President Tandja in Niger as a new Big Man?

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm

My friend at Niger1.com posted an article about President Tandja of Niger. His constitutionally mandated second and final presidential term is up at the end of this year, and it’s not clear whether or not he’ll step down:

President accused of breaking his word in third term bid

He publicly stated that he would step down after the November elections and a new president is sworn in, but he’s suddenly wanting to re-do the constitution, like so many other modern-day dictators, to remain in power.

I haven’t followed Niger close enough to truly comment on his time there. I was disappointed with the way he handled the recent Tuareg rebellion; he could have taken a page from Malian president Toure’s book and started talking to them right away instead of lumping them with terrorists and drug dealers. Niger is still in the bottom five on the UN Human Development Index, and 8 years is a long time – there could have been much more meaningful change during that time.

I don’t know entirely what to think of this. I would bet the villagers of Niger would like Tandja to stay, they like his stability and he’ll probably go down in Nigerien history as a great president like they perceived Kountche to be. But this definitely looks bad from a diplomatic/foreign policy perspective.

  1. Thank you Scott for mentioning Niger1 on your blog I want to do a Special Gaston Kaba on niger1 , I actualy reunited him last week with a peace corps who was in Niger in 1974 when Kaba


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