President Barack Obama called on African leaders Tuesday to step aside when their term is up, just as he plans to do at the end of his second term. But, he added, he thinks he could win a third term if he ran.
“Under our Constitution, I cannot run again,” Obama said during his remarks to the African Union meeting in Ethiopia. “I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran I could win. But I can’t. So there is a lot I’d like to do to keep America moving. But the law is the law, and no one person is above the law, not even the president.”
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m looking forward to life after being president,” Obama added. “I won’t have such a big security detail all the time. It means I can go take a walk. I can spend time with my family. I can find other ways to serve. I can visit Africa more often.”
Obama covered several topics in his address to the Africa Union, where he said the continent is “on the move” economically, but must improve in areas of human rights, democracy, education and to “end the cancer of corruption.”
Obama is the first American president to speak to the 54-member African Union.
Obama explained that Africa’s democratic progress is at risk when leaders refuse to step aside when their term has ended.
“I don’t understand why people want to stay so long, especially when they’ve got a lot of money,” Obama said to cheers and laughter from the audience. “When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife.”
“Sometimes you will hear a leader say, 'Well, I’m the only person who can hold this nation together,'” Obama continued. “If that is true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation. Look at Nelson Mandela, like George Washington, forged a lasting legacy not only by what they did in office but because they were willing to leave office and transfer power peacefully.”
"Nobody should be president for life," he added.