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“Democracy is more than Just Holding Elections”: Obama warns on Africa leaders refusing to step down

US President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa on July 28, 2015BBC: US President Barack Obama has ended his visit to Africa by warning the continent will not advance if its leaders refuse to step down when their terms end.

"Nobody should be president for life," Mr Obama said.

He was speaking at the African Union's headquarters in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, the first time a sitting US president has addressed the body.

"I don't understand why people want to stay so long, especially when they have got a lot of money," he told the 54-member AU, an apparent criticism of African leaders who have done just that.  "Sometimes you will hear leaders say 'I'm the only person who can hold this nation together.' If that's true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation."

He said democracy was about more than just holding elections: "When journalists are put behind bars for doing their jobs or activists are threatened as governments crackdown on civil society then you may have democracy in name, but not in substance."

And he joked about his own chances of another term in office, which he is constitutionally barred from seeking. "I actually think I'm a pretty good president,'' he said. "I think if I ran, I could win. But I can't!" Read more



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