4 African leaders who learned nothing from Nelson Mandela

The anti-apartheid revolutionary was an inspiration to the world -- just not the likes of Robert Mugabe

Topics: GlobalPost, Nelson Mandela, dictators, Africa, african leaders, robert mugabe, teodoro obiang, Yoweri Museveni, jacob zuma, , , ,

4 African leaders who learned nothing from Nelson MandelaThis Sunday Dec. 13, 1998 file photo shows former South African president Nelson Mandela, left, with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Harare. (Credit: AP/Rob Cooper)
This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

Global Post
Nelson Mandela was an example to us all … but these African leaders just didn’t listen.

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe

The 89-year-old president is just a few years younger than Mandela. Both led their countries to freedom from oppressive white minority rule and both have names beginning with ‘M’ but there the similarities end.

While “Mandela” became a byword for dignity and forgiveness and is being mourned around the world, Mugabe’s name is a synonym for brutality and misrule who will be missed by few outside of his ruling party, if he ever goes that is.

Teodoro Obiang, Equatorial Guinea

The only thing Obiang and Mandela have in common is a dysfunctional family. But while Mandela’s family strife is for the most part just an embarrassment, Obiang’s is blood-soaked.

You Might Also Like

Obiang’s uncle became the country’s first president after the Portuguese colonists left and subsequently bumped off a number of his own family members including Obiang’s brother. So Obiang launched a coup in 1979, had his uncle executed by firing squad a month later and has run the place ever since.

Yoweri Museveni, Uganda

Mandela was all about forgiveness, not so Museveni — who as surely as he will continue standing for re-election will also use his campaigns to talk about the ‘Luwero Triangle’ massacres.

 The ethnic killings of Museveni’s western kinsmen in the 1980s were ordered by former president Milton Obote and Museveni’s calculated and regular reminders are a not-very-well veiled warning not to vote for northerners.

The Dinosaurs

Outstaying their welcome is a depressingly common tendency among African leaders.

Some like Angola’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Cameroon’s Paul Biya, Equatorial Guinea’s Obiang, Uganda’s Museveni and Zimbabwe’s Mugabe have been in power longer than Mandela was in prison for challenging white “apartheid” rule. After 27 years in jail Mandela led South Africa for just five years and stepped down after a single term.

Jacob Zuma, South Africa

Corruption scandals, grotesque amounts of public money spent on his luxury home, serial philandering and the declaration that a shower after sex could wash away AIDS have all served to remind South Africans how un-Mandela Jacob Zuma is and just how lucky they were to have Madiba when they did.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...