AfricTivistes sets a democracy observatory to counter constitutional, military coups 

AfricTivistes sets a democracy observatory to counter constitutional, military coups 

Beyond political conflicts, constitutional amendments and military coups raise questions about the future of democracy in Africa. With the help of researchers and experts, the AfricTivistes Democracy Observatory intends to provide a response to the impact of lengthy presidential terms on the citizens of Africa.

Over the last few decades, Africa has witnessed political conflicts linked to constitutional amendments, which are a source of instability and security threats. Some heads of State have a habit of manipulating the constitutions of their countries in order to either run for another term of office after resetting the countdown to zero, or to stay in power by refusing to introduce term limits.

From Faure Gnassingbé in Togo in 2019 to Alassane Ouattara in 2020 and Alpha Condé, challenges to their candidacies by the opposition and civil society have been violently repressed, resulting in deaths. Furthermore, dynastic presidencies, where heads of State have inherited power from their parents (Togo and until recently Gabon), have often been criticised for their lack of democratic process and have sometimes led to political and social tensions in the affected countries. On top of this, there has been a resurgence of military coups d’état since 2019 on one hand, and the African specificity of presidents “for life” who remain in power forever on the other.

Civil society has taken a range of actions and defined appropriate response strategies to limit the damage and preserve democratic gains, especially respect for the Constitution and presidential term limits.

It continues to adapt its strategies in the face of an ever-shrinking civic space and a thirst on the part of executives to consolidate their power to the detriment of fundamental rights and democratic principles of separation of powers.

Despite the strong mobilisation of national, regional and African civil society through various peaceful actions, the leaders end up achieving their goal by walking over dead bodies.

With this in mind, AfricTivistes is launching an awareness-raising campaign aimed at the general public, to bring the debate on presidential term limits to the grassroots level and increase people’s understanding and involvement in the discourse, with a view to building democratic states.

Citizen democracy observatory

AfricTivistes believes that it is vital to highlight the importance of accurate information and the correlation between presidential terms of office and the harmful consequences for countries and their populations. As a result, AfricTivistes has set up a citizens’ observatory on democracy issues to raise awareness among African populations of the impact of one presidential term too many.

The AfricTivistes Observatory for Democracy project is a logical continuation of several years of advocacy and awareness-raising on democratic issues and principles in Africa. Its mission is to encourage citizen participation, promote government transparency and build skills and knowledge while fostering multi-stakeholder coordination on the issue of presidential terms that are too long.

Its specific objectives are to:

  1. Establish, through research and factual evidence, the impacts and consequences of term limits on citizens;
  2. Strengthen people’s understanding of the usefulness of presidential term limits;
  3. Provide people with a better understanding of the consequences of tampering with constitutions;

The project has two major components. Firstly, six studies will be carried out by experts and researchers to examine the issues surrounding constitutional changes, presidential term limits and democratic governance in Africa. The second component involves using these studies to inform citizens and strengthen civil society in its fight for fairer and more democratic governance through a major awareness-raising campaign.

Researchers and experts on board

With the significant contribution of experienced researchers and experts, AfricTivistes is conducting six studies on the following themes:

  1. State of democracy in Africa: constitutional and unconstitutional regime change from 2000 to 2023;
  2. Impacts and consequences of unlimited presidential terms on socio-economic well-being in Africa;
  3. Hyper-presidentialism vs. strengthening the separation of powers: What are the solutions for democracy?
  4. Civil society’s strategies for fighting lengthy presidential terms: an assessment of the participation of women and young people?
  5. Reinventing African democracy: between culturalism and endogeneity;
  6. Big Data, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence… How to make technology a guarantee of respect for democracy ?

For additional information, please contact Aisha Dabo, Programmes Coordinator, at

About AfricTivistes

AfricTivistes is a pan-African organisation of change agents for democracy, human rights and good governance. AfricTivistes has been working for several years on issues related to democracy and technology in Africa and has an extensive network of partners, experts and practitioners in Africa and its Diaspora.

Share 👉🏿
Receive our newsletter

Recent Post

Related articles

Connecting Africa for an enhanced citizenship !