By: Foday Manneh
A top Senegalese human rights defender has sent cautionary statements to the leaders of his native Senegal, Togo, and Ivory Coast to abandon their third-term office bids saying any efforts to change Constitutions are a recipe for disaster.
Speaking at the Banjul human rights conference, the prominent Senegalese human rights defender and lawyer Dr. Ibrahim Kane says African leaders engaged in amending constitutions to stay in power for more than two terms are the agents of conflict and crisis in the continent.
During the event on the margins of the 73rd African Commission on Human and People’s Rights session in Banjul, The Gambia, Human rights Activists cautioned Senegal, Togo, and Ivory Coast against their failure to respect term limits.
Recently, the three West African countries have tampered with their constitutions which guaranteed term re-elections. They rejected a regional amendment to the supplementary protocol on good governance and democracy, which would have required all AU member states to introduce and respect term limits in their constitutions.
“For example, Macky Sall served seven years as a President, but he is now trying to change the constitution, providing that he is strengthening it while changing some wording to get himself a third term. This is what leads to chaos.” Dr. Kane lamented.
Kane added that the unending conflicts, coups, and wars in Africa are suppressing human and people’s rights in the interest of ignorant leaders who want to remain in power beyond their laws.
“Political tensions will remain high, vulnerability to threats of terrorism, and phenomena of rights violations remain firmly entrenched.” the Lawyer cum right activist added.
However, to overcome these threats to stability and good governance, primarily occurring in the Francophone countries, the gathering reaffirmed their commitment to elevate and better the lives of Africans through strengthening human rights, good governance, transparency, accountability, and people-centered democracy in the continent.