How Jakaya Kikwete failed to land Sh 10 billion in retirement

Friday June 17 2016

Former President, Jakaya Kikwete at previous

Former President, Jakaya Kikwete at previous event. Photo by File 

By Syriacus Buguzi Dar es Salaam.

Dar es Salaam.Former President Jakaya Kikwete will not be a beneficiary of the multi-million dollar Mo-Ibrhaim prize for influential and transformative African Presidents in retirement.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced on Thursday that there would be no winner for the Ibrahim Prize of Achievement in African Leadership for 2015, the fifth time the prize has gone begging since its inception in 2006.

Tanzania would now have two retired presidents who failed to clinch the prize. Former President Benjamin Mkapa who left office in 2005 after serving for 10 years did not qualify for the same prize and was beaten to it by former Mozambican President Joaquim Chisano. Kikwete succeeded him as the country’s fourth Head of State.

Mr Kikwete who enjoyed a positive rating largely among the international community did not quality alongside other African counterparts who retired over the last three years. They all failed to meet the criteria for the award, the highest of such nature around the world.

Considered a “dream send-off” for elected presidents who made a positive impact on their nations, The Ibrahim Prize would have beeb the icing on the cake should Mr Kikwete have scooped the award.

Now in its eighth year, the prize is aimed at promoting democracy and good governance on the continent and is the biggest financial reward on record to an outgoing chief executive of a country.

Having left office during the last three calendar years, Mr Kikwete was automatically set for the grand prize worth over Sh10 billion ($5 million) for charity work of his choice and also a separate personal retirement bounty of an annual income of Sh400 million ($200,000) cheque.

Yesterday’s announcement means that Mr Kikwete and other Africal leaders who retired recently, such as Armando Guebuza of Mozambique and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, all failed to prove they had left a legacy worth rewarding.

Kikwete’s predecessor Mkapa is now time barred according to prize rules but Kikwete may have another go next year, even though that would be more of a formality and not guarantee a win. 

Set up by Sudanese-British tycoon Mo Ibrahim in 2006, the Ibrahim Prize is given based on the review of a special committee that includes former diplomats, Nobel laureates, business leaders and democracy activists.

Since it was founded, the prize has been awarded four times and  there were no winners in the year 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Only three former presidents--Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Festus Mogae of Botswana and Pedro Pires of Cape Verde have so far won the prize.

The award is given to a former African head of state who left office in the last three years before the year of awarding, was democratically elected, served his or her constitutionally mandated term and demonstrated exceptional leadership.