“We have term limits, they’re called elections.”
So goes one argument, famously paraphrased by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe for an African Union summit: “It is a democracy. If people want a leader to continue, let him continue.”
“All over the world,” Owen Bennett-Jones writes at BBC.com, “leaders…are reluctant to give up power.” He points to a number of cases, mainly in nations struggling for democratic stability:
- “The most striking current example,” according to Bennett-Jones, “is Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza who, amidst violent opposition, is campaigning for a third term in office despite the constitution saying he can only have two.” The president’s spokesman acknowledged, “ Nkurunziza indeed believes he is president by divine will.”
- In Burkina Faso, thousands clogged the streets after the 27-year presidential incumbent, Blaise Compaore, schemed to evade a constitutional term limit on his office. But facing unrelenting pressure, Compaore soon stepped down.
- Speaking about his campaign to have the parliament eliminate term limits so he can run for re-election, Ecuador’s socialist President Rafael Correa told reporters, “The easiest thing would be for me to retire in 2017 as one of the best presidents in our history, as the people refer to me.” Correa’s decision to reluctantly remain in power has sparked protests across the country.
It is easy to recognize the sad abuse of power by these “third world” strongmen. Yet, we are continually fighting politicians in “first world” America.
When will politicians ever learn?
When the people are organized enough to assert power over those politicians . . . in Ecuador . . . Burundi . . . and the good ol’ US of A.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.