The Man Who Cried Treason

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The Central African Republic’s top court annulled a commission for constitutional reform over the weekend, dealing a blow to President Faustin-Archange Touadera’s attempts to remove presidential term limits, Reuters reported.

In May, Touadera’s supporters proposed plans to amend the constitution to remove term limits, saying the latter was an uncommon practice among most African countries.

In fact, many African leaders-for-life have either dismantled or done end-runs around constitutional term limits.

In the CAR’s case, Touadera this month created a commission to draft the proposed changes, which would include an amendment to allow the president and lawmakers to remain in office in case elections are delayed.

But on Friday, the Constitutional Court rejected the commission’s formation as unconstitutional and annulled the amendment. It added that the decision could not be appealed.

Opposition lawmakers welcomed the verdict, but parties allied to Touadera said it was “treason against the will of the sovereign people.”

Touadera was elected in 2016 following a civil conflict sparked by the toppling of former President Francois Bozizé three years earlier. He was re-elected in 2020 amid an offensive by rebel factions, including those supporting Bozizé, that briefly threatened the capital Bangui.

The removal of term limits would have made Touadera part of a group of African leaders – including Rwanda, Ivory Coast and Guinea – who have amended the country’s constitution to allow them to stay in office indefinitely.

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