We do not play with the Constitution. The fundamental charter of a country is not set in stone, but it is the one that guarantees the stability of institutions and must protect the people from the temptation to seize power.
Any change must be based on the will of the people. By saying no to the constitutional putsch, Senegalese, Nigeriens, Congolese and Burkinabe, now Guineans and Ivorians, are sending a clear signal to all those who would like to retain power in defiance of the Constitution.
We are also mobilising so that those who have already been guilty of constitutional coups - in Cameroon, Gabon, Djibouti, Uganda, Equatorial Guinea or Chad - to return to previous texts that provided for term limits. It is up to the African Union and the international community to now make this practice, condemned by the African Charter on Democracy, a red line not to be crossed.
Our actions :
- Advocacy Report (2016): In Africa, as elsewhere, no democracy without alternation.
- Report of the TLP-Congo coalition (2020): From constitutional instability to institutional instability: democracy put to the test!
- Referendum in Congo (2015): the collective "Tournons La Page" denounces the "silence" of France (Article Voice of Africa)
- Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea... the "Tournons La Page" movement worried about the lack of alternation (2020) - RFI Article
In the countries where our movement is active, the wind of democracy in the 1990s has remained a light breeze. Despite the opening up to multiparty politics, the holding of competitive elections (at least in showcases), sometimes with greater freedom of expression, to meet the requirements of donors, real democracy has made little progress there. The even the possibility of alternating at the top is far from certain. The separation of powers (executive, judicial, legislative, but also economic and military), a fundamental condition for democratic functioning, is hardly respected.
The usual tools of democracy - elections in the first instance - are regularly misused to serve the ruling power. The international community, more often than not, comes to terms with these sham democracies, shining in its silence in the wake of rigged elections.
Our actions :
- Voter Registration Campaigns in Niger and Côte-d'Ivoire.
- Memorandum for a Review of the Electoral System in Cameroon and Côte-d'Ivoire.
Corruption and wealth capture
The monopolisation of the country's wealth by the family and those close to the regime is practically a constant in authoritarian countries. To gain power means gaining access to the wealth of the State, to the rents from the subsoil, and to make those around you benefit from it: the political scientist Jean-François Bayart speaks of "belly politics".
For this 'court', there is a great risk in the event of alternation that it will no longer be able to benefit from such advantages - or even be held accountable: it therefore plays an active part in maintaining power and the system, whether or not the Head of State himself wishes to do so. Corruption also serves to silence critics, to buy judges, to coax voters, to turn opponents around, and ultimately to completely discredit the democratic game.
One of our struggles is to build a fair fiscal and social pact in Africa in the service of the general interest. This fiscal contract between political leaders and citizens/taxpayers is a necessary condition for building a stable democracy. Building accountability between citizens and their leaders is also, in the case of dictatorial or authoritarian regimes, the possibility of opening a breach in favour of a change of power.
Our actions :
Advocacy Report (2017) - In Africa, as elsewhere, no democracy without fiscal justice.
Rights and freedoms
Through various publications, studies and field actions, Tournons La Page contributes to the expansion of civic and democratic space in Africa. By setting up activities to sensitize and mobilize the population on issues of citizen engagement and good governance through the organization of café-debates, neighbourhood councils, mobile court hearings but also democracy caravans, we ensure that civil and political rights can be respected in Africa. Finally, Tournons La Page regularly documents human rights abuses and violations in order to obtain reparation and justice for the victims of authoritarian practices of power.
Our actions :
- A report on the restriction of freedom to demonstrate in Niger.