Third term in West Africa: after Condé and Ouattara, who is next?

Democracy, a political regime whose vitality is expressed above all through respect for the Constitution, the organization of free elections allowing for alternation at the top of the state is increasingly threatened in West Africa, with the wind of opportunistic revisions of the Basic Law by leaders to stay in power. In this anti-democratic momentum, Alpha Condé and Alassane Ouattara have just been at the top of the list. Whose turn will it be soon?

Despite protests, violence, and deaths, the Ivorian President, Alassane Ouattara, candidate for the third term of office, has organized the election on 31 October 2020. The results are expected on Tuesday. And Alassane Ouattara will simply be re-elected for another five years, just as Faure Gnassingbé has been re-elected without interruption since 2005 in Togo, just as his friend Alpha Condé who has just succeeded in his constitutional coup, winning his third term at 82 years.

After the vote, everything now seems to be over, except for the extraordinary. Alassane Ouattara will have his third mandate. At least, everything leads us to believe so, for the moment.

Moreover, to cut short all comments on this third term, Alassane Ouattara, leaving the polling station, got carried away in front of microphones and cameras: “Côte d’Ivoire is a young country, we want stability, we want to organize it. In Germany, Ms. Merkel is currently serving her fourth term. Why don’t you make it a problem? And in Italy, it’s the same thing; you must stop imposing Western standards on Africans. We are big enough to manage our countries, we do it according to our objectives. Côte d’Ivoire is a country that has come out of crisis and needs stability, and it is in the name of that stability that I personally agreed to do this mandate that I had given up, so I think that’s enough, thank you”.

Statements similar to those made by Alpha Condé, a few days earlier, in response to the reservations expressed by the European Union and France about his re-election: “We value our sovereignty, we value our independence, we will not accept orders from other countries. We don’t need to ask a country’s opinion on what we should do. The only one we need to ask for advice, the only advice that counts is the advice of the Guinean people. And we did the elections without any outside help. We have held the referendum, we have held the legislative and presidential elections without a single franc from outside. Because we don’t want people to interfere in our affairs anymore. But if they put in a little money, they get involved. So don’t be surprised by the behavior of certain States. But it doesn’t matter, we are going to continue to develop Guinea, and if it pleases God, Guinea will go very fast. Within a few years, Guinea will be the second power after Nigeria. This is what does not please everyone. But I am counting on you. You are the people’s army; remain the people’s army. It is in you that the people recognize themselves…,” replied the Guinean President.

With this Saturday’s vote, the carrots seem to be cooked. The third term is apparently over. This will bring to two countries in the West African sub-region where the third term will have flourished if Togo is not included. It is, therefore, no exaggeration to point out that democracy is dying its greatest death in West Africa.

After Condé and Ouattara, whose turn is it? One could legitimately ask. Because, “Never two without three”, as the saying goes.

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