Africa is a continent that has witnessed several cases of presidents that have been forced to step down from power. These forced resignations have often come as a result of pressure from the public, opposition parties, civil society organizations, or even from within their own parties.
While some of these resignations have been peaceful, others have been marred by violence and bloodshed. The road to democratic governance in Africa is still long and challenging, but these forced resignations offer hope that change is possible. In this article, we will talk about five African Presidents who have been forced to step down.
One of the most prominent examples of a forced resignation of an African president is that of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe, who had been in power since 1980, was forced to step down in November 2017 as a result of several controversial policies and actions, including human rights abuses. His resignation was welcomed by many Zimbabweans who had grown tired of his authoritarian rule.
After nearly four decades in power, a letter read out by the speaker of parliament from Mugabe said the decision was voluntary and he had made it to allow a smooth transfer of power.
His party, ZANU-PF central committee, had earlier initiated to dismiss as their party leader, but his resignation brought an end to the impeachment process.
His resignation news sparked scenes of jubilation all over the country celebrating Mugabe’s departure.
Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh is a Gambian politician and former military officer who was the leader of The Gambia from 1994 to 2017. He was defeated by Adama Barrow in 2017 but refused to step down.
After weeks of negotiations and facing the threat of a regional military intervention, Yahya agreed to step down. Alos, as several members of his administration and security forces resigned, and West African troops amassed at Gambia’s borders, he had no choice but to step down.
He finally gave a brief speech on the State television that he would finally step down having ruled for 23 years.
Thabo Mbeki, the former President of South Africa, resigned from his position in 2008 as a result of pressure from his own party, the African National Congress (ANC), which had become increasingly divided over his leadership style and policies.
Having ruled from 1999 to 2008, Mbeki had faced criticism for his handling of various issues, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic and his perceived lack of support for the then-Deputy President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who was facing corruption charges at the time.
Ultimately, the ANC’s National Executive Committee requested that Mbeki resign, and he did so in September 2008, just months before his second term as President was due to end. This decision was not without controversy, and many of Mbeki’s supporters within the ANC saw it as an unfair ouster. However, it was a constitutional process, and Mbeki accepted the decision and stepped down peacefully.
The former President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir, was forced to step down in April 2019 following months of protests against his regime. Bashir had been in power for 30 years, and his rule was marked by corruption, economic mismanagement, and human rights abuses, and allegation of genocide.
In December 2018, protests erupted in Sudan over rising food prices, fuel shortages, and corruption. These protests quickly turned into calls for Bashir’s resignation, with demonstrators demanding a transition to a civilian government. Bashir responded with a crackdown on the protesters, which only fueled further unrest.
After several months of protests and growing pressure from the international community, the Sudanese military staged a coup and removed Bashir from power on April 11, 2019. Bashir was then placed under arrest and charged with corruption and other crimes.
The president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, was forced out of power after 27 years by a violent popular uprising. He ruled from 1987 to 2014 after a coup in which his predecessor, Thomas Sankara, was assassinated.
In 2014, Compaoré attempted to amend the country’s constitution to allow him to run for another term, despite already having served the maximum two terms. This move sparked widespread protests and a popular uprising, which eventually forced Compaoré to resign and flee to neighboring Ivory Coast.
Compaoré’s departure was a significant moment in Burkina Faso’s history and marked the end of his long and often controversial tenure as the country’s leader. His departure also paved the way for a democratic transition in Burkina Faso, with the election of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré as the country’s new president in 2015.
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