Term limits and mainly their removal has been widely sought after in African politics. From 1990-2009, twenty-four presidents of varying countries attempted a constitutional amendment and twelve countries successfully removed term limits; while three countries rejected the proposals. The effects of Big Man Rule and the dire clinch for continuing power is ubiquitous with African Politics and the economy and people are the ever-increasingly traumatic victims. Poverty coupled with weak or non-existing institutions and ethnic imbalances further supplant the progression of African Society collective power.
Within the recent consciousness, we know of the Following: Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, President Mobutu of Congo, President Gadhafi of Libya, President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and President Isaias Afeworki of Eritrea. We, however, cannot ignore the history of African Societies being used as a pawn for Western resource thirst and more recently China Industry thirst. The effects of colonialism and neocolonialism haven’t halted; on the contrary, its efficiency of extracting resources have been shifted to multinational corporations, terms of trade and land grab institutes in collaboration through corrupt African elites.
The reality is that the indoctrination of firm term limits will disrupt the longevity of the Western and Chinese pawn dynamics as well as the engagement and integrity of the political systems. Support for term limits in my non-exhaustive analysis are Five-Pronged: Rotation of Leadership, Reduction of the Likelihood of Tyranny, Increased Participation in Politics, Promoted Efficiency in Effective Government Policy and reduction of the Big Man Convenient Western and Chinese resource siphoning rule. Generally speaking, term limits are supported especially by opposition parties as a clear mechanism for aspirations for ascending to power. It is also supported by moderates as a way to relieve the government of single self-serving interest candidates. Additionally, we have the support of term limits for authoritarian rulers including Zambia, Kenya, and Benin as a “protected mechanism” to portray democratic behavior; while being used a ploy for not resulted to unconstitutional means.
The Rotation of Leadership provides clear room for opportunities of “directional shifts” and/or “full circle” ruling. Simply on the basis that the ruled being ruled in turn allows for party alternation and thus creating shared regions of legitimacy for the democratic processes. Furthermore, alternation in effect sets the rule of gracious defeat and in turn, pulls African politics toward a democratic rule.
Reduction of Tyranny is crucial for the vibrancy of African Democracy. Term limits essentially, protect democracy from dictatorships by eliminating the ability for excessive and unrestrained power be it business collaboration or family permanence to foster. Term limits provide the trusting apparatus of the citizenry that the executive powers will not disregard democracy. In clear African terms, the greasing of hands for standard social rights is direct images of trickle-down modes of operation. Let us not forget that the support for term limits In African governments existed in the early 1990s as a historical rationale against elongated forms of rule. The contemporary violent ousting of rulers signifies the cry and belief of a better internal apparatus that is desperately needed.
Briefly, it is proven as a fact, that term limits increase the participation in politics. At the very least the image of a democracy that is open to new ideas, thrives on and respects rule of ascension will attract more of the same. Studies that have shown that a vibrant democracy aids in the continuation of new leaders point to this. However, the theoretically protected rule of law fosters an engaged citizenry and contributes directly to government performance and national satisfaction polling. Term limits also promote governmental effectiveness. African protests have repetitively pronounced that a syndrome of power applied deafness is apparent in elongated terms of office. The career politicians are increasingly out of touch with the people and their most salient concerns. The connections of representative and the represented are becoming distant and thus tensions of misunderstandings erupted. Fresh ideas from the political process are warranted and holistically deserved by the masses.
Term Limits are a key component for the Democratic rush to African Societies. Not only will it provide well-deserved mineral resource protections, engaged political government and fresh innovate ideas; it will clearly set a push for African Societies to be able to establish a well-thriving mean for the rule of law to be respected at the executive levels. Development is a continuing product especially in the widely diversified world of trade and geopolitics. Simply put African Nations endowed with this system of respected terms limits will collectively benefit not just internally but also in the International Scheme.
Altman, A. ―A Brief History of Term Limits,‖ in Time, Friday, October 2008, available online at http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1846988,00.html#ixzz0fv5yENQD
Asingo, P. ―The Political Economy of Transition in Kenya,‖ in W. Oyugi, P. Wanyande, and C. Odhiambo-Mbai (eds.), The Politics of Transition in Kenya: From KANU to NARC. Nairobi: Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2003.
Bratton, M., and R. Mattes. ―Support for Democracy in Africa: Intrinsic or Instrumental?‖ British Journal of Political Science, 31(3), 2001, pp. 447-
Bretton, H. L. The Rise and Fall of Kwame Nkrumah: A Study of Personal Rule in Africa. New York: Frederick Praeger, 1966
Cain, B. ―Term Limits: Not the Answer to What Ails Politics,‖ in E. Crane, R. and Pilon (eds.), The Politics and Law of Term Limits. Washington, DC: The CATO Institute, 1994
Collier, R. B. ―Parties, Coups and Authoritarian Rule: Patterns of Political Change in Tropical Africa,‖ Comparative Political Studies, 11(1), 1978, pp. 62-89
Greene, A. ―Checks and Balances in an Era of Presidential Law-making,‖ The University of Chicago Law Review, 61(1), Winter 1999, pp. 123-196.
Will, G. ―Term Limits,‖ in E. Crane and R. Pilon (eds.), The Politics and Law of Term Limits. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 1994.
Petracca, M. ―Restoring the University in Rotation: An Essay in Defense of Term Limitation,‖ in E. Crane and R. Pilon (eds.), The Politics and Law of Term Limits. Washington, DC: The CATO Institute, 1994.