Military coups are not the solutions to multi-facet problems bedevil African countries. The solution before the poorly developed continent are: strengthening our constitutional democracies, abolishing the rule by dynasties where few leaders want to rule for eternity, promoting good governance and set agenda for foreign powers.
The recent military coup in Gabon which ousted or brought to an end the Bago’s ruling dynasty did not come to many people as surprise. The Gabon coup which is eight in quick successor since 2020 comes at a wrong time when African regional bloc, ECOWAS, has failed to diplomatically resolve the coup in Niger republic and reinstate the dethroned democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazou. There is no gainsaying the facts, baring any change of plan, ECOWAS which has since inaugurated its Standby-Force will wage a war to dislodge the junta and restore democracy in Sahelian country. The military coup which is sweeping across the African countries like hurricane reveals how representative democracy has failed the black continent. Military regime has never become an alternative to democracy. In the early 80’s when the khaki men held sway across several African countries, there was neither record of good governance nor socio-economy development. The military regimes were accused of corruption, inequalities, brazen abuse of human rights, embezzlement of public resources resulted in massive poverty and above all muzzling of press freedom.
In as much as military regimes had failed the black nations, so also the constitutional democracies. When the Western countries packaged and handed democracy to Africa, they did so with the believe that, the sets of rules and regulations governing it would be judiciously implemented. For instance, in a constitutional democracy, there must be a free, fair and periodic elections. The system also sets term limits for an elected leaders. However, these set of rules and regulations for the success of the system are not only strictly adhered for, but also abused with impunity. African leaders, through constitutional amendment, ensure they bend rules to elongate their tenure in power. Even the electoral umpires which are statutory empowered to conduct free and fair elections are forced to declare false result under duress by power that may be. Therefore, elections in Africa are characterised by violence, voters inducement and systematic rigging.
There are many reasons for military incursion into democracy in Africa. There is no doubt, the qualities of democracy are at lower ebb. This can be seen through an entrenched and wide spread of poverty, disease, insecurity, unemployment, inequalities and corruption. Besides, the Sit-tism syndrome in which some African leaders spent many years in power and refuse to vacate their position even if roughly defeated at polls must have contributed greatly to the ongoing or imminent coups threatening the African Continent. With the exception of some West African countries including: Nigeria, Ghana and South-Africa etc, where periodic elections are being conducted, other African countries witness the reign of civilian dictators who turned to alpha and Omega. The power struggle between Africa former colonists’ and new world super power consist up Russian and China is another red flag that engineered military Coups in Africa. The Sahelian African countries hit by military Coups are francophone. The coupists have accused their former colonist (FRANCE),for exploiting their natural resources without improving the socio-economy development of their respective countries. Russian and China which want to take the advantages of the coups are lurking around to strike for natural resources.
Military coups are not the solutions to multi-facet problems bedevil African countries. The solution before the poorly developed continent are: strengthening our constitutional democracies, abolishing the rule by dynasties where few leaders want to rule for eternity, promoting good governance and set agenda for foreign powers. These measures if faithfully adopted, would serve as a compass that will help to navigate the continent’s troubles and keep our militaries in barracks.
IBRAHIM MUSTAPHA PAMBEGUA, KADUNA STATE. 08169056963.