GHANA’S President Nana Akufo-Addo on Wednesday promised to respect his country’s two-term limit and said he would urge peers in West Africa to do the same after some extended their time in office by introducing new constitutions.
Guinea’s Alpha Conde and Ivory Coast’s Alassane Ouattara, both won re-election to previously outlawed third terms last year amid violent protests after changing their countries’ constitutions, enabling them to reset their mandates.
Conde was then ousted in September in a coup, one of several to shake the region since last year.
“Good governance should and must imperatively exclude political manoeuvres to maintain power beyond constitutional requirements,” Akufo-Addo told a forum on democracy in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
“Let us all be aware that, beyond that, the marriage between the electorate and the elected becomes forced.”
Akufo-Addo, who is the acting chair of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said the bloc was working on new rules that would safeguard against extensions of term limits.
Ghana is considered one of West Africa’s most stable democracies. Akufo-Addo, who won re-election to a second term last year, pledged to respect his country’s constitution.
“I’ll hand over power to the next elected president on Jan. 7, 2025, and I will rally my fellow ECOWAS heads of state to take the pledge,” he said.
Pro-democracy activists fear that Ouattara and Conde’s actions, which ECOWAS never addressed officially, could encourage other regional leaders to try the same.
In Senegal, President Macky Sall has recently refused to rule out standing in 2024 following a 2016 constitutional reform that opponents fear he could use to justify a third-term bid.
In Gambia, newly re-elected President Adama Barrow said on Tuesday that a new constitution would introduce presidential term limits, but he did not say whether he would seek additional mandates after two terms.