Two days ago, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, became the winner of the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for “good governance” in Africa. The award, which has previously gone to three former African leaders – in 2007, 2008 and 2011 – comes with a price tag of US$5 million spread over 10 years plus a total sum of US$200 000 per year for life.
With the Ibrahim Prize, the world’s most valuable and lucrative individual award of its kind, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, does not in fact have to worry in his life for money. Pleading his unshakable commitment to peace and stability in Namibia and the rest of Africa, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who said he is humbled by the recognition, accepted the award on “behalf of the Namibian people,“ and promised to use the fund for his foundation, established last year to support students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to study agriculture.
It will be recalled that President Hifikepunye Pohamba`s ten year presidency, experienced a high level of democratic rule ““ rule of law, accountability, strengthened democratic institutions, stable and inclusive democracy coupled with impeccable press freedom and human right record. President Hifikepunye Pohamba`s belief in using peace as a source of democratic consolidation and economic development is not only visible in Namibia as a country; it is one of the many reasons that influenced the decision of the Ibrahim Prize committee to award the prize to President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
With the Mo Ibrahim award, one might ask many questions. Why can`t other African rulers emulate the likes of President Hifikepunye Pohamba? Why must our leaders plunder our economies and create economic woes just because they want to steal in billions with impunity knowing that they would one day leave the office? With Mo Ibrahim award, a lucrative financial arrangement for the life time of our African leaders, why do our leaders still consider it necessary to steal recklessly or engage in undemocratic acts? Rather than plundering the government coffer and committing undemocratic acts, why can`t other African leaders demonstrate wise leadership, enjoy an impeccable legacy and have their financial future guaranteed through the Mo Ibrahim Prize?