Senegalese President Macky Sall has reduced his presidential term from seven to five years, in an uncommon act in Africa, where some leaders are infamous for extending their stay in power.

The idea to amend the country’s constitution through a referendum to reduce the presidential term from seven years to five, while maintaining the two terms limit was proposed by President Sallearly last year.

According to reports, a statement released by the presidency says, the term reduction is with immediate effect and there will be no referendum on the issue. The referendum was scheduled to take place in April this year.

Last year, while making the term reduction proposal, Sall reportedly said: “Have you ever seen presidents reduce their mandate? Well I’m going to do it,”

“We have to understand, in Africa too, that we are able to offer an example, and that power is not an end in itself,” he added.

Sall was elected in 2012 and reports suggest he wants, “presidential elections in 2017 rather than two years later, as envisaged under current constitutional arrangements”.

The recent pronouncement vindicates Sall’s 2012 election campaign promise in which he pledged to reduce the presidential term and enforce a two-term limit.

The term reduction goes against a common trend, where African leaders have overseen constitutional amendments to extend their stay in power. Various countries where laws have been changed to benefit the incumbent include Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Chad, Djibouti, Uganda and more recently Rwanda.

Term limits are a controversial issue in Africa. While the West and some human rights advocates have continued to criticise leaders who extend their term in office, some African leaders continue to scoff at the criticism as unwarranted political interference.

Source: This is Africa