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Should there be presidential age limit?

Africa HYS team | 13:20 UK time, Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Are Africa's leaders too old?

Africa's oldest head of state President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (Reuters)

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is 87 years old and has been in power since 1980 

Cameroon's ruling party, the People's Democratic Movement is expected to nominate President Paul Biya as its presidential candidate for next month's elections, despite criticism from some quarters that he has been in power for too long.

At the age of 78, he is one of the oldest leaders on the continent.  The average age of Africa's presidents is around 70. Why are so many African leaders over the average retirement age? Does the age of your head of state really matter?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 14 September at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.





  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    yes it should be.the average mark@ 70 is o k for the government to impose it as a rule of law, in the continent.any leaders that is 70 or approaching 70 should give power he/she need to rest period, because you cannot cheat nature.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think the age of 65 years should be the limit. Until the Actuarist, psychologist and medical doctors can provide evidence to support that the person who is over 65 could be of sound mind then, I stand by the age of 65 years old.

  • Comment number 4.

    Permit me to say that the only reason we have these PENSIONERS ruling African is GREED. They have all pass their SELL by dates or may be I should say RULE by dates whilst plunging their respective countries into needless debts, there by loosing track of time and vision.

  • Comment number 5.

    An age limit of 65 should be imposed simply because we are now living in a fast changing world while the marjority of old leaders choose to remain stuck in the past century with outdated ideas, especially when it comes to dealing with the rapidly changing international political arena.

  • Comment number 6.

    WE the africans are greedy to our self ones we have the oppotunity to the kate of success we never wanted to open the door for enybody only the head of cockroch can be so much greedy lets ours be fact we should thing about the leaders of tomorrow the are the key of the crises.african leaders never thing about the youths of their responsibility.

  • Comment number 7.

    Given the rigorous schedule and demands on most heads of states, the cutoff age should be 70. Besides the minimum age of 35, there is no age limit for US president for example. And we have all seen how quickly past and current US presidents age after 1-2 yrs in office. 1/2

  • Comment number 8.

    Unlike African presidents who typically go in to enrich themselves and their families , US presidents tend to have the weight of the whole world on them. Which might explain why they age so quickly. 2/2

  • Comment number 9.

    many african leader is diktator so they have no choice but keep rullin the contry how lon they wont and the west can"t do ntting about this

  • Comment number 10.

    No, as long as the candidate doesn’t look way too old to be running for president. And secondly, we will not be having this conversation if it weren’t for people like Robert Mugabe or Paul Biya, who have brought down the value of their country for clinging to power way too long while ignoring any meaningful political reforms. Extended stay, not age, is the problem across the continent.

  • Comment number 11.

    Restriction on or limitation of age is still discrimination. What is important is ensuring that the leadership produced from the elections has reflected the the true feelings and position of the electorate! And this is a right (not privilege) that we do not have in most countries of Africa.

  • Comment number 12.

    How old is the Queen , the head of the United Kingdom?
    because for me it does`t matter, an Head of state is an Heead of state.

  • Comment number 13.

    I think the limit can only be put into Law or the Constitution. Other than that I do not feel there is need to limit the age. In my country your must be 35 and above to qualify thats all. No upper age limit. We only need to ensure they leave unlike Comrades, Mugabe, Bongo, Gadaffi and the rest. President for life No way!

  • Comment number 14.

    'remember an ageing lioness can easily become maneater when it can nolonger hunt', whilst old age can be of great benefit to the african society becoz of the wisdom that comes with many years of experience it can or may i say it is being turned by self seeking ageing leaders against the people.

  • Comment number 15.

    This discussion is idiotic. An age limit on dictatorship? (And who is going to pass the law? The aging dictator?) How about focus on a real issue, like the lack of genuine democracy?

  • Comment number 16.

