- Posted August 24, 2013 by
Povetry as the most important Boni Yayi's ally in his pursue of a third term in office
Ranking of Benin as the eighth poorest country in the world and the third poorest country in Africa should be a surprise to nobody. Former French President Jacques Chirac expressed his unfavorable opinion of democracy in Africa by the famous quotation, "Democracy is a luxury to Africa." Democracy is incompatible with poverty because men must meet their basic needs before aspiring to freedom and democracy. As long as people are kept in poverty, it is impossible that they show their commitment to democracy.
This is the Machiavellian principle that seems to inspire Benin politicians in making poverty their ally in their drive to amend the constitution that bans third term in office. Once the constitution is amended, technically Benin will become a new republic and the incumbent Boni Yayi will be allowed to have more than two terms in office. Contrary to his campaign promises, Boni Yayi has so far done nothing to change the country’s economic outlook. Whether it is comes to improving competitiveness of the Port of Cotonou by taking specific measures, boosting the country’s agricultural production through the so-called Green Revolution or cooperating with private entrepreneurs to create jobs for unemployed youth, the failure is complete.
It looks like Boni Yayi does not really want to keep his promises because if the Benin economy were doing well, the workers and the peasants of the rural areas could not have been so easily manipulated with banknotes given to them during election campaigns. If villagers and ordinary Benin citizens were not hungry in their forsaken hometowns, they would not have had to come and indulge in Cotonou and other secondary cities in the only salutary activity, the motor-taxi; Yayi Boni and his entourage could not have ensured their support with demonstrations held for the amendment of the constitution by bribing them with money.
Boni Yayi does not hesitate to show his opposition to the middle class citizens, the labor organizations, the Catholic Church, and the business elite that are not ready to support his despotic draft amendment of the constitution. Talon and Adjavon are two Beninese billionaires Boni Yayi knows very well for having effectively supported him during the campaign prior to the 2006 presidential election. Talon confirmed on RFI (Radio France International) the financial he gave Boni Yayi in 2006. If Boni Yayi wants to stay in power beyond 2016, the support of such people will be very important for him. Most Beninese people think that it is why entrepreneurs that are not supporting the president’s desire to amend the constitution are coming under fire. But in this confrontation with the businessmen, the Beninese economy is suffering as it is about the drop of cotton production, the lower performance of Cotonou Harbor and of private companies.
Poverty is indeed an advantage to Boni Yayi because, as Machiavelli says the prince should only fulfill its promises if it benefits him. Improving the lives of ordinary Benin citizens will not further Boni Yayi’s ambtion. It is better for him to maintain the people in an abject poverty. Those who took Boni Yayi for a political novice, still have to learn from it.