The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

African Constitutions and Elections

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on November 13, 2020 13:31

4 users

Constitutions are precious, but only if they live in the hearts, and political institutions of a country. African elections make one wonder if we are not reverting to the "might is right" dark ages.

In 1821, the American Colonization Society establishing a settlement for freed slaves in Liberia, and by 1847 it declared its independence under a Constitution and flag modeled on that of the United States. This constitution was amended several times, eventually allowing for a Presidential term of eight years.

Flag of Liberia. Wikipedia Public Domain

In 1980, Master Sergeant Samuel Doe overthrew the government of President Tolbert in a military coup. A public trial found most of the Cabinet guilty of corruption. They were executed in public.

The People's Redemption Council drafted a new Constitution, again using the United States Constitution as model, and called for elections. Before the elections Doe, posing as an enlightened leader, publicly declared that, if he lost the elections, he would not hand over power and that the army would stage another coup. He claimed to have won 51% of the votes, but widespread fraud was alleged, and many opponents were killed. In September 1990, President Doe was captured by rebel forces under Charles Taylor, accused of corruption, tortured and executed.

Guinea incumbent President Alpha Condé, having had the Constitution amended in March 2020 to stand for a third term, won 59.5% of the popular vote in October 2020. Many people died in election-related violence. Opponsition candidate Cellou Diallo, alleging wide-spread fraud, was going to refer the results to the constitutional court, without great expectations. Since then up to 130 people, including many opposition leaders, were rounded up by police. Condé stated: "We are going to start putting things in order, there will be no more disorder in Guinea."

Women fishing in Eastern Guinea. Photo Julein Harneis/Wikipedia CC-BY SA 2.0

Tundu Lissa, leader of the main opposition in the recent Tanzanian elections, left for Belgium after first seeking asylum at the German Embassy. He claimed widespread voter intimidation and corruption, but feared for his life after incumbent John Mangafuli won by 84%.

Thousands fled Cote d'Ivoire as violence built up during the October 31 elections. Incumbent President Ouattara claimed victory with 94.27%, standing for a third term after the constitution was amended.

Largest church in the world, built by Ivoirean President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, in Yamoussoukrou before his death. Wikipedia CC BY-SA 4.0

Ugandan Presidential challenger Bobi Wine and dozens of supporters were arrested as the pop singer registered his candidature for upcoming Presidential elections. Incumbent Yoweri Museveni has been in power for 35 years.

Fertile Central Uganda, where Museveni fought a war against his predecessor. Photo Dan Frendin/Wikipedia CC-BY SA 4.0

And in Seychelles incoming President Wavel Ramkalawan was inaugurated on 27 October, calling for national unity and promising to abide by the Constitution. He thanked outgoing President Danny Faure: "… I hope that the example that my brother Danny and myself are displaying, will extend deeper into the villages in our country." As the incoming Ministers conduct familiarization visits the island country received an award as the Indian Ocean's Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination.

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on November 13, 2020 13:31

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: HuffPost
10

Meanwhile, her boss has suggested delaying the upcoming U.S. elections, calling them the "greatest election disaster in history"...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest