..wants African Presidents not to exceed two terms in office
A movement to stop African Presidents from staying beyond constitutionally stipulated tenure, and to ensure effective implementation of democracy and good governance has emerged.
To this end, the African Risings for Justice, Peace and Dignity, a Non-Governmental Organisation mobilized some Civil Society Organisations in Africa, and sponsored the campaign in Cotonou, Benin Republic with a summit.
At the just concluded 2nd West African Summit for Democracy and Good Governance organized by UST Togo, Tournons La Page, Centre de Recherche sur l’État en Afrique – CREA, which was sponsored by Africans Rising, participants were drawn from 9 African countries and had various researchers and activists in attendance.
The 2nd sub-regional citizen summit had as its theme; “Strengthening of solidarity action by African CSOs for better governance practices and the effective application of Protocol of Democracy and Good Governance of ECOWAS”.
The summit which was organized to launch a special campaign for African Presidents not to serve beyond their second term in office, had President Patrice Talon of Benin in attendance, who was presented with a symbol which he used to declare his intentions of not going beyond the constitutionally mandated two terms.
President Talon also used the platform to invite his colleague African Presidents to heed to this campaign and act in the limit of their constitution.
On the opening day, the Representative of Africans Rising, Prince Akpah in his welcome speech noted that the summit was aimed to build solidarity among African CSOs and work together for the effective implementation of democracy and good governance of ECOWAS.
According to his speech made available to JATS ONLINE NEWSPAPERS by Ann Njagi, the Africans Rising Media Outreach Consultant, Prince Akpah noted that through grassroots engagements, Africans Rising has grown to become an organisation with the strength of over 30,000 members across the continent and in the diaspora.
His words: “We are all working together to build local, national, continental and global campaigns towards expanding justice, peace and dignity for all Africans wherever they live.
“Through our efforts over the past five years, Africans Rising has provided support to various members and organisations responding to political crises. We held solidarity missions in Togo, The Gambia and Zambia.
“When Guinea President Alpha Conde introduced a constitutional change that would allow him a third term in office, Africans Rising held an online solidarity convening to help Guinean leaders and citizens prevent their country from sliding back into dictatorship. While we did not see the outcome we wanted, we were able to put pressure on the Guinean government and shed an international spotlight on the situation in the country.
“In 2020, our #FreeThem campaign advocated for responsible decision-making from our African leaders to allow some of the people living at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 to be released from jails and prisons across the continent. As we faced the global pandemic, it was clear that living in a prison, many of which are unsanitary and barely habitable can be a death sentence. By the end of 2020, heeding the demands of African citizens, over 87,000 people living in detention facilities across Africa were released.
“Our movement also supports the African Creative Actions Network, a collective of artists and activists who use creative actions to hold African leaders accountable on issues of environment, political stability and transparent and fair elections. These are just a few of our activities in support of African activists and movements advocating for good governance.
“This year, in the month of May, we successfully concluded our Annual African Liberation Day celebration which engaged thousands of individuals and organisations across the continent and the diaspora. The many young Africans that took part in this mobilization testify to the fact that we as a people are educated on the issues affecting our communities and we are actively engaged in the work for our own liberation”.
Akpah, however, charged Africans, especially those within the ECOWAS bloc to employ the power of collective voices to demand that actions and authorities of their leaders are not used for selfish aims, but for the betterment of the entire citizenry.
“Let’s raise our voices as we demand that African leaders, especially those within the ECOWAS bloc, respect legal and constitutional terms of two mandate limits.
“As we are making this call, we also encourage young political office holders to set great examples by choosing not to cling to power or prioritize personal interests as leaders”, he added.