Oct.31, 2014 | DICKTATORS MAXIMI

Handbook of Perpetual Rule: How 2 Outstay Your Welcome

What is one autocrat to do these days to democratically retain power ad infinitum? Take Burkina Faso's President, Blaise Compaoré, who has been in power for a mere 27 relatively peaceful (with the occasional coup attempt here and there) years, and now finds himself in a bit of a pickle.

 

President Compaoré not only did not suspend elections after the coup in 1987 that propelled him to the country's helm, but on the contrary, he has since organized four votes where he was each time overwhelmingly reelected (mainly unopposed). And if that wasn't enough to prove his democratic credentials, in 2000 he singlehandedly amended the constitution to reduced the term duration from 7 to 5 years and establish term limits. Unfortunately (for the country) that last modification means that he has to step down next year which at the end proved too much of a sacrifice to ask people to make. So he planned to do what any ruler-for-life would do in his democratic shoes, tweak the rules.

 

Yet how ungrateful and fickle are the people of Burkina Faso! Instead of rejoicing with his selfless decision to give up a life of easy-going, cocktail-sipping, pool-partying retirement in order to stay put for four more  years and spearhead the country towards even more prosperity, they are somewhat miffed and are making something of a fuss, rioting and burning down buildings. This is very inconsiderate of them, not to mention inconvenient. And furthermore, what say have they to the country's constitution after all? It was President Compaoré that amended it in the first place 14 years ago so he has every right to amend, re-amend or scrap it as he sees fit. This sort of misguided sense of entitlement which has swept ordinary citizens up, is now plunging the country in chaos, wreaking havoc in the streets and more importantly pushing the insurance premiums for President Compaoré 's properties through the roof.

 

As luck would have it, President Compaoré's trusted regional allies and friends Charles Taylor and Muammar Gaddafi are indisposed at the moment (imprisoned for life or dead) to lend him a hand in this matter.