Thats the question posed by the latest piece in the African Executive. The author reckons that the failure of African leaders to write and engage in intelligent debate, even after they leave office is symptomatic of a wider problem facing Africa - a lack of ideas. Excerpt:
....How many current African rulers have ever written a book like the founders? I don’t see any! Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah and others wrote books. Others used to comment on papers eminently being Nigeria Obafemi Owolowo. Their books helped us to weigh and measure their intellectuality and vision altogether.A separately, but related piece in the same paper calls for an "African Way". Calling on Africans to "develop systems of government that take into account the peculiarities of Africa without throwing away elements of other systems that may be useful to us".
Where are new books written by the authors of this generation including our rulers? Famous and doyen African writers like Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Fredinand Oyono and others are now exiting. Isn’t this the end of African Writers’ Series really?
I can see professionals abandoning their professions so as to become politicians. Thus, alas, like tomatoes, make easier and quick fortunes. Who could believe that professors like George Saitoti in Kenya would be used by illiterate Indian Kamlesh Pattni and Daniel arap Moi (former president) to ruin Kenya’s coffers on top of nearing the country to bankruptcy?
....Our rulers neither write nor read. If they do, why haven't they brought changes?Most of the time they’re in banquets and trips abroad doing business. They’re ruling without philosophies and vision. In short, they’re but bluffing and fluffing. Those who ever tried to write have compiled their speeches. Benjamin Mkapa, former president of Tanzania did this.
Western leaders teach at universities when they retire or do work related to academics. I recently witnessed an ex-Chief of Stuff of Canada, Gen. Rick Hillier being appointed the Chancellor of famous university of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador (MUN). Ask me where the retired chief of staff of Tanzania is.