HARARE – A foundation that offers a $5 million prize to African leaders that excel in office or step down when they are supposed to has declined to give the award for the third straight year.
To win the Mo Ibrahim prize, laureates must be a democratically-elected former African head of State or government who has left office in the previous three years; have served her or his constitutionally-mandated term and have demonstrated excellence in office, helping to lift people out of poverty and paving the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity.
The prize was established in 2007 by Mo Ibrahim, founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, to celebrate excellence in African leadership and to provide laureates with the opportunity to pursue their commitment to the African continent once they have stepped down from office.
It is judged by an independent Prize Committee composed of seven eminent figures, including two Nobel Laureates.
Salim Ahmed Salim, who chaired the prize committee for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said the committee considered every African head of state or government who retired in the last four years.
Salim, former secretary-general of the Organisation of African Unity, former Prime Minister of Tanzania and chair of the Prize Committee, said: “This prize honours former heads of State or government, who, during their mandate, have demonstrated excellence in leading their country, and by doing so, serve as role models for the next generation.”
“After careful consideration, the Prize Committee has determined not to award the 2013 Prize for Excellence in Leadership.”
The cash prize has been awarded three times in its seven-year history. Former Cape Verde President Pedro Verona Pires won in 2011, Festus Mogae of Botswana won in 2008, and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique won in 2007. No award was given in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Zimbabwe has been ranked 47 out of 52 countries on the 2013 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Safety and rule of law in Zimbabwe was ranked 49 out of 52 countries polled.
However, human development in Zimbabwe improved with the country ranking 30 out of the 52 continental countries.
“Good governance is not an overnight success but a process of hard work,” Ibrahim said at a live stream press conference held in London.
“94 percent of African people live better now under their governments than they did in 2000.”
While rule of law and safety were the lowest ranking in most countries, according to the index, African leaders are pushing for Africa to disengage from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Zimbabwe has been criticised for backing the move to pull out of ICC.
“We need to ensure there is no impunity. Africa doesn’t have an African Court of Justice. The ICC can at least fill some role Africa can’t,” Ibrahim said.