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Open Society Initiative for West Africa (Dakar)

Why the One-Term Limit Does Not Improve Governance

One term limit advocates argue that it encourages the elected president to focus on implementing the agenda they campaigned on as opposed to prioritizing their re-election thus improving governance. The desire for re-election, which some deem as an obsession, is said to lead to the abuse of public resources, the harassment of political opponents and the lack of political will to initiate necessary key but unpopular reforms.

Some African leaders with 20 years in power, from top left to bottom right: Omar al-Bashir, Sudan; Idress Deby Itno, Chad; Yoweri Museveni, Uganda; King Mswati III, Swaziland; Denis Sassou Nguesso, Republic of the Congo; Paul Biya, Cameroon; Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe; Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, Angola; Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasongo, Equatorial Guinea.

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