Lifetime presidents are cause of destabilization to their own nations30 July 2015 Editorial Desk
US President Barack Obama speaking to African leaders at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Tuesday advised many African leaders to step down after their term is over. There must be democratic elections. Nobody should be president for life. If they want to cling on to power development will suffer.
What President Obama said for Africa is equally applicable to many Asian countries as well and Bangladesh can't stay out of the troubled environment that he spoke about.
He has rightly said that he believed he is a pretty good president but he can't stay on power after his term is over. It is constitutionally unlawful, he said in the USA hitting at the epicenter of political crisis in many African and Asian countries where the leaders do not want to step down. They want to unlawfully continue in power.
The president wondered why such leaders, many of whom were present at the gathering, don't step down when they have lot of money. He also spoke about their cancerous corruption which is slowing down the African nations' development.
But what the President may have missed to take note of is that the greed for power, huge money and ill-gotten wealth that the leaders have amassed need them all the more to continue in power to protect the illegal fortune.
These leaders hold controversial elections, rig the voting system and even use brute force on the people to stay in power as we see. That is what we have also noticed in many Asian countries including Bangladesh. President Obama's observation has highlighted the reality in many countries away from the African continent.
President Obama has pointed out that those leaders believe they are the only persons who can hold the nation together. Their presence is important to save the nation. But in his words, these are the leaders who have failed to truly build their nation.
He said democracy is more than just holding elections. But it is noticeable that in many countries even a free and fair election is not possible to allow the people to choose their leaders. Bangladesh is not an exception either.
Obama is true when he said where journalists are put behind the bars or the political activists are threatened under governments crackdown on the civil society then there can be democracy only in name, but not in substance.
But the problem is that the US leaderships are only talking about high idealism which is not enough for the countries where democracy is in real danger. Many wonder why the US, as the most powerful leader of the democratic world is keeping away from using its moral and real power to bring back those nations to the path of democracy.
The "cancer of corruption" must be rotted out as Obama told the African nations as it is key to unlocking Africa's economic potential. Similar situation is prevailing in many other Asian countries also where corruption and money launderings are eating away the potentials for higher growth.
The fact is that the USA is engaged to fight against so-called Islamist terrorists and local outfits in many countries and many corrupt regimes are taking shelter of US support to stay in power in those countries denying their people's democratic rights to elect their own government. They are encouraging terrorism of their own. These rulers holding power illegally are also swindling national wealth. People believe that the US must reassess its soft policy towards such corrupt regimes — be it in Africa or Asia does not matter.