Africa is perhaps the world's most unfortunate continent because its leadership cadre is populated by rapacious and wicked set of people who prefer to steal their countries blind and hide the fortunes in remote banking halls of the world. In these banks the money does not become useful to them nor to their countries because when they die their countries go through lots of pain and fail to get back the stolen funds with which they have enriched the economy of the West.
Remember Mobutu Sese Seko and back home in Nigeria Sani Abacha. The two surely are not on the Foreign Policy magazine because they are since dead.
Hosni Mubarak who has held Egypt under his strong thumb since he succeeded the late Anwar Sadat has after 29 years entered his name in the hall of infamy and a sit tight leader even in the Arab world where holding of elections may not be a strong point. The editors of Foreign Policy describe him as "A senile and paranoid autocrat whose sole preoccupation is self-perpetuation in office." He has made Egypt to become a country where citizens have increasingly become disillusioned and fed up with going to the polls when they know their thumbprints count for nothing. He is openly working to turn the country into a dynasty by having his son succeed him.
After three decades of holding forte in Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (what a mouthful of names) has become the state. There is actually no visible line that separates the Mbasogo family from the state. Although the country's oil wealth is huge enough to make it stand shoulder to shoulder with many countries in Europe, Mbasogo's iron rule has ensured that this does not happen.
Chad, this eternally poor and impoverished country has been so unlucky that it goes from one crisis to another. Idriss Deby its leader who was himself once a rebel leader has turned into a full blown dictator whose words, right or wrong, is law. He has cowed all his opponents so much that those who cannot work for him have left the poor country and its purblind leader. Deby after two decades in power,has become so afraid of everything around him that he is said to be building a moat round the capital. To protect himself from the people he is ruling?
"An eccentric egoist infamous for his indecipherably flamboyant speeches and equally erratic politics," that is how the editors describe Muammar Al-Quaddafi the Libyan leader. The Libyan leader who has held power for forty one years has of recent mellowed down perhaps because of old age, but his hold on power in his country has not been relaxed. Although a few who are his admirers hold the view that he has at least done a few positive things for his country. For instance, no one has ever accused him of storing fabulous wealth in any of the banks of the West. He has at least shown some level of sense of decency in this area where most of his colleagues have failed woefully.
Melezi Zenawi of Ethiopia has shown that he could be as barbarous and rough as Mengistu Haille Mariam whom he fought valiantly to overthrow some twenty years ago. Perhaps today most Ethiopians would have been wondering why they hated Mengistu so much when Zenawi has turned out to be the same or even worse after nineteen years in the saddle. His neighbour Isaias Afwerki is no better.
Described as a "crocodile liberator" by the editors he has turned his country into a huge camp where media are in total shackles and citizens are subjected to long military service to continue to fight for his sustenance in power! Of course the one that can't escape the list is Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan who is surely going to get his own ‘Charles Taylor' treatment no matter how long it takes the world to get him. He has continued to travel in countries that are friendly to him and he is perhaps sure will not hand him over to the International Criminal Court which has charged him for genocide and war crimes.
As of the time of writing this piece he is on a visit to his soul mate Deby in Chad. He is spending his twenty first year in power.
Finally, there is the emperor of Zimbabwe and the grand liberator, Robert Mugabe. A man who, perhaps, would have today stood second in world fame only to Nelson Mandela if he had chosen the path of honour, has stashed the country's fortunes abroad and sent his children to Asia to live like lords in the universities there. After leading the country to independence thirty years ago he has dragged it from its Olympian heights to the lowest depth a country can sink to. Inflation now run at an unprecedented billion percent! These men and those from last week's list are the ‘final men' because they have come to regard themselves as the state. Without them the state cannot survive. This has come to pass in a country like Somalia where it has gone to the dogs since the death of Siad Barre. Are these men not responsible for their countries woes?