Monday, October 19, 2009

No award given for African good governance

African businessman Mo Ibrahim has a yearly award that recognizes a former politician for good governance. This year, Ibrahim could find no winners. The prize comes with a five million dollar award the highest prize of any such award. Festus Mogae, Botswana's former President and former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano are past winners of the award.

From the BBC, we read more about the decision not to give an award this year and what it means for African politicians.

Mr Ibrahim said people could draw their own conclusions about why no prize was awarded this year.

But he said there was "no issue of disrespect" meant towards eligible candidates.

"The prize committee welcomed the progress made on governance in some African countries while noting with concern recent setbacks in other countries," said a statement from the panel which made the decision.

"This year the prize committee has considered some credible candidates. However, after in-depth review, the prize committee could not select a winner."

Former president of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, one of the panel-members, said that if there had been a similar award for former European leaders this year, it might have been equally difficult to select a worthy winner.

BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut says Mr Ibrahim established the prize because well-run African democracies are not thick on the ground.

Mr Ibrahim argues that the prize is needed because many African leaders come from poor backgrounds and are tempted to hang on to power for fear that poverty is what awaits them when they give up the levers of power.

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