    The Age factor is secondary in Africa where Government Leades are not Elected by the People but Selected by Association or Tribal Choice mainly because of the lack of Institutional Government that Rules thru Check and Balance.What We Africans should fight is to abolish the root causes of the problem of Governing and to strive to form Governments of the People, with the People for the People.

  • Comment number 17.

    And this explains why the country of those aged presidents are poorly governed! President Biya, for example and like other old presidents in the continent is always abroad for medical attention leaving the country in the hands of people who are embezzling state funds. With due respect to old people, but at 78, you are unproductive and just to unfit to govern a nation

  • Comment number 18.

    The west take advantage of old senail african president to work in their advantage. They are in power because of them. They would manepulate the constitution infront of their eyes and they would do nothing. Even if being a president africa is a "profession" there is no profession without retairment age. This is really an expression of gree!

  • Comment number 19.

    African leaders are noted for breaking their countries constitution for personal reasons. Hence even if there is age limit, they will manipulate the constitution to enable them stay in power for life.

  • Comment number 20.

    African leaders are too old to deal with the emerging global challenges. Just like the corporate world would retire people beyond a certain age, for legitimate reasons, the polical field must follow suit.

  • Comment number 21.

    People say age is only a number,but it's not.Age is progressive and retrogressive,in other words life has natural developmental stages within which certain activities are effective and non-effective.
    African continent having an average age of 70 as presidents and a president of 87years old in charge of a country is retrogressive.Africa needs vibrant leaders in their fourties and at most sixties.

  • Comment number 22.

    Ronald Reagon was 69 when first elected. Jiang Zemin of China was 63 (i believe) when he led. And if Football is anything to go buy...Sir Alex ferguson is hitting 70. So not sure its totally a matter of age.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Yes there should be a limitation of age to 75 years, then you leave a chance for young people to come up also, not this system of dying over power,particularly in Africa Continents, if not by force people can not step down, and they can not even accept defeat, nor democracy. We must to have age limits if possible.

  • Comment number 25.

    The age limit should be 60 years. If you look at most of these aged African leaders, they have remarried young wives who pressurised them to still stay in power. In fact they have retired from retirement to appease thier young, vibrant wives to show that they are still young. I suggest the age limit should clearly be stipulated in the constitution.

  • Comment number 26.

    Age is not the problem.The person and the system in place is.Cameroon is stable not because of Paul Biya but because Cameroonians are a peaceful people.

  • Comment number 27.

    No,because that would be decrimination on the basis of age.What is more neccessary true democracy devoid of patronage, intrigue and corruption.Try democracy that is a representative of the views and aspirations of the electrolate will naturally weed out the weaklings including those who are too old to perform.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    I would not support any age limit as long as the candidate is ready to obey the rule of law and is ready to solve the country's problem, its just unfortunate that most f our leaders African leaders) have failed us the have stolen our money, they are corrupt and don't obey the rule of law.

  • Comment number 30.

    You can not cheat nature, because at the age of 70 is too much. we still have young and talented young men that is more educated and strong to rule. A man of 70 is of no use to rule the country as a president. Africans have a long way to go, May God hlep us.

  • Comment number 31.

    I personally think the max age for any African Head of state should be 65. Most of this Head of State as still in power purely because of greed

  • Comment number 32.

    Why should a person be in power up to 75 years of age. Is he/she capable of making decisions and making a follow-up to see they are implemented. How strong are they physically to see these things done? I suggest the age limit should be 65 otherwise proven beyond doubts by Psychiatrist that this person or president can continue to 70 years full stop. [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 33.

    Think,this is why Africans have been living in the dark.The age gap between African and European leaders are so great.The youth / young adult are been push to take only youth wings positions in political parties.Likewise Africans have the notion that it is a job for retired civil servant or end point to icing their wealth.Electorate, these old brains should be fired because they are tired.

  • Comment number 34.

    It should be because this can give good governance in the World and rule of law,
    it gives chance also to people who can manage the World in harmony and in good faith,power share has been become another grievance in many nations of the World.


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