New study links African conflict to lack of term limits


This week, Chad’s parliament voted to introduce a new constitution that will allow two more terms for President Idriss Deby, who has led the country since 1990. On May 17, Burundians will vote on a constitutional amendment that would enable President Pierre Nkurunziza, president since 2005, to stay in office an additional 16 years. And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a worsening humanitarian crisis unfolds while President Joseph Kabila refuses to step down, despite reaching the end of his mandated time in office nearly 18 months ago. An analysis by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) earlier this year found that less than 40 percent of countries have enforced constitutional term limits, and leaders in just 15 countries have stepped down after two terms. An author of that study says the consequences can be severe. Joseph Siegle is the director of research at ACSS and worked on the report. He told VOA, “The lack of term limits has created these systems where populations cannot change their leaders through constitutional and established political means.”