Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, center foreground, arrives for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit, held on the eve of the heads of state meeting of the African Union summit, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. The threat posed by Boko Haram, Nigeria’s Islamic extremist rebels, will be a focus of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he attends the African Union heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a spokesman said. (AP Photo/Elias Asmare)
(GIN)—It’s election time in nearly a dozen African countries, and the wish of some leaders to fiddle with the constitution and have a forbidden third term in office is sending tremors through the fragile states involved.
Ten elections are coming up this year—among them Nigeria, Burundi, Togo, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo—and the African Union should be a backstop for free and fair polls, said Yves Niyiragira, co-editor of the AU Monitor and a fellow at Fehamu, a pan-African umbrella organization for movements that focus on social justice.
“We are observing a trend where sitting heads of states and government are either attempting to change constitutions or attempting to extend their term of limit in many countries,” Niyiragira said. “The attempt was done in Burkina Faso. It did not succeed.
“There are attempts to do so in many countries, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Congo, Benin, Sierra Leone and many others which are going that route.”