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Benin's President Marks First 100 Days


Benin President Yayi Boni is marking his first 100 days in office Sunday. Benin's people hope the political newcomer will bring change, but some feel his lack of experience is hampering his efforts.

When he was elected in March, President Yayi Boni was welcomed as a political newcomer, who would not get involved in the corruption many say marked the rule of his predecessor, President Mathieu Kerekou.

Political analyst Martin Messy says Mr. Boni's basic approach to government is sound.

"In order to have good development, economics and justice are the most important things to give us hope for the reality of good performance in the future," he said.

But some are skeptical.

Teachers Union President Raouph Affagnon says he has been following Mr. Boni's first months in office carefully. He told VOA he is not that impressed with Mr. Boni's record so far.

"Regarding the problem of health, I do not think much is being done, for the time being. What was said in terms of objectives, and what is being done is not very different from what we have already seen. I think there is nothing new as such," he explained.

Before he took office, some questions were asked about Mr. Boni's capacity to lead a government.

Affagnon says Mr. Boni's inexperience is a handicap.

"He does not know how to lead a team, in the sense that, before any minister can say anything or take any action, he always wants to make sure that the decision has been taken in a democratic way," he said.

Affagnon says Mr. Boni has been seeking advice from his predecessor.

"He feels obliged to be in constant contact with the former president. He has visited former president Kerekou twice in a month," he added. "Why? It is probably because he is at a loss. He does not have the right ideas to solve problems. I agree, he needs the help, but he should not be calling them all the time."

Mr. Boni is the third elected president in Benin since the country was opened to multiparty democracy in 1990.