Africa

Africa: Term limits topic A at intl lawmakers meeting

As some African leaders seek to extend decades in power, parliamentarians' meeting considers how to halt that trend

Ekip   | 19.12.2016
Africa: Term limits topic A at intl lawmakers meeting

Kenya

By Magdalene Mukami

NAIROBI, Kenya

As presidents of some African nations make bids to extend their decades in power, officials of over 100 nations meeting in Kenya talked about ways to arrest that trend.

Gathering in the capital Nairobi, parliamentarians from 79 countries from the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions and 27 from the European Union Monday had their minds on constitutional limits on presidential terms.

“I personally…and my colleagues here are concerned about the unfortunate turn of events in my own country the Gambia, following presidential elections held on Dec. 4, 2016,” Gambia’s Netty Baldeh, co-president of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, told the meeting, recounting how the country’s leader for 22 years, President Yahya Jammeh, rejected the verdict of voters after losing to businessman Adama Barrow.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Baldeh made a special call to West African leaders, saying, “I hope that with assistance from heads of state from the region the situation will be resolved peacefully to avoid the loss of life and political instability in my country.”

The Kenya Parliamentary Service Commission also said delegates at the international conference would strongly consider the imposition of term limits.

"There is strong international and domestic support for presidential term limits, and it would make for interesting debate at the ACP-EU plenary," said Joyce Laboso, head of the Kenyan delegation to the gathering.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who officially opened the gathering, also called on the legislators attending the conference to ensure that global trade rules favor developing countries.

“It is increased investment in the developing countries that will create the jobs for our young populations, prosperity for our countries, and generate the revenues our governments need to give a helping hand to the most vulnerable,” said Kenyatta.

Touching on another burning issue, the refugee crisis, Kenyatta said that as long as the present economic and geopolitical conditions persist, the world will continue to see Africans drowning in the Mediterranean as they desperately seek opportunity in northern countries.

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