Friday, April 10, 2009


Controversial assessment of a three-year rule

April 06, 2009 has marked the third anniversary of Boni Yayi's inauguration as the third Benin Head of State since the advent of democratic era in 1990 and the celebration was an occasion for the presidential camp to assess its three-year rule.

The MPs of the ruling FCBE and the whole Government were convened to a conference at Palais du Congrès in Cotonou on Sunday, April 05, 2009 where mainly the Prospective and Public Action Minister, Pascal Iréné Koukpaki made a briefing over the state of Benin economy, the achievements and its future prospective.

In the report that Mr. Koukpaki read to the audience, he emphasized the Government's efforts on services, logistics, trade and transports, cotton textile, food agriculture, infrastructure, culture, tourism and arts. Each of these areas has benefited from the Government's efforts. Over seventy (70) billion of FCFA has been invested in road construction with the results as building of major infrastructures including the road lines Godomey-Calavi, Kétou-Ilara and crossings. Three (03) billion and one (01) billion FCFA, respectively, were allocated to arts and Aid Fund to culture. On social front, over five (05) billion FCFA has funded micro-loans and employment.

Efforts were also made in the area of security, diplomacy, education. In terms of total revenue within three (03) years, over two hundred (200) billion FCFA of growth were recorded, of which one third is devoted to salary costs. Nevertheless, this situation should be moderate this year because the estimated revenue will be down by fifteen percent (15%). Despite this, the potential for development of the country remains preserved and the Head of State holds the reins, reassured Pascal Iréné Koupaki.

However, not everybody agrees on that positive assessment of Boni Yayi's three-year rule. The opposition coalition made up of G4, G13, and Force Clé and critics in the media do not hold the same view as the ruling camp about the first three years of Boni Yayi's term in office.

According to the opposition, all the decisions, which the Government carries out, are implemented precipitously without due preparation, planning, and careful oversight of the executed actions. It is the same criticism, which is voiced over all the main issues regarding the administration of public affairs. Whether it is about education, healthcare, security, micro finance, macro economy, Government relations with the other intuitions mainly with the National Assembly and with the opposition, the different initiatives are taken in haste. This does finally more damage than good.

In a letter, whose title is «The major lies of Boni Yayi and his government» issued by Benin Communist Party on April 02, 2009, the leader of this political party, which is not represented in the Parliament, accused Boni Yayi's Government of manipulating and misleading the people.

For the Communist Party of Benin, «the measure of abolition of school fees was made before the arrival of Boni Yayi. It all started at the beginning of 1993-1994 by the removal, on foreign pressure, of school fees for girls in rural areas. The measure was subsequently extended to boys, always in rural areas and then from 2000-2001 to all school-aged children, regardless of gender and area of residence. Any agitation, on the part of, Boni Yayi and his political family in this matter is an awkward lie and a notorious trickery»

The letter also regrets the Government policy about education program, healthcare system, loans to finance the construction of major infrastructures, the management of State finances, the management of revenues from customs escort, the management of State owned public enterprises, traditional rule and concludes by arguing that the promised change is yet to be delivered.

In his column issued on April 08, 2009, the well-known columnist, journalist, and historian, Jérôme CARLOS questioned the meaning of this promised change: « How worthy is free schooling if it serves to promote problematic citizens? What will the fate of the most efficient infrastructures be if there is nobody to care for them as responsible citizen? A balance sheet is quantitative. The change assessment is qualitative. That is all the difference. » To him, «…change is less the sum of the accumulative quantity of what one has achieved than the efforts of one another to change ourselves and make ourselves able to change our country. »

Alfred Cossi Chodaton

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