Former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano has been named as the winner of the five million dollar inaugural Mo Ibrahim prize for African leadership.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who chairs the six member prize committee made this announcement in London yesterday Monday 22nd October in the presence of African diplomats, civil society representatives and the media.
Reading from the citation Annan paid tribute to Chissano’s “role in leading Mozambique from conflict to peace and democracy”, adding that this is “his most outstanding contribution.”
Annan further stated that “It is a measure of the change that has taken place that national and regional elections have been contested in a generally peaceful manner by both sides in the bitter civil war,” noting that “This remarkable reconciliation between opponents provides a shining example to the rest of the world, and is testament to both his strength of character and his leadership.”
The former UN Secretary General praised President Chissano’s “contribution outside his country’s borders,” saying “He was a powerful voice for Africa on the international stage and played an important role in pushing debt relief up the agenda.”
Chissano who ruled Mozambique from 1986 to 2003 after the death of Samora Machel was chosen from among 13 African leaders who had left office between 2004 and 2006.
President Chissano gets “US$5 million over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter” and “Up to US$200,000 a year for 10 years towards (his) public interest activities and good causes”
Kofi Annan stated that “the Prize celebrates more than just good governance. It celebrates leadership. The ability to formulate a vision and to convince others of that vision; and the skill of giving courage to society to accept difficult changes in order to make possible a longer term aspiration for a better, fairer future.”