Politics Buhari, 2 Other African Presidents That Frequent Abroad For Medical Treatments



President Muhammadu Buhari and his Angola and Zimbabwe counterparts are main African rulers spending weeks abroad seeking medical attention.

The presidents wield considerable power, and their absence has stoked investor uncertainty and stirred talk about succession.

“The situation hasn’t been helped by their governments’ failure to disclose what’s wrong with them”, Bloomberg Africa say.

A healthy democracy like Nigeria now has institutions which function well when the president is ill. In less transparent countries like Angola or Zimbabwe, leadership changes can prove so unpredictable that some investors are deterred from investing at all.”

Here’s a summary of the three leaders’ medical problems and what’s likely to happen if they go:

President Muhammadu Buhari

A former military ruler, Buhari, 74, took power in elections two years ago. He spent seven weeks in the U.K. between January and March receiving medical care for an undisclosed ailment, and returned there earlier this month for further treatment. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, 60, has been running the country in his absence. The prospect of Osinbajo, a Christian, serving out the remaining two years of Muslim Buhari’s term should he be unable to continue in office may stoke sectarian tension due to an unwritten agreement among the nation’s political elite to rotate the presidency between the mostly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.


Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos

Dos Santos, 74, has held power since 1979, making him Africa’s second-longest serving leader after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. He’s spent most of this month in Spain on a private visit that Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti confirmed was taken for medical reasons, before returning to Angola on Monday. Dos Santos is due to step down after Aug. 23 elections, and the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola has named Defense Minister Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco as its candidate to replace him.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

Mugabe, 93, has held power since 1980 and is the world’s oldest serving ruler. Mugabe and his aides have said he’s as “fit as a fiddle,” but he’s visibly frail and has traveled frequently to Singapore to undergo medical treatment. The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, or Zanu-PF, insists Mugabe will be its presidential candidate in next year’s elections.

Culled From Bloomberg