ECOWAS leaders condemn third term bids of some colleagues


Some ECOWAS leaders have criticized the decision of some colleagues to run for third terms.

The concerns were expressed at a summit of leaders of the regional bloc in Niamey, the capital of Niger.

The comments follow decisions by Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara and Guinea’s President Alpha Condé to run for third terms in their respective countries despite protests.

There have been protests in Ivory Coast following President Ouattara’s decision to run for a third term following the sudden death of his preferred successor.

Ouattara’s U-turn on leaving office

The 76-year-old had announced that he would not be seeking a third term in office, saying he wanted the new generation to take over.

The man who was picked to run on the ticket of the ruling party, Prime Minister, Amadou Gon Coulibaly suddenly died after a cabinet meeting.

Ouattara then changed his mind and accepted his party’s decision to nominate him to run again.

The Ivorian leader said in a televised speech afterwards that “I have decided to respond favourably to the call of my fellow citizens. Given my previous promise, this decision represents a real sacrifice for me.”

The opposition has said that Ouattara’s decision to run again violates the two-term limit in the constitution.

Guinea leader relentless

Violent protests have also been witnessed in neighboring Guinea where 82-year-old President Condé is seeking a controversial third term in October.

Despite his age Conde said he is the best candidate for young people and women, hailing women particularly as important pillars in society.

The ruling party nominated Conde following the passage of a new constitution that now allows him to extend his rule.

A referendum to change the constitution sparked protests that led to several deaths.

His critics said the change of the constitution was to ensure that Conde runs again as President.

Buhari condemns colleagues

At the summit Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari asked West African leaders to stick to their constitutional term limits.

Eight heads of state, including the presidents of Ghana, Senegal and Burkina Faso were present at the summit which also discussed the ongoing political crisis in Mali.

The ECOWAS leaders called for a swift transition to civilian rule in the country following the August 18 military coup.

The regional bloc has already imposed sanctions on Mali and asked for elections to take place within a year.