Reckya Madougou, the first female presidential candidate that Benin Republic has produced since the country gained sovereignty in 1960 has now been arrested and detained for conniving to “assassinate several political figures”. This is according to the statement made by a government spokesman on Monday.
Madougou is also the first female leader of the largest opposition party in the West African country. Her candidacy for the presidential election scheduled to hold on April 11 was rejected by the electoral commission on Thursday for failing to get signatures of support from 16 mayors or MPs.
The country’s descent into autocracy under the control of President Patrice Talon has caused many opposition figures to go into exile. Some other opposition members have been barred from office in the country.
In a brief meeting with reporters, Alain Orounla said that Madougou is the sponsor behind heinous crimes being orchestrated by some citizens in the country.
In his words:
“Compatriots who were preparing to commit crimes have designated Reckya Madougou as their sponsor.”
46-year-old Madougou, who is the head of the Les Démocrates party, was also accused of planning a political assassination.
“She was planning to assassinate several political figures,” he continued as he stressed that it was a “very serious offence of terrorism”.
The politician was arrested on Wednesday in Porto-Nov while in the company of Joël Aivo, another opposition candidate, who escaped at the time of the arrest.
Lawyer Renaud Agbodjo, when spoken to, said that Madougou was “indicted for financing terrorism”. He further said that an investigation was open, but that no trial was “in sight for now”.
A total of 20 aspiring candidates officially handed in their documents to run for the presidency. However, the electoral commission said only the three chosen had met the requirements.
There is Talon who is a cotton magnate. He was elected into office in 2016. He said at the time he wanted to serve a single term only until he changed his mind and announced his candidacy for the April vote in the middle of January.
He will be contending against the former minister, Alassane Soumano and Corentin Kohoue, a prominent opposition figure.
There is also Sebastien Ajavon, a key opposition leader who came in third in the last election. He was convicted of drug trafficking in 2018 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was sentenced in absentia on Monday to five years for forgery and fraud.
Ajavon, like many of the country’s opposition members, is currently living in exile in France.