Accomplished scholar and professor of African Development at the London School of Economics, Thandika Mkandawire has advised old aged politicians to ‘sit on the side’ and leave the stage for the young with huge amounts of energy.
He joins a growing number of voices including that of African philanthropist, Mo Ibrahim that advanced age of African leaders is a contributing factor to problems in African.
In Malawi, the first to come out clearly on the issue was former First Lady who is also President Peter Mutharika’s in- law Callista Mutharika last week.
Writing on popular social media site Nyasanet, Professor Mkandawire, an age-mate of President Mutharika having born on October 10, 1940, said he was together with Mutharika during the struggle of independence and democritisation and that counts for more contributions to the country.
“I still can’t figure out why he believes he has the energy and capacity for the incredibly ardours and complex struggle for developing Malawi. The most successful presidents in the last twenty years – the Meles, Kagame have been young with huge amounts of energy,” write Professor Mkandawire.
“In addition, we can’t have a Minister of Finance (Goodall Gondwe) in the 80s. It makes no sense and this is beginning to show in some of the confusion in fiscal policy. And it is a joke among both donors and investors. We the old should sit on the side, doling out our wisdom when demanded,” advised Mkandawire.
“But running a state or economy? NO. That is not fair to a population that is so young and so full of dreams and energy,” offered Mkandawire.
Mutharika will be 80 years old when the country goes to the polls next year and there have been calls that a younger person like Vice President Saulos Chilima should be the ruling DPP candidate at next year’s elections but DPP is adamant that he will stand again next year.
Thandika Mkandawire is Professor of African Development at the London School of Economics (LSE). He was Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development from 1998 to 2009.
A Swedish national of Malawian origin, he is an economist with many years’ experience in the promotion of comparative research on development issues. He was formerly Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen and has taught at the Universities of Stockholm and Zimbabwe.
Professor Mkandawire has published broadly on the social sciences in Africa and on problems of policy-making, adjustment and democratisation.
He has recently served on the executive committees of the International Institute for Labour Studies, the Swedish NGO Fund for Human Rights, the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) of the International Social Science Council, Care International, the Steering Committee of the UNU Project on Intellectual History, and the African Gender Institute