Renowned Ghanaian security expert, Professor Kwesi Aning says the leadership of the West African sub-region need to ensure its member states comply with ECOWAS provisions lest the continent experience two more coup d’états before the end of the year.
The Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) attributed the coup staged by Guinea’s elite Special Forces on Sunday, September 5, 2021, to a failure of leadership in the sub-region and on the entire African continent.
He stated, whilst speaking on the recent military takeover in Guinea on Joynews’ PM express monitored by GhanaWeb, that barring the enforcement of stringent measures by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) in ensuring compliance to laid down conventions, the sub-region may witness two more coup events by December.
“What has happened in Guinea is painful. It is something that could have been prevented. It is unnecessary, however not surprising that it has taken place. What we are witnessing is a failure of leadership across our continent.
“If we don’t step in and correct the whip and ensure that member states indeed comply with what they have signed on to, by December, you and I would be having this conversation with respect to two more coup d’etats,” he said.
The continent of Africa within a year has experienced three coups and one attempted government takeover.
Mali alone witnessed two with the recent event in Guinea becoming the latest incident of government topple in a year. There was also a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Niger on March 31, 2021.
Several of the comments shared in the aftermath of the coup in Guinea have attributed the seeming emergence of coup d’etats in Africa to a failure on the part of governing bodies on the continent.
According to such critics, the likes of ECOWAS and AU have persistently failed to condemn civilian heads of state who seek to extend their presidential terms through the manipulation of constitutions.
A Ranking Member on Ghana’s Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa in a Facebook post said the development in Guinea is proof that “the AU, and ECOWAS have just become a club where you can do whatever you want.”
According to the Member of Parliament, leaders of the continent governing bodies by their refusal to condemn their peers who seek to overstay their term are to blame for the development.
He warned that Africa may be plunged back into the era of rampant coup d’etats if the right measures are not taken.
“The disturbing developments in Guinea which come after recent similar undesirable military interventions in Mali, Chad and Sudan must remind African leaders that the coup era of the 1960s to 80s may sadly return if the unwarranted thirst for third-termism, corruption, joblessness, poverty, manipulation of constitutions, profligacy of the ruling elite and naked impunity are not curbed.
Instead of waiting late in the day to threaten sanctions on failed democracies, regional and sub-regional blocs such as AU, ECOWAS, SADC and EAC should be boldly proactive in calling out their peers on the wrong track and demanding good governance that meets the expectations of the masses, particularly African youth,” he added.
“African leaders can start by condemning their colleagues amending their constitutions to enable them stand for third terms, isolating offending politicians and refusing to attend their coronation ceremonies instead of the unprincipled support for Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Uganda, Guinea, Comoros, Djibouti, Togo, Chad, Congo and Cameroon in flagrant violation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. If the AU and ECOWAS had not conveniently hidden behind non-interference in internal politics and exhibited courage by stopping President Conde’s third term agenda a couple of years back, this weekend’s explosion would have been averted,” his post read in part.
Guinea’s Alpha Conde was first elected as President in 2010 and was re-elected in 2015 for what was supposed to be his last term in an election in which his opponents claimed was characterized by fraud and rigging.
The President in the latter parts of his term in 2020 set aside Guinea’s presidential term limit and was re-elected for a third term leading to street demonstrations in the country.