Niger Opposition in Dilemma, Says Leader
By Peter Clottey
30 September 2009
Niger opposition parties are expressing frustration, claiming that embattled President Mamadou Tandja is enjoying their dilemma.
The parties have asked their supporters not to participate in the ongoing campaign for the upcoming October 20th parliamentary vote.
But the government said the vote will go on as planned.
Official campaigning began Tuesday after President Tandja dissolved the legislative body following stiff opposition to his constitutional amendment.
Bazoum Mohammed, the Vice President of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) said that participating in the election will perpetuate what he described as President Tandja's illegal rule.
"If we participate with them it means that we recognize the constitution. We recognize Mr. Tandja as legitimate president because he has no longer any mandate," Mohammed said.
He said President Tandja is ruling Niger with the backing of the military.
"He will stay (in) power because he has the (military) with him not because he has been elected… we are against what he has done and we are fighting him," he said.
Mohammed said the opposition is against the constitutional amendments.
"We don't agree with his constitution (and) we refuse to participate in the election on the basis of that. If we do that (participate) we will be in contradiction, and we don't want to be in this contradiction that is a moral contradiction," Mohammed said.
He said the opposition demands a return to the rule of law.
"We want to go back to a legal situation to have discussion with him and to have a new basis on which we have to organize elections," he said.
Mohammed said President Tandja is enjoying the opposition's predicament.
"It is a real dilemma for us (and) he is very happy to put us in this dilemma because he has not been elected," Mohammed said.
He said the government ensured that the opposition is alienated from elections.
"He (Tandja) knows that if we participate in the election, we will have the majority and he don't want to organize an election that we can participate because this election will show really that he has no majority. But the majority is with the opposition," he said.
He said the opposition is between a rock and a hard place.
"It is the situation he wanted us to be in and he has done all he could do for this result and we have no choice. We have only now the possibility to fight him and to not accept his power and we have to fight to throw him out of power," he said.
Meanwhile, despite international pressure President Tandja refuses to hand over power, saying that Nigeriens want him to stay to continue the good works he has started.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|