- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

President Obama Tuesday chided African leaders who refuse to leave office after their terms end, saying he himself could win a third term in the U.S. but is looking forward to walking away from the White House.

“Under our Constitution, I cannot run again,” Mr. Obama told a gathering of the African Union in Ethiopia. “I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran again, I could win. But I can’t. The law is the law. And no one person is above the law, not even the president.”

In a dig at the corruption that is rampant in many African nations, Mr. Obama added, “Nobody should be president for life. I don’t understand why people want to stay so long — especially when they’ve got a lot of money.”

The comment drew enthusiastic applause and cheers from the representatives of the 54-nation alliance.

Mr. Obama also said Ethiopia “cannot unleash the full potential of its people” if it jails journalists and restricts legitimate opposition groups.

The president is wrapping up his five-day, two-nation tour of eastern Africa that also took him to Kenya, the birthplace of his father.

Mr. Obama said when a leader stays in office too long, “it risks instability in strife, as we’ve seen in Burundi.” He compared the late South African leader Nelson Mandela with George Washington, saying both men set examples by leaving office voluntarily and transferring power peacefully.

“I am in my second term. I love my work,” Mr. Obama said. “I’m still a pretty young man, but I know that somebody with new energy and new insights will be good for my country. I’ll be honest with you, I’m looking forward to life after being president.”

In his lengthy address, Mr. Obama also spoke of the need to combat terrorist groups in Africa such as Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab, and for democracies to empower women and girls.


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