Ernest Koroma Says He's Not A 'President for Life' Kind of Leader

Paul Biya has been the President of Cameroon since November 1982
If he’s said it once, he’s said it a thousand times. Sierra Leone's Ernest Bai Koroma has no plans to join the club of Africa’s longest ruling leaders.

In a recent news report from the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh said the "More Time" campaign is not his boss’s idea.

“His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma believes and respects the ideology of the country’s constitution and democracy,” Foh reportedly said at an event last Friday in Makeni.

Makeni is the fourth largest city in Sierra Leone and the capital and administrative center of Bombali District, Koroma's home district.

"The Vice President went on to caution the campaigners of  'More Time,' 'Extra Time,' 'Another Term or (T)hird Term' to desist from such acts as the President has asked no one that he wants more time," the SLENA report said.  Adding that "such calls will encumber the good name the President has built so far both nationally and internationally," the report said.

Last July, Barack Obama condemned African leaders who refuse to give up power during his address to the African Union.

"Africa's democratic progress is also at risk when leaders refuse to step aside when their terms end," Obama said in his speech at the AU's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.

"No one should be president for life," Obama said, adding that he himself was looking forward to handing over to his successor.

"I have to be honest with you: I just don't understand this. Under our constitution, I cannot run again. There's still so much I want to get done to keep America moving forward. But the law is the law and no one is above it, not even presidents," he said.

Obama singled out Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza -- whose re-election to a third term provoked weeks of unrest in the central African nation -- as an example of the dangers of trying to stay put.

African leaders such as Paul Biya, Robert Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir, andTeodoro Obiang Mbasogo, have held power for more than 30 years.

For his part, Vice President Foh warned Koroma supporters at the Makeni gathering last week "to renounce unconfirmed messages about the President," Foh said.

Last November, celebrations were held across Cameroon, commemorating President Paul Biya's 33 years in power.

Opposition parties are calling on Biya to consider stepping down when his current term ends in 2018. But there are no signs the 82-year-old president will.

Some of Africa's longest-ruling leaders


Name                                  Country                                  Began Tenure
Paul Biya                                  Cameroon                            30 June 1975
Teodoro Mbasogo                  Equatorial Guinea                3 August 1979
José E dos Santos                  Angola                                     10 September 1979
Robert Mugabe                  Zimbabwe                      18 April 1980
Yoweri Museveni                 Uganda                             29 January 1986 .
Omar al-Bashir                 Sudan                              30 June 1989
Idriss Déby                         Chad                          2 December 1990
Isaias Afwerki                         Eritrea                           27 April 1991
Yahya Jammeh                 The Gambia                  22 July 1994
Paul Kagame                         Rwanda                           24 March 2000
Joseph Kabila             Democratic Republic of the Congo    17 January 2001

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