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African leaders who cling to power invite unnecessary coups – Annan

20 April 2016, 16:27

Addis Ababa - Former United Nations general secretary Kofi Annan has slammed African leaders who cling on to power after their terms of office end, saying they invite unnecessary coups, Premium Times reported.

Speaking at the 5th Tana High Level Forum on Security in Africa, Annan said African leaders should open up space for opposing views in order to enhance democracy on the continent.

"If a leader doesn't want to leave office, if a leader stays on for too long, and elections are seen as being gamed to suit a leader and he stays term after term after term, the tendency may be the only way to get him out is through a coup or people taking to the streets. Neither approach can be seen as an alternative to democracy, to elections or to parliamentary rule," Annan was quoted saying.

Annan’s remarks came amidst tensions in some African countries, with some leaders unconstitutionally extending their terms in office.

Reports indicated that a humanitarian crisis started in Burundi after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a controversial third term, which he went on to win in July.

The east African country has since been locked in a war between opposition forces and the government.

Meanwhile, in the Republic of Congo, at least 30 people were killed in the south eastern Pool region early this month after government forces dropped bombs on opposition territories within residential areas.

A previous News 24 report indicated that violent protests began in the country's capital Brazzaville after long-time President Dennis Sassou Nguesso won the March 20 presidential elections.

According to the opposition, the elections were marred by fraud and ballot irregularities.

Tensions also remained high in the Democratic Republic of Congo after President Joseph Kabila's opponents accused him of trying to stay in office beyond the end of his second and final elected term in December.

The 44-year-old president took power in 2001 when his father was assassinated and won disputed elections in 2006 and 2011.

- News 24


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