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Author Topic: Study Links African Conflict to Lack of Term Limits  (Read 11305 times)

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Offline yungcrux

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Study Links African Conflict to Lack of Term Limits
« on: May 04, 2018, 12:54:17 AM »

This week, Chad’s parliament voted to introduce a new constitution that will allow two more terms for President Idriss Deby, who has led the country since 1990. On May 17, Burundians will vote on a constitutional amendment that would enable President Pierre Nkurunziza, president since 2005, to stay in office an additional 16 years.

And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a worsening humanitarian crisis unfolds while President Joseph Kabila refuses to step down, despite reaching the end of his mandated time in office nearly 18 months ago.

An analysis by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) earlier this year found that less than 40 percent of countries have enforced constitutional term limits, and leaders in just 15 countries have stepped down after two terms.

An author of that study says the consequences can be severe.

Joseph Siegle is the director of research at ACSS and worked on the report. He told VOA, “The lack of term limits has created these systems where populations cannot change their leaders through constitutional and established political means.”

“It leaves fewer options of using the political process to make those changes and leads to justification for violent alternative measures to be taken,” he added. The connection between term limits and conflict reflects the source of political violence in Africa. “Most of the conflicts in Africa are the result of political crises,” Siegle said.

Those include conflicts in the DRC, where Kabila has refused to organize new elections, and in South Sudan, where President Salva Kiir has clung to power in the face of a violent uprising.

Africa has seen a succession of historic transfers of power in recent months, including handovers in Angola, Gambia and Zimbabwe. But none of those countries has had leaders step down at the end of a mandated term. In Angola, president Jose Eduardo Santos had been in power 38 years; in Zimbabwe, president Robert Mugabe had ruled for 37.

Two of those men’s contemporaries remain in office: Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, currently in his 39th year as president, and Paul Biya of Cameroon, in power 35 years.


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