29. Dahomey/Benin (1960-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (August 1, 1960-October 27, 1963):  Dahomey formally achieved its independence from France on August 1, 1960, and Hubert Maga was elected as president.  Legislative elections were held on December 11, 1960, and the Dahomey Unity Party (Parti Dahomeen de L’Unite-PDU) won 60 out of 60 seats in the National Assembly.

Crisis Phase (October 28, 1963-July 31, 1968):  President Hubert Maga was overthrown in a military rebellion led by Colonel Christophe Soglo on October 28, 1963.  A provisional government headed by Colonel Christophe Soglo was formed on October 29, 1963. The government suppressed a rebellion by supporters of former President Maga on November 27, 1963. A new constitution was approved in a referendum on January 5, 1964.  Legislative elections were held on January 19, 1964, and the Dahomeyan Democratic Party (Parti Démocratique Dahoméen-PDD) won 42 out of 42 seats in the National Assembly.  Sourou-Migan Apithy of the PDD was elected president without opposition by the National Assembly on January 19, 1964. Justin Ahomadegbé-Tomêtin formed a government as prime minister on January 25, 1964.  Government troops suppressed a rebellion by Bariba tribesmen in the Parakou region on March 13-14, 1964.  President Sourou-Migan Apithy and Prime Minister Justin Ahomadegbé-Tomêtin were overthrown in a military rebellion led by Colonel Christophe Soglo on November 29, 1965. On December 22, 1965, Colonel Christophe Soglo assumed the presidency of a military government after the president of the National Assembly, Tahirou Congacou, failed to form a new government. Colonel Solo suspended the constitution and banned political parties. President Christophe Soglo was overthrown in a military rebellion led by Colonel Maurice Kounandete and Major Mathieu Kérékou on December 17, 1967. Lt. Colonel Alphonse Alley was named head-of-state on December 21, 1967, and Major Mathieu Kérékou was elected chairman of the 15-member Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC) on January 22, 1968. A new constitution was approved in a referendum on March 31, 1968. Presidential elections were held on May 5, 1968, but the results were invalidated due to the low voter turnout.  Opponents of the military government had called for a boycott of the presidential elections on May 2, 1968. The MRC appointed former Foreign Minister Emile Derlin Zinsou as president on June 28, 1968, and Emile Derlin Zinsou was inaugurated as president on July 17, 1968.  President Zinsou was approved with 76 percent of the vote in a referendum on July 28, 1968. The Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC) was dissolved on July 31, 1968.

Post-Crisis Phase (August 1, 1968-December 9, 1969):

