March 31 2008 will go down in African politics as a watershed moment. The honour belongs to former Botswana president Festus Mogae. He has voluntarily relinquished power.
This is a miracle in a continent infamous for its greedy despots and presidents-for-life phenomenon. African leaders are not known for anointing their successors. Robert Mugabe, 84, who has been in power for more than 28 years, is a case in point. He is still clinging to power by hook or by crook. It is for these reasons Mogae's unselfish gesture should be lauded.
He has passed the leadership baton to Ian Khama. After a decade in power, he is leaving active politics. No need to tamper with the constitution to prolong his stay.
This is a new dawn for Africa. Mogae's leadership is proof that Africa is capable of producing high-calibre leaders willing to defend democracy, good governance and their constitutions. Leaders who are accountable, responsible and humble.
By stepping down, Mogae has set a new barometer for future leaders. Mugabe has undermined Zimbabwe and shamed Africa.
Mogae leaves behind a legacy of stability and prosperity. Botswana today is a better place. It is perplexing that leaders of Mogae's stature are not celebrated. How do you explain this deafening silence on such a stupendous occasion?
Lucas Ntyintyane, Cresta