Last week, the interim government of Niger announced a proposed amnesty for the country’s ruling junta in its new draft constitution. State radio channels hailed the action as the best possible outcome for the majority of “social and political forces.” Although the text itself is still being finalized by the constitutional consultative council, the gist is that General Salou Djibo and his military allies would be protected from potential prosecution for their role in toppling the government of Mamadou Tandja.
Niger’s coup d’etat on Thursday has provoked widespread international reaction, as the country has been suspended from the African Union and the coup leaders condemned by Ban Ki-Moon, the EU and ECOWAS. Citizens of Niger, on the other hand, seem to be fairly happy about the development.
All eyes will be on Niger this Tuesday as President Mamadou Tandja goes ahead with a referendum to allow himself to rule for three more years after completing his constitutional mandate of two terms this December. Recall that when the Constitutional Court ruled his proposal unconstitutional earlier this summer, Tandja assumed emergency powers and disbanded parliament as well as the constitutional court.