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Former Nigerien President Asks Military Junta for Clemency

  • James Butty

Bazoum Mohammed of Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism says democratically elected government should decide Mr. Tandja's Fate

A leading member of Niger’s main political party said former President Mamadou Tandja should remain under house arrest during the transitional period.

Former Niger President Mamadou Tandja

Former Niger President Mamadou Tandja

This comes after Mr. Tandja reportedly sent a letter to the ruling military junta asking for clemency.

Bazoum Mohammed, deputy president of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism, said the decision on the former president’s fate should be left to a democratically-elected government.

“Mr. Tandja is kept in a big villa close to the president, and he’s in a good situation… for us. We say that Mr. Tandja must be judged, but we accept the current situation. I think that, for this transition, they can keep him where he is and, after the election, the new democratic power will decide what to do with [Mr.] Tandja,” he said.

Mohammed said it was former President Tandja’s family that decided to put his case to the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Court.

The 72-year-old former president reportedly said in his letter that his poor health would stand in the way of a trial.

Mr. Tandja was ousted in February by the army several months after he amended the constitution to extend his term in office.

The junta has since set up an anti-corruption commission to investigate the alleged misuse of public funds by his administration.

Former President Mamadou Tandja

Former President Mamadou Tandja

Mohammed said Mr. Tandja and all others who might have played a role in plundering Niger should go before the commission to answer for what they did.

“We think that it is good to do all the investigations that are necessary, and everyone has to respond of his responsibility and what they have done in the management, even if there are people in our coalition of the former opposition parties who have done some mistakes, they have to respond to it. So, we encourage this commission to do its work,” he said.