Senegal Law Makers: Puppet Custodians of Democracy

Saturday, August 02, 2008 

SenegalOrdinary Africans cringe anytime law makers they entrust their hope and future abandon their trusteeship duties for political crumbs.

Senegalese Members of Parliament voted to amend the constitution to extend the presidential term from five to seven years amidst opposition from many Senegalese. The government has flouted the constitution by modifying an aspect that can only be amended through a referendum.

There have been several changes to Senegal’s constitution in recent years and some local analysts claim the move is to prepare the ground for the Presidents’ son to be able to succeed his father. Far from establishing a monarchy, similar instances of what is plain legal plunder have played out in Nigeria, when former President Obasanjo wanted MPs to extend his mandatory two term limits, or in Uganda where President Museveni succeeded a third term bid by bribing MPs, in Cameroon where Paul Biya did similar and now Senegal’s Abdulai Wade, a so-called champion of Africa’s renaissance.  But they all seem to have drawn inspiration from former Tanzania’s President, Benjamin Mkapa who in 2005 urged Africans to adopt their own form of democracy, a suggestion he vowed to stand by even when this editor challenged him.

You can read exchanges between this editor and former President Mkapa here.