Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Periscoping Benin republic
Benin republic (république du Bénin), originally known as DAHOMEY, is a country of about six million inhabitants. It is lying between Togo/Ghana on one side and Nigeria on the other side – all in West Africa. Its chief export product is cotton. Its official language is french, having been a colony of France. After gaining her independence in August 1960, the country came under Marxist-socialist rule for a long uncomfortable period of time. By 1990, democracy was installed after a national constitutional conference. This transition was embraced with mixed feelings because it was the once-feared military dictator who succeeded himself after he had personally undergone some spiritual transformation to become a true Christian. In order to perpetuate himself in office beyond the constitutional mandate, this born-again Christian sought to amend the constitution which attempt was vigorously opposed by the Parliament. By March 2006, presidential elections was held. Former Economist and Regional Bank Director who had contested as an independent candidate emerged victorious. A few months before the end of tenure of the Parliament, clandestine overtures were initiated to elongate their life by one year. This effort was quashed by the Executive. On the 15th day of March 2007, some unidentified gunmen shot at the presidential convoy as he was returning from a campaign rally for Legislative election at which he had given support to some loyal contestants sympathetic to his administrative. By 20th March, some six suspects had been taken into custody by the Police in connection with the attack on the presidential entourage. This same day, the president of the republic held crucial meeting with members of the Autonomous Electoral Commission at the end of which the Chairperson was sacked for administrative irregularities. Legislative elections are to be held on Sunday March 25. Meanwhile, some Electoral Commission agents have confiscated some voters’ list from some constituencies alleging that some allowances are being owed them.