‘Presidency for life is over in Africa’

posted in: Africa, Afrique

[Paris, France (PANA) – The establishment of a civilian transition in Burkina Faso with the appointment of diplomat Michel Kafando as leader of the country should warn African leaders against the tendency of “president for life”.

It also puts an end to the seizure of power through constitutional amendment, Philippe Missamou, a lawyer and analyst of Franco-African relations, said in Paris.

“What happened in recent days in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) will have a domino effect on the rest of the continent. It is now clear that no African leader can seize power indefinitely. Impunity and life presidency are behind us,” the lawyer said in an interview.

Taking the example of Congo Brazzaville, Missamou warned against any attempt to amend the constitution, which would seriously undermine peace and stability in the country.

“I say loud and clear that any attempt by President Denis Sassou Nguesso to amend the Constitution by any means whatsoever is an adventure that will result in painful ordeals for Congolese people,” said the Parisian lawyer.

He said in Congo, as in Burkina Faso, the move against any constitutional amendment had far exceeded the scope of opposition political parties and had become “a citizen and civic action”.

“The objective here is to defend the interests of the people in Burkina as in Congo. If the ruling party is to persist in this way in Brazzaville, there would be violent demonstrations organized spontaneously by the people who are bent on paying the price it takes to put an end to the presidency for life,” Mr. Missamou added.

The Congolese Constitution which has been in force since 2002 limits presidents to two terms and the age limit of the candidates to 70 years.

“The Constitution was inspired by Denis Sassou himself. He must comply with it and step down in 2016. The time when an African president can easily change the Constitution of the country is over. Whoever has not understood that this time is over, will suffer the same fate as Blaise Compaoré (of Burkina Faso) who fled the country after 27 years in power,” the lawyer said.