Presidential Mortality in Africa is Higher than Infant Mortality
Being an African President is a Dangerous Business: Presidential Mortality is Just one of the Risks
Since 2008, eight Head of States or Presidents have died in Africa; the latest the drink the curse is Ghana’s John Atta Mills. Before President Mills, other presidents who left for the ancestral land include Guinea-Bissau’s Malam Bacai Sanha, Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Nigeria’s Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Zambia’s Levy Mwanawasa, Guinea’s Lansana Conté and Gabon’s Omar Bongo.
Considering that there are 54 countries in Africa, this translates to a presidential mortality rate of approximately 15%. If this doesn’t scare you, compare it to the infant mortality rate of Afghanistan and Sierra Leone which are 14 and 13.5% respectively (Afghanistan and Sierra Leone top the world in infant mortality rates). What this means is that even a baby born in Afghanistan or Sierra Leone has a higher chance of surviving the first four to 5 years in life than an African presidents has in surviving a couple of terms in office.
Why is this so, considering that over the same period (from 2008), no president died in South America, only one president died in Asia (North Korea), one president died in Europe (Poland), only one died in North America (Barbados).
So what is happening in Africa?
- Is it the age of our presidents?
It’s important to note that the average age of an African President is 62.5 while it’s 55 years for American presidents at time of taking office. 55 is also the average for European Presidents.
- Is it our healthcare systems?
Healthcare in Africa is nothing to write about but almost all African Presidents manage to take care of themselves in premium western hospitals with some of the best doctors.
- Is it stress?
- Is it too much ‘Opposition?’
Death is certain, but death with such statistics is disturbing especially when it has the potential to create a power vacuum and instability on a continent which doesn’t have a good resume on managing such stuff.
By the way, as you leave this site, take note that Mwai Kibaki of Kenya is 80 and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is 89. Barack Obama of US is 51 and David Cameron of the UK is 45. All things being equal, we shouldn’t expect death to make as many presidential trips to Europe or North America as it makes to Africa.
Thanks for reading