Speaking this Tuesday morning on RFI, the former president of the Constitutional Court of Benin and former president of the Bar Association, Robert Dossou, commented on the tense situation prevailing in the country since the eve of the presidential election.
Invited to express his feelings in the aftermath of the 11 April presidential election in Benin, Mr. Robert Dossou said: « I am concerned because it is the first time that we have had a presidential election in the Republic of Benin, preceded by arrests and followed by a stream of arrests. Since the end of the vote, people have been arrested every day; today I learn that this one has been arrested, the next day I learn… and often, intellectuals who have become accustomed, in a democracy, to express themselves freely on all subjects that concern the citizen.
All this leads the former president of the Constitutional Court, who is also the lawyer of two of the main opponents deposed in prison – Reckya Madougou and Joël Aïvo – to wonder: « Is this election an opportunity to silence all those who express an opinion that does not go in the direction of the opinion desired by the government? It worries me, it challenges me and I wonder about it, because if there is no contradiction, there will be no more democracy at all.
For the man of law, since November 2019, Benin’s democracy is no longer a full and complete democracy. He remains, however, convinced that this is not the end of the « Beninese model », since according to him, democracy is not « a free highway that we take ad vitam eternam. Democracy can have ebbs and flows. This is why he addressed President Patrice Talon: « He must put some water in his wine and speak with all stakeholders and we should not be in permanent crisis, because Benin is Benin; because we have a certain tradition, everyone wants there to be peace, there to be tranquility, there to be development. Development is not just about infrastructure, superstructures also need to be built within the law, and the law must be in line with the fundamental precepts of human rights. Because every society is about people.