Africa Needs Strong Institutions

Published on 27th September 2016

Former Zambia Acting President Guy Scott has castigated president Edgar Lungu over the latter’s remarks at the just concluded United Nations summit in New York. Lungu had told the UN 71st summit that Africa did not need strong leaders but strong institutions, a path that Zambia is trudging.

While Lungu could be preaching water and drinking wine, this does not negate the fact that Africans are suffering from far too much leadership: what they desperately need are strong institutions. Sudanese cell-phone tycoon Mo Ibrahim’s multimillion-dollar leadership prize, while well-intentioned, is not yielding its intended results. The prize can have great impact if it would be spent on strengthening institutions instead of political chiefs.

African countries must reform their constitutions to limit discretionary power at all levels of government. The credibility of institutions such as the parliament, the judiciary and the presidency must be full-proofed and the fundamental foundations of the free society, transferable property rights, the rule of law (equal for all and enforced on all) and free markets observed. Only strong institutions, not faith in individuals, will save Africa.

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