Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Door Prize

Joaquim Chissano won the very first Mo Ibrahim Prize, announced Monday. Chissano was President of Mozambique from 1986 until 2005:
At a ceremony in London, a panel headed by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general, announced Mr Chissano as the first winner of the Mo Ibrahim Prize, funded by Mohammed Ibrahim, a Sudanese telecommunications billionaire, to promote good governance in Africa.

The former guerrilla, who fought the colonial Portuguese regime in Mozambique before becoming president in 1986, will receive annual instalments totalling $5 million (£2.5 million) over 10 years and then $200,000 per year for life.
While Mr Chissano's record in government was praised, Mr Annan made clear that the choice was just as much about the way he left office
In other words, he went peacefully.

Tim Worstall points out that the New York Times and Transparency International have documented a somewhat different view of Chissano's record.

The Daily Telegraph article concludes with the observation that "the sum awarded is peanuts compared to the sums Africa's most corrupt leaders have skimmed from their countries." That's true, and that makes Chissano's decision to walk out the door of power rather than follow the typical method of departure in the region, feet first on a stretcher, all the more refreshing.

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