Crisis Phase (December 10, 1969-April 4, 1991): President Emile Derlin Zinsou was overthrown in a military rebellion led by Lt. Colonel Maurice Kouandété on December 10, 1969, and a three-member military junta headed by Colonel Paul-Emile de Souza took control of the government on December 12, 1969.  Presidential elections were held on March 28, 1970, but the results were annulled by Colonel Paul-Emile de Souza as a result of political violence. A three-member presidential council chaired by Hubert Maga took control of the government on May 2, 1970. The government suppressed a military rebellion led by Lt. Colonel Maurice Kouandété on February 23, 1972.  On May 6, 1972, six military personnel were sentenced to death for their involvement in the military rebellion.  Justin Ahomadegbé-Tomêtin was appointed as chairman of the Presidential Council on May 7, 1972.  Lt. Colonel Maurice Kouandété and five other military personnel were sentenced to death for their involvement in the military rebellion on May 16, 1972.  Justin Ahomadegbé-Tomêtin, chairman of the Presidential Council, was deposed in a military coup led by Major Mathieu Kerekou on October 26, 1972. The National Council of the Revolution (NCR) headed by Major Mathieu Kérékou took control of the government on October 27, 1972. President Idi Amin of Uganda expressed support for the military coup on October 28, 1972. President Ahmed Sékou Touré of Guinea expressed support for the NCR on November 9, 1972. The Dahomey Liberation and Rehabilitation Front (Front de Libération et de Réhabilitation de Dahomey-FLRD) was established in Paris in opposition to the military government. Colonel Mathieu Kérékou established a Marxist-Leninist government on December 3, 1974. The government suppressed a military rebellion on January 22, 1975, and seven individuals were sentenced to death for their involvement in the military rebellion on March 17, 1975. Colonel Mathieu Kérékou changed the name of the country to the People’s Republic of Benin on November 30, 1975.  Dahomey Liberation and Rehabilitation Front (Front de Libération et de Réhabilitation de Dahomey-FLRD) mercenaries attacked the city of Cotonou on January 16, 1977, resulting in the deaths of several individuals.  The government of Benin referred the matter to the UN Security Council on January 17, 1977 and Organization of African Unity (OAU) on February 1, 1977. The UN Security Council agreed to establish a three-member commission of inquiry (India, Libya, Panama) to investigate the matter on February 8, 1977. The UN commission of inquiry issued a report on March 8, 1977, and the UN Security Council condemned the mercenary attack against Benin on April 14, 1977. The OAU established a seven-member commission of inquiry (Libya, Nigeria, Niger, Angola, Guinea, Mozambique, and Zambia) to investigate the mercenary attack. The OAU commission of inquiry issued its report prior to the OAU Council of Ministers meeting in Lome in February 1978. OAU foreign ministers condemned the Dahomey Liberation and Rehabilitation Front (Front de Libération et de Réhabilitation de Dahomey-FLRD) for its mercenary attack against Benin and expressed support for the government of Benin on July 18, 1978. On April 9, 1979, the National Council of the Revolution sentenced 100 individuals to death for their involvement in the January 1977 rebellion.  The National Council of the Revolution (NCR) was dissolved, and the National Revolutionary Assembly was established on February 4, 1980. Colonel Mathieu Kérékou of the Benin People’s Revolutionary Party (Parti de la Revolution Populaire du Benin – PRPB) was elected president without opposition by the Revolutionary National Assembly on February 6, 1980.  Legislative elections were held on June 10, 1984, and the Benin People’s Revolutionary Party (Parti de la Revolution Populaire du Benin – PRPB) won all of the seats in the National Revolutionary Assembly.  President Mathieu Kérékou was re-elected without opposition by the Revolutionary National Assembly on July 31, 1984. The government suppressed a military rebellion on March 26, 1988. Government troops and demonstrators clashed in Porto Novo on January 23-24, 1989, resulting in the deaths of two government soldiers. Legislative elections were held on June 18, 1989, and the Benin People’s Revolutionary Party (Parti de la Revolution Populaire du Benin – PRPB) won all of the seats in the National Revolutionary Assembly.  President Mathieu Kérékou was re-elected without opposition by the National Revolutionary Assembly on August 2, 1989. The government announced the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism as its official ideology on December 8, 1989.  Government police clashed with thousands of protesters in Cotonou, Porto Novo, and other cities on December 11-14, 1989, resulting in the deaths of at least two individuals.   On December 22, 1989, the government established the 500-member “National Preparation Committee for the Conference of the Vital Forces of the Nation.”  The national conference appointed Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo as prime minister of a civilian government on February 28, 1990, and a 50-member High Council of the Republic was established on March 9, 1990.  A new constitution was approved in a referendum on December 2, 1990.  Legislative elections were held between February 17 and March 24, 1991, and the Union for the Triumph of Democratic Renewal (Union Pour le Triomphe du Renouveau Democratique-UTRD) won 12 out of 64 seats in the National Assembly.  The National Rally for Democracy (Rassemblement National pour la Démocratie-RND) won seven seats in the National Assembly.  Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo was elected president with 65 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on March 24, 1991. The African-American Institute (AAI) sent 10 observers to monitor the presidential election from March 9 to March 25, 1991.  The governments of Canada, France, Germany, and the U.S. sent observers to monitor the elections.  Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo was inaugurated as president on April 4, 1991.

