Sooner or later, even the all-powerful in Africa can be caught, tried and punished. The legion of long-serving, wildly corrupt, hitherto seemingly safe and immune national bosses such as President Paul Biya in Cameroon (37 years in office), President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of oil rich Equatorial Guinea (40 years), President Idriss Déby of Chad (29 years), ailing President Ali Bongo of Gabon (in office only 10 years, but a successor to his father, Omar, who had been in office for 42 years) and President Faure Gnassingbé of tiny Togo (in office 14 years, but who also inherited the position from his father, who ruled for almost 38 years), should now be more concerned than before about the eventual reach of the law.
Former president Robert Mugabe, ousted in a military coup in 2017 and now living in Zimbabwe at a frail 94 years of age after 37 years as a despot, should also take note.
All of these present and former heads of state, and their contemporaries elsewhere in Africa, must be aware that whereas whole countries, their masses of civilians and neighbouring African countries once tolerated blatant thefts from the public purse, such impunity internationally and regionally has largely ended. Publics almost everywhere understand the massive extent to which corrupt takings sap the resources of the state, distort priorities and cheat citizens.
Culled from The Globe and Mail