By John Chimunhu|
United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has warned African leaders against tampering with constitutions and other laws in order to extend their terms of office.
Ki-moon did not mention D.R. Congo’s Joseph Kabila or Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe by name but diplomats said the sharp rebuke was mean’t for them.
“People around the world have expressed concern about leaders who refuse to leave office when their terms end. I share those concerns. Undemocratic constitutional changes and legal loopholes should never be used to cling to power,” Ban told leaders at the start of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Friday. “I urge all leaders, in Africa and around the world, to listen to your people. Modern leaders cannot afford to ignore the wishes and aspirations of those they represent.”
Mugabe, 90, in power since 1980, used constitutional changes agreed by the opposition MDC in 2013 to allow himself to contest two more five-year terms, ending in 2013.
Kabila murdered 42 protesters recently when they rebelled against proposed legislative changes aimed at extending his 14-year reign of terror. The new law stated that a fresh population census, conducted at Kabila’s own pace, should precede the next election. A watered down version of the law was eventually passed and elections are now due in 2016 as scheduled.
Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaore was toppled in October 2014 as MPs prepared to vote to allow him to contest elections. Compaore came to power through a coup in 1987.
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