Interview. The political science lecturer at Abomey-Calavi University has carefully studied Benin’s democracy, which is far more absurd than it seems.
C’It is the former Minister of Justice of Benin. He received us at his home in an alley in the town of Karawei near Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin, in the morning of April this year. The large table occupies the first part of the space, the computer can be opened well, but the first thing that attracts people’s attention is the book. They are everywhere, covering all topics. This person clearly knows the location of each of them, and did not hesitate to delve into his gold mine throughout the interview, just to support his words. This intellectual is counted in the political environment of Benin. He applied for the top position in 2011 during the Minister of Justice under the auspices of former President Thomas Boni Yayi. In the last presidential election in 2016, after condemning the candidatures of businessmen Sébastien Ajavon (Sébastien Ajavon) and Patrice Talon (Patrice Talon), he participated in the political dialogue of hope by the incumbent The President proposed in 2019 and led to the adoption of several reforms that continue to confuse Benin’s democratic model. In the corner of Africa (Afrique), he talked about the political atmosphere prevailing in this West African country a few days before the presidential election on April 11. He has long used democracy as an example, but he has enough internal knowledge to describe to us. All spring. Elections, the guerrilla party system, Patrice Talon’s balance sheet… an interview.
Africa point: What do you think of Benin’s pre-election climate?
Victor Topanou: This may be the most critical election we have known since 1991. The opposition believes that the April 11 presidential election is not inclusive. She also judged that the term of President Patrice Talon (Patrice Talon) ends at midnight on April 5, 2021, as he was sworn in on April 5, 2016 for a five-year term. According to her, this is enough to place the transitional institution immediately. Ideologically and objectively speaking, this position is untenable. However, the opponents of President Talon have decided to take his political affairs.
Then, I noticed the sluggish trend of violence in our society. This did not exist before. The widespread anonymity on social networks allows certain participants to initiate calls for violence in real life. It starts with building followers. The combined effect of these factors has caused anxiety in today’s situation.
Independence of Benin: Do you mean democracy?
The topic that has received the most attention today is the extension of Patrice Talon’s mission. What can you tell us?
The constitution has made it clear that the current president will be in the office until his elected successor is sworn in.
What constitution is this?
According to the 1990 Constitution.
Therefore, President Talon was sworn in under the old constitution of 1990. How can it be possible when his term of office exceeds the time limit set by his text?
Indeed, this question is reasonable. But in reality, the President of the Republic only swears on individual articles of the Constitution. This is the sworn text, Article 53. However, the Constitution provides for its own amendments under Title 11. Therefore, the President swore to respect the Constitution and promised to abide by the amendment procedures contained in the Basic Law.
Then, the issue of the principle of legal non-traceability is raised. Assuming that opponents accept the constitutional review, they say they cannot accept that it applies to the term of office that has already begun. Again, this is incorrect. The deputies to the Benin National People’s Congress responded to this issue, stipulating in the revised 2019 Constitution that the current president’s term will last until the second round of elections in 2021.
How did this country get there?
To fully understand the situation, we must go back to 2018-2019. Like many poor African countries, Benin believes that it is impossible to participate in election campaigns all the time, because the pace of elections has little to do with its development goals. Therefore, the country is looking for ways and means to conduct general elections from 2026. Several technical issues have arisen from this, namely task scheduling, the vacancy of the presidency and the year of the first general election.