Trending in Malawi: Video of Mo Ibrahim on aged leaders, ‘are youth crazy to choose old men for Presidents?’

A video clip of  renowned philanthropist, ​Mohammed Ibrahim,  famously known as Mo Ibrahim,  ​in which he  condemned the continued support for old and ailing people especially by the young people as leaders in Africa is circulating on social media amongst Malawians like fire in the dry bush.

He also condemned the sit-tight attitude of many African leaders while encouraging the youth to emulate happenings around the world where their peers are being voted in as leaders without any regard to their age.

Mo Ibrahim said this in a recent event which had  Rwandan President Paul Kagame,  retired Nigerian  president Olusegun Obasanjo, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa  and William Ruto on Kenya  on the same panel with him discussing Leadership for the African we want.

The video of the event has since gone viral, with social media users praising the old businessman for his candid appraisal of leadership in Africa.

said: “Please allow me to be frank, don’t take offence. I wish to start from where President Obasanjo stopped about age. You have been president for so long that’s why you are careful with words.

“You see people at 90 years and about to start new terms, you guys are crazy or what (he said referring to youths in attendance).

“We see people in wheelchairs unable to raise hands standing for election. This is a joke; you are free to laugh…the whole world already laughing at us.

“The US, the most important country in the world, like it or not…Obama who is half African anyway was 46, 47 years.

“If ​Obama was in Kenya, ​what would he be doing ? ​ He would ​be driving bus​ maybe.​

“And he was not youngest president. (Bill) Clinton and (JF) Kennedy were even younger.”

Mo Ibrahim whose foundation promotes good governance asked why bigger countries like the Americans entrust their economies with nuclear weapons and all resources to be in the hands of the 40-year-olds but in Africa “we only pick up people at 90 years old to lead us; to lead us where? To the grave?”

A Sudanese-British worked for several telecommunications companies, before founding Celtel.

After selling Celtel in 2005 for $3.4 billion, he set up the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to encourage better governance in Africa, as well as creating the Mo Ibrahim Index, to evaluate nations’ performance.

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Dipipi wa Yudiefu
The youth in Malawi have shown that they can’t be good enough in many ways. Examples that we have do not inspire at all. Look at the “ung’onoung’ono” Atupele’s behaviour. After fairing badly in the last election, he decided to join the same old grand fathers (running away from the ung’onoung’ono formular) in the name of helping to develop Malawi instead of going back to the drawing board to plan ahead more aggressively. Most of the cashgate thieves were/are the younger bracket of Malawi population. Lawyers, who are entangled in theft, members of parliament who are helping to pass stupid… Read more »

Koma abale magesi akwela kwambiri tilimba mutauni muno


The Malawian youth does not CHOOSE its president. Presidents here are chosen by their predecessors and by their political parties – all of whom are tired and corrupt OLD MEN

This is why I believe voter education is way to go for the masses. I don’t think Civics as a primary school subject is going deep enough (I hope Civics is still part of the curriculum at primary school). Come May Malawians will be voting for parties represented by their respective presidents and running mates. Nick, take it that if you vote for DPP you’re 100% voting for Peter Mutharika as president for the country. Similarly, if you vote for MCP, you’ll be voting for Chakwera as president. If you vote for UDF then you’ll be surely voting for Atupele… Read more »

Truth is at a certain age concentration and attention span greatly deteriorates, rest is the only viable thing. It’s the reason retirement age is not 70.

Phalghani Vwavwa

The root cause of all this is tribalism in many African countries. People vote on tribal lines rather than on merit. So we deserve all this mess in Africa


We’re not crazy. We’re stupid. That’s why we’ll vote for the same grandpa next year. Just wait and see.

This is nothing but the truth. It seems that Africa is really cursed. The avarage age of our Presidents is 65 and most of them are 70 yrs plus. We have many educated youth who can steer our economy to high heights but yet we prefer the grand Papas to be presidents and Minister of Finance as our situation stands right now in Malawi. The only thing that the youth are allowed to do is to paint themselves with the party colours and dance for these grand papas in exchange for K500 or K1000 if they are lucky. There are… Read more »

Our leader is too old to understand just simple things happening around him….we need gentlemen to lead our country not old grandpas.

Listen and Love

Like it or not, this is a timely advice for Malawian electorate. Come 21 May, 2019, no youth should cast a vote to presidential candidate who is over 60. Old presidents are a curse to Africa, not a blessing at all. Oldies only think of stealing from government, sleep on the job and frustrate the youth from realising their full potential in leadership positions. Malawi has learnt a bitter lesson by choosing oldies.

Only 6% of Malawi population is over 55 years; with 94% younger than 55. Most of our political leaders are over 55 years and yet we expect to take the youth into the new brave (digital) world. Mo Ibrahim is absolutely correct to get worried. Why is that the youth in Africa keep voting for old people. is it because of our culture which teaches of respect for elders from a young age and are encouraged not question status quo. It is this culture thats killing the continent especially Malawi. The youth in our country are just good at complaining… Read more »

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