KAMPALA, Uganda—As Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, is learning, subverting constitutional term limits can be a tricky business. In April, Nkurunziza announced he would be running for a third stint ahead of a June vote, despite a constitutional limit of two terms. His announcement was met with immediate protests, still ongoing, and an attempted coup. The election is now delayed until at least July.
His counterparts in nearby Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be watching warily. Both are about to bump up against their own term caps—the DRC’s Joseph Kabila next year and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame in 2017. And both have intimated some interest in sticking around.
They could all take a lesson from their East African neighbor, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. In power since 1986 and having disposed of term limits a decade ago, he is set to run for his fifth term next year. His party, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), committed to nominating him as its sole presidential candidate well ahead of next February’s vote. Already the 2016 campaign seems as much a coronation as a contest.