Washington, DC, US (PANA) – The US has expressed concern at the plan by Congolese President Denis Sassou N’Guesso to amend his country’s constitution to allow him to run for a third term.
Ahead of next year’s presidential elections, the President has fixed a referendum on a new constitution for October 25, in what is widely believed will pave the way for him to circumvent existing term limits.
”As President (Barack) Obama stated in his address at the African Union, Nelson Mandela and George Washington ‘forged a lasting legacy not only because of what they did in office, but because they were willing to leave office and transfer power peacefully’,” the US State Department said in a statement.
Quoting the US President further, the statement said “when a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife – as we’ve seen in Burundi. And this is often just a first step down a perilous path”.
The US reiterated that regular, peaceful, democratic leadership transitions provide a dynamic and healthy mechanism for citizens to hold political leaders accountable for their governance and foster long-term stability.
”No democracy is well-served when its leader alters its constitution for personal or political gain,” it said.
Under the current constitution, President Sassou N’Guesso is not eligible to run next year, as he is already over the 70-year age limit, in addition to having done the constitutionally-mandated two terms.