Saturday, January 2, 2016

Senegalese President Macky Sall unilaterally reduces presidential term from 7 to 5 years

President Macky Sall of Senegal 
President Macky Sall of Senegal has announced the reduction of the presidential term from the current seven to five.

The unilateral decision will take effect immediately, preempting the need for a referendum as originally envisaged.

The decision also clears a huddle that parliamentarians were concerned about i.e the cost of conducting such an electoral exercise as well as ending what has been described as "confusion among politicians over the holding of the referendum".

The presidential decree means that the next presidential elections in Senegal will now take place in 2017 when Macky Sall will be seeking his second term,  Should he win, it will be his final term since he is term-limited,

The seven-year term has been constitutional limit since Senegal gained independence from France in 1960.  President Wade promised to reduce it to five during his 2000 presidential campaign but failed to fulfill the promise to the electorate.  That promise is now being fulfilled.

The decision will certainly be welcomed across the continent in general and among President Macky Sall's colleagues in the ECOWAS region, all  but two of whom have agreed to presidential term limits in the 16-Member regional organization.

The United States and the European Union countries will also welcome the decision as a measure that can only strengthen Senegal's democracy which is already the pride of Africa.

Only The Gambia and Togo opposed the proposal - a proposal that enjoys ECOWAS-wide support, especially among ordinary citizens who are tired of dictatorships that have contributed in a significant measure to the general backwardness and lack of economic progress which usually accompanies the absence of democracy and the rule of law.

We hope colleagues of the Senegalese president in the region and across the continent will emulate him by committing themselves to term limits which are a sure and certain way of eliminating harsh and brutal dictatorship that countries, like The Gambia, under a 21-year dictatorship of Yaya Jammeh, are undergoing presently.