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What limits? How African American leaders cling to power for decades

Last updated on October 18, 2019

Guinea surfaced in protest this week on suggestions to draft a new constitution that will enable President Alpha Conde to expand his lawful mandate and operate for a third semester in 2020.

If Conde attempts to remain, he’d be copying from a recognized playbook in Africa, in which incumbent presidents have hunted, often successfully, to stay in power by massaging, bending or breaking laws frequently supposed to guarantee democratic handovers of power.

Below are details on how some Africa’s longest-serving leaders have been able to remain in power, or are attempting to accomplish this, denting hopes of some sunrise of democracy throughout the area.

Nkurunziza, in strength since 2005, declared in 2015 he’d run for a third semester in exactly what his competitors saw as a violation of this constitution that only permitted leaders to rule for 2 terms. Considering his re-election, countless Burundians have been killed in clashes with security forces and half a million have fled overseas.

A referendum in May 2018 overwhelmingly accepted changes that prolonged the number of presidential terms to seven decades. Under the constitution, Nkurunziza has become able to serve a further two terms, possibly extending his rule until 2034. The opposition rejected the outcome and that the USA said the process was marred by voter intimidation.

Biya, 86 and sub-Saharan Africa’s earliest pioneer, took on the presidency in 1982. The federal meeting adopted a constitutional bill on April 2008, eliminating a two-term presidential limitation allowing him to expand his rule beyond 2011. He’s won two elections because then opposition candidates have said were deceptive.

Deby has mastered Chad since coming to power following a 1990 coup. A 2005 referendum eliminated a two-term limitation in the constitution. Parliament approved a new constitution in 2018 reimposing the two-term limitation, but it won’t be applied retroactively, meaning Deby will serve two periods following another election in 2021, possibly ruling until 2033.

The president, a former army officer who seized power in a coup in 1999, won a referendum in 2018 to expand term limits and finish a method of rotating electricity one of the archipelago’s three chief islands off Africa’s east shore. The vote enabled him to operate for 2 year-terms. The resistance dismissed the referendum as prohibited.

The ministry at the Congo Republic has been changed by referendum in 2015, raising the age and term limits that could have excluded Nguesso from operating. He even won a brand new five-year term at a 2016 election, even though the opposition refused the result, alleging fraud. He’s ruled for all but five decades since 1979.

Lawmakers at Djibouti declared a constitutional amendment in 2010 that paved the way for Guelleh, in power since 1999, to operate for a third semester. He’s won two following elections.

Conde’s second and final five-year term expires in 2020, but the 81-year-old leader has refused to rule out working. In September asked his administration to check into creating a new constitution, raising concerns he would use it as a reset button on his presidency and operate again. Conde was initially chosen in 2010.

Ouattara, in power since 2010, has promised the adoption of a new constitution in 2016 would permit him to run for a third semester from the 2020 presidential race as a brand new constitution would signify the first two phrases didn’t count. He hasn’t yet said if he’ll endure for re-election.

In 2015, Rwandans voted to expand the ministry’s two-term limit. Under the changes, Kagame could seek out another seven-year duration and two five-year terms then, possibly remaining in power until 2034.

Kagame, who won a third term in 2017, has faced mounting criticism for exactly what human rights groups say are prevalent abuses, a muzzling of independent websites, and suppression of political resistance. He denies wrongdoing. He came to power in 2000.

** TOGO — President Faure Gnassingbe

Togo altered its constitution in 2019 to cap the presidential mandate in two terms appear in reaction to opposition calls for an end to a political dynasty that began when Gnassingbe’s father seized power in a 1967 coup.

However it doesn’t take into consideration the 3 terms Gnassingbe has served as coming to power in 2005, the most recent of which finishes in 2020. Gnassingbe could, therefore, stay in power before 2030.

** UGANDA — President Yoweri Museveni

Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986. A term-limiting clause which could have prevented him from looking re-election was deleted by the constitution in 2005.

In 2017, lawmakers voted to eliminate a constitutional limit on the time of presidential candidates, paving the way for 75-year-old Museveni to stand in the 2021 election.