Limiting Political Dynastic Rule in Africa

As expected, Ali Bongo has been elected the next president of Gabon. There is no doubt that Ali Bongo won this election because he is the son of Omar Bongo. Similarly, the only reason Joseph Kabila is the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo is because he is the son of the late president Laurent Kabila.

Does anybody honestly believe that these two men are the best qualified to lead their countries, or that their ascendancy to the throne furthers the cause of democracy in their respected countries?

So, what should be done to limit, if not end, political dynasties in Africa?

One way would be to prohibit immediate family members of political office holders from running for the same office for a specified period of time, say 10 years after their immediate relative vacates the office. For example, in Gabon, Ali Bongo would have had to wait until 2019 if he wanted to run for the presidency. This would have given the people of Gabon the chance to closely evaluate the qualifications and ideas of the other lesser known candidates. It may even have encouraged more, perhaps even better qualified, candidates to run for the presidency if they had known that Ali Bongo would be bared from running until 2019.

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