Senegal president Macky Sall offers to reduce presidential term

(The Guardian) Senegal’s President Macky Sall on Tuesday proposed a referendum on reducing his mandate by two years.

Macky Sall proposes a referendum on reducing his mandate from seven to five years, a stance in contrast to several fellow African leaders criticised for clinging to power.

The pledge came with countries including Benin, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo-Brazzaville all said to be considering constitutional change to allow their leaders a third term in office.

Sall told foreign correspondents at the Dakar news conference he intended to appeal personally to Kabila for the release of Senegalese activists arrested on Sunday.

At a news conference with foreign media in Dakar, President Sall explained, the move would allow “a revision of the constitution, first on the mandate and then on some other aspects to strengthen our democracy”. He also said that he wanted the vote to take place in May next year.

His announcement followed a plea by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to African leaders gathered for an annual summit in January to not cling to power and to respect the wishes of their people.