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This article is telling a story on how the leaders in power should learn to handle over power when they are sick.


This month the world heard the shocking news on the resignation of Pope Benedict. At the age of 85, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be resigning on February 28, 2013—becoming the first pope in centuries to step down from his post. 

According to several media reports, Benedict's decision centered on his old age, and physical and mental weakness. In one, statement, the pope explained, "I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, am no longer suited to an adequate exercise." He went on to state, "In today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me . For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom, I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter. (Extracted fromhttp://www.biography.com/people/pope-benedict-xvi ) 

Although this news is shocking to our colleagues in the Catholic Church and the world at large, the pope has demonstrated exemplary leadership which many leaders have failed to show, especially our African brothers. Many of our African leaders have failed to handle over power even when they are declared ill. For instance former Presidents of Nigeria, Ghana and Gabon held on to power until death. These presidents refused to handle over power even when they were declared to be sick. 

President Yar'Adua left Nigeria on 23 November 2009, and was reported to be receiving treatment for pericarditis at a clinic in Saudi Arabia. He was not seen in public again, and his absence created a dangerous power vacuum in Nigeria. On 9 February 2010, the Senate determined that presidential power be transferred to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan and that he would serve as Acting President, with all the accompanying powers until Yar'Adua returned to full health. The power transfer described as "coup without the word" by opposition lawyers and lawmakers. However, there are others that felt the power vacuum would lead to instability and a possible military takeover. On 24 February 2010, Yar'Adua returned to Abuja. His state of health was unclear, but there was speculation that he was still on a life support machine. Yar'Adua died on 5 May at the Presidential Villa.

Omar Bongo the second President of Gabon died in Spain on June 8, 2009, after having suffered from colorectal cancer. On 7 May 2009, the Gabonese Government announced that Bongo had temporarily suspended his official duties and taken the time off to mourn his wife and the rest in Spain while International media, reported that he was seriously ill and undergoing treatment for cancer in hospital in Barcelona, Spain. The Gabonese government maintained that he was in Spain for a few days of rest following the "intense emotional shock" of his wife's death, but eventually admitted that he was in a Spanish clinic "undergoing a medical checkup. 

The former Ghanaian President was sick for some time but refuted all concerns that were raised about his health. He died on 24 July 2012 at the 37 Military Hospitals in Accra, three days after his 68th birthday. Though the cause of death was not released, he had been suffering from throat cancer. Former minister Elizabeth Ohene said that as a result of previous false reports of his death, she had not believed initial claims of his actual death. "For the past three or four years there had been news he's been unwell and rumours of his death — twice — and he appeared with grim humour to say they were exaggerated, insisting he was well. 

The President of Venezuela has been reported sick but he has refused to handle over power. The Venezuela's government has reported that President Hugo Chavez suffering from a severe lung infection. The Venezuelan leader had not been seen in public since undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba on December 11. He was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011 but has never disclosed the type or severity. 

The leaders mentioned in this article are just a few among thousands of other sick leaders. There are so many leaders who still holding on to power even when they are sick. 
The exemplary leadership by his relevance pope Benedict rekindles my concerns about my grandfather Robert Mugabe. Am not sure when Mugabe is retiring from power so that he can allow other citizens to rule Zimbabwe. 

Robert Mugabe was born February 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia. In 1963, he founded ZANU, a resistance movement against British colonial rule. In 1980, when British rule ended, he became prime minister of the new Republic of Zimbabwe. In 1987, he was elected president of Zimbabwe. 
In his early days, Mugabe took Zimbabwe from colonial masters to indigenous Zimbabweans. Despite a number of achievements that Mugabe has scored, Zimbabwe has gone through a lot of problems. Some of the problems in Zimbabwe are results of poor leadership by Mugabe. 

Since 2008, he has shared power with Morgan Tsvangirai. In December 2011, Mugabe announced his bid for 2012 re-election. This announcement has left many of us wandering. I have asked myself many questions on what Mugabe is up to. Has Mugabe declared himself as life president or what is happening to Mugabe? Late President Levy Mwanawasa described Zimbabwe as a sinking titanic. 

In 2011, a U.S. diplomatic cable indicated that Mugabe might be battling prostate cancer. The allegation raised public concerns about a military coup in the event of Mugabe’s death while in office. Mugabe has so far asserted that he will not step down from the presidency until his "revolution" was over— at which time he will select his own successor from among the leaders of his ZANU-PF party. 

My advice to the president is that he is not the only Zimbabwean who can resolve problems in Zimbabwe. There are other Zimbabwean that can sort out the problems that Zimbabwe is facing. He should not see himself as the messiah for Zimbabwe. But should emulate his comrades like Dr.Kenneth Kaunda, Nelson Mandela, Joachim Chissamu and other great leaders.

Submitted: March 05, 2013

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