukouni Oueddei. He also lost it in a coup led by current president Idriss Deby. Sentenced to death in absentia for crimes against humanity by a court in N’Djamena, Hissene Habre fled to Senegal.

He is charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. His trial in Dakar in 2015, is the first use of universal jurisdiction on the African continent. He is sentenced to life imprisonment on appeal in 2017 and is serving his sentence in a Senegalese prison.

Mohamed Morsi, President of Egypt from 2012 to 201 3

Born in 1951, Mohamed Morsi led Egypt for a year. He is the first democratically elected president in Egypt and the first civilian to hold this position. He is invested fifth president of the Arab Republic of Egypt on June 30, 2012. Supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi is overthrown by a coup organized by the army on July 3, 2013, following a huge movement of popular protests. On June 18, 2016, he is sentenced to life imprisonment, a sentence he is serving in prison.

Yahya Jammeh, President of Gambia from 1994 to 2017

Yahya Jammeh, born in 1965 in Kanilai, is a Gambian officer and statesman who led this small country nestled in the heart of Senegal from 1994 to 2017. He comes to power after a coup against Dawda Jawara In December 2015, he proclaimed Islam as a state religion and Gambia as an Islamic republic.

In December 2016, Yahya Jammeh is defeated in the presidential election by rival Adama Barrow. He refuses to cede power, proclaims a state of emergency and obtains a three-month extension of his mandate by the National Assembly.

Nevertheless, in the face of international pressure, he left power on 21 January 2017 under the threat of military intervention. Since then he has been living in exile in Equatorial Guinea, but some of his compatriots are demanding his repatriation to be tried.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia from 1987 to 2011

Born in 1936 in Hammam Sousse, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is a Tunisian statesman. He leads this North African country from November 7, 1987 to January 14, 2011 following a popular movement known as the “Arab Spring”. Responsible in the army and national security, he became Minister of the Interior and Prime Minister. With the illness of President Habib Bourguiba, he took the opportunity to file “for medical reasons” and succeeded him as a constitutional dauphin.

On January 14, 2011, he leaves his post of President of the Republic to take refuge in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where he resides in a palace with his wife. Saudi Arabia refuses to extradite them and puts personnel and bodyguards at their disposal.

Until May 15, 2018, the total sentences handed down against Ben Ali by Tunisian courts reached five life sentences and more than 200 years in prison.

Blaise Compaoré, president of Burkina Faso from 1987 to 2014

Blaise Compaore is a Burkinabe military and statesman who led his country from 1987 to 2014. He came to power on 15 October 1987 following a coup against Thomas Sankara and is accused of involvement in the murder of Thomas Sankara.

Elected President of the Republic in 1991 following a contested election boycotted by the opposition, he was re-elected in 1998, 2005 and 2010. On October 31, 2014, after 27 years in power, he was forced to resign by a popular uprising.

Since that, Burkinabe, born in 1951 in Ziniare, a city located north of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, lives in exile in Côte d’Ivoire, a country that naturalized him in 2015.

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