It’s not that uncommon to see a leader in Africa spend decades in power, using one excuse or the other to hold on to their post even if there is a term limit. It is a lot less common to see one of them actively joke about it.
“We [in Africa] put a rope around our own neck and say leaders must only have two terms,” said Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe and chairperson of African Union while addressing the opening session of the AU assembly this week. The 91-year-old man has ruled Zimbabwe for 35 years across seven presidential terms, but used his speech to lambast Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza for his third-term bid.
Mugabe, who is in his first term under Zimbabwe’s new constitution, which includes a two-term restriction claimed that African leaders are treated differently from those in the rest of the world. “It is a democracy, if people want a leader to continue, let him continue,” he said, jokingly adding that two terms could feel as short as two weeks.