Juste Codjo’s Contributions for Institutional Reforms in Benin
In the spring of 2016, Juste Codjo (PhD 2017) made significant contributions to a discourse on institutional reforms in his West African home country of Benin. He was the guest of more than 10 televised shows on five different TV channels. He also participated in a dozen radio talks on six different stations, and was interviewed by more than five major newspapers in Benin. His accomplishments earned him meetings with and letters of encouragement from high level dignitaries, including former President of Benin Nicephore Soglo, current President of the parliament Adrien Houngbedji, the U.S. Ambassador to Benin, as well as several other figures of the sociopolitical scene in Benin.
The idea of institutional reforms in Benin resulted from a campaign promise made by president-elect Patrice Talon during the March 2016 presidential elections. The proposed reforms included, among others, a limitation of presidential terms from two to one, allocation of public financing to political parties, and the selection of members of the Constitutional Court by judges and legal scholars. According to their proponent, these measures would reduce the dictatorial tendency of the president, lower the number of political parties, and increase the impartiality of the Constitutional Court.
Between March and July 2016, Juste provided a series of critical analyses of the proposed reforms. He showed the limitations of the new administration’s proposals, and offered alternative solutions. His suggestions are contained in a book he published in May 2016 and titled Consencratie: Un modèle de démocratie consensuelle adapté aux réalités du Bénin (Consencracy: A Model of Consensual Democracy Tailored to the Realities of Benin). The first half of the book examines the impacts of Benin’s sociological, socioeconomic, and geopolitical conditions on public governance while showing the consequences of the country’s political institutions given this context. The second half outlines a set of institutional arrangements that would improve public governance in this environment.
Juste’s suggestions about institutional reforms and his political analyses were widely publicized in Benin and beyond. Some of his media appearances can be accessed on his webpage at https://works.bepress.com/juste-codjo/.