For most African presidents, the process of apologizing after high-profile missteps can seem to take as long as a tortoise walking a mile. But the out going president of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika has offered an apology to the Algerian people.
As a result, the mass protests
Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Wednesday offered his “apologies” to the Algerian people in a letter published by state
“I leave the political stage without sadness or fear for the future of our country,” Bouteflika said in the letter released by the APS news agency, urging Algerians “to stay united, never divide yourselves.”The 82-year-old stepped down Tuesday night under pressure from protesters and the army.
He acknowledged that some of his actions as president were less than successful, writing: “I ask your forgiveness for any failing toward you.” Bouteflika says he hopes Algeria’s new leaders take the
He says women and young people, who led the protest movement that pressured him out of office, are “the beating heart of our nation” and deserve special attention.
Now that’s a first from a
Many political observers and fellow Zimbabweans had held their breaths expecting
Hissène Habré, a former president of Chad, never came close to apologising for his misrule, but, instead took an opportunity given him at his trail to denounce his trail as a farce staged by “African traitors” and “servants of America.” What if he had apologised to his people?
Habré, who led a brutal government from 1982 to 1990, might have expected to live out his days peacefully in exile in Senegal. But he was not forgotten by his victims and the human rights groups that campaigned for nearly two decades to bring him to justice.
These are just but a few examples. Africa is littered with Presidents who preside over corrupt and brutal governments and even when forced to step down they never see their wrongs and as such never apologise. At times all the people need is a sincere apology.
The relative speed and decisiveness with which Bouteflika acted
Indeed, for presidents, apologizing isn’t as simple as saying “I’m sorry.” At a complex institution like government, a sincere apology can only come after a process of gathering information and weighing risks to the nation, according to experts who have been in crisis war rooms. That process is under strain in a world where rapid societal changes collide on a nation’s streets where citizens have a louder voice than ever because of social media.
Sometimes, highly corrupt and repressive leaders have a difficult time looking beyond their tried-and-true playbooks, which might not apply to a particular situation and might not include apologizing. Other times, top brass can’t look beyond their own ego.
But something drove Bouteflika to offer that apology the million dollar question is whether the Algerian people have accepted the apology and if they forgive him.
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