Presidential term limits have also been a common feature of African constitutions — but constitutional amendments have almost exclusively extended presidential term limits, notes Kamissa Camara, the senior program officer for Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy. Since the 1990s, at least 30 presidents in sub-Saharan African nations have tried to extend their regimes by tweaking constitutional term limits, she writes for The Washington Post:
Recent patterns in African constitutional referendums suggest that as much as military coups are becoming passe, constitutional coups soon might also become outdated. In sub-Saharan Africa, constitutions in many countries are slowly becoming binding documents that limit presidential powers — and boost democracy and the rule of law.
Kamissa Camara is a West and Central Africa political analyst and the senior program officer for Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy. She is a fellow with Foreign Policy Interrupted and writes in her personal capacity. She blogs at www.kamissacamara.com and tweets at @kamissacamara.