Post-Crisis Phase (April 5, 1991-present):  Legislative elections were held on March 28, 1995, and the Party for the Rebirth of Benin (Parti de la Renaissance du Benin-PRB) won 21 out of 83 seats in the National Assembly.  The Party for Democratic Renewal (Parti du Renouveau Democratique-PRD) won 18 seats in the National Assembly.  The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent observers to monitor the legislative elections from January 3 to March 29, 1995.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) sent a four-member pre-election assessment mission to Benin on February 20-25, 1996.  Mathieu Kérékou was elected president with 52.5 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on March 18, 1996.  The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent observers to monitor the presidential elections from March 3 to March 19, 1995.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) sent 22 observers to monitor the presidential elections from February 28 to March 6, 1996.  Legislative elections were held on March 30, 1999, and the Party for the Rebirth of Benin (Parti de la Renaissance du Benin-PRB) won 27 out of 83 seats in the National Assembly.  The Party for Democratic Renewal (Parti du Renouveau Democratique-PRD) won 11 seats in the National Assembly.  The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent six observers to monitor the legislative elections from March 25 to April 2, 1999.  President Mathieu Kérékou of the Action Front for Renewal and Deevlopment (Front d’Action pour le Renouveau et le Developpement-FARD) was re-elected as president with 45 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections held on March 4, 2001 and 84 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on March 18, 2001.  Nicephore Soglo of the PRB and Adrien Houngbedji of the PRD boycotted the second round of presidential elections.  The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent observers to monitor the presidential elections.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) sent a nine-member pre-election assessment mission to the country on December 10-17, 2002.  Legislative elections were held on March 30, 2003, and the Presidential Movement (Mouvance Presidentielle-MP) won 52 out of 83 seats in the National Assembly.  The Benin Rebirth Party (Parti de la Renaissance du Benin-PRB) won 15 seats in the National Assembly.  The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent observers to monitor the legislative elections.  Dr. Yayi Boni, an independent, was elected president with 75 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on March 19, 2006.  The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent observers to monitor the presidential elections.  Dr. Yayi Boni was inaugurated as president on April 6, 2006.  President Yayi Boni survived an assassination attempt near the town of Parakou on March 15, 2007.  Legislative elections were held on March 31, 2007, and the Cowry Forces for an Emerging Benin (Forces Cauris pour un Bénin Emergent-FCBE) won 35 out of 83 seats in the National Assembly.  The Alliance for a Democratic Dynamic (Alliance pour une Dynamique Démocratique-ADD) won 20 seats in the National Assembly.  President Yayi Boni was re-elected with 53 percent of the vote in the first round of elections held on March 13, 2011.  The Constitutional Court confirmed the results of the recent president election on March 21, 2011.  The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent seven observers led by Pierre Buyoya of Burundi to monitor the presidential election.  Legislative elections were held on April 30, 2011, and the Cowry Forces for an Emerging Benin (Forces Cauris pour un Bénin Emergent-FCBE) won 41 out of 83 seats in the National Assembly.  The Union Makes Nations (L’Union fait la NationUN) won 30 seats in the National Assembly.  The African Union (AU) sent observers led by Nagoum Yamassoum of Chad to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from March 2 to May 1, 2011.  The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sent observers to monitor the presidential and legislative elections.  On October 22, 2011, three individuals were arrested for plotting to poison President Yayi Boni.  The government disrupted a plot by Colonel Pamphile Zomahoun and Johannes Dagnon to overthrow President Yayi Boni on March 4, 2013.

[Sources: Africa Contemporary Record (ACR), 1978-1979, 1990-1992; Africa Diary, October 8-14, 1979; Africa Research Bulletin (ARB), December 1-31, 1969, October 1-31, 1972, November 1, 1972, January 1-31, 1977, February 1-28, 1977, March 1-31, 1977, April 1-30, 1977, December 1-31, 1979, February 1-29, 1980, May 15, 1988, February 15, 1989, September 15, 1989; Agence France Presse (AFP), March 13, 2011, April 30, 2011; Banks and Muller, 1998, 91-98; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), December 15, 2002, March 31, 2003, March 5, 2006, March 14, 2006, March 20, 2006, March 23, 2006, March 16, 2007, March 21, 2011, October 22, 2012, March 4, 2013; Decalo, 1976, 38-85; Degenhardt, 1988, 24; Dupoy and Dupoy, 1977, 1324; Facts on File, March 12-18, 1964, April 25-May 1, 1968, August 8-14, 1968, March 29, 1975, February 12, 1977, April 2, 1977; Jessup, 1998, 67-68; Keesing’s Record of World Events, January 22-29, 1966, March 9-16, 1968, October 12-19, 1968, June 3-10, 1972, November 4-11, 1972, March 24-30, 1975, February 8, 1980, August 1989, March 1991; Langer, 1972, 1267; National Democratic Institute (NDI) statement, February 26, 1996, March 6, 1996; New York Times (NYT), January 17, 1977, January 18, 1977, February 4, 1977, February 8, 1977, February 9, 1977, April 15, 1977, December 9, 1989, December 13, 1989, December 14, 1989, December 15, 1989, March 10, 1991, March 11, 1991, March 12, 1991, March 26, 1991, March 2, 1996, March 4, 1996, March 6, 1996, March 20, 1996; Xinhua News Agency (XNA), March 15, 2011.]