Let’s begin with the postulations of Barack Hussein Obama, an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the first African-American president. Obama famously posited: “I am in my second term”. “I can find other ways to serve. Nothing will unlock Africa’s economic potential more than ending the cancer of corruption.” Furthermore, Obama said he doesn’t understand why presidents try to stay in office for long, especially when they have a lot of money, jokingly. “But I can’t”, Obama said in Ethiopia. He was also very forthright about how it was wrong for leaders to hold onto power for too long. It was, in a historic speech at the African Union AU, Obama spoke strongly against corruption, bad leadership, and economic exploitation of Africa by foreign powers, without naming any countries. But he said there was an “urgent task” facing a continent whose 1 billion people will double in a few decades.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Some fellows just called to describe the perennial cases of coup in Africa in recent times as the French spring. As a matter of fact, when you look at the scenario in Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Niger République and now Gabon, they are right. I have purposed in my mind not to emphasized with politicians who do not care a hoot about democratic values. Therefore, the master key is good governance and respect for the will of the people – which is credible, free and fair elections.
Similar to many African countries with the ballot degenerating into a farcical embarrassment amid fraudulent election, Ali Bongo became President of Gabon after the demise of his father, Omar Bongo, who was Gabonese President for 42 years until his death in 2009. Father and son ruled Gabon for 56 years from 1967. His overthrow would end his family’s 53-year hold on power in Gabon. We have witnessed, firsthand —over 40 years of rudderless wandering in the development inertia —how deep their ineptitude runs. Arguably the Bongos have overstretched their limits thereby making violent change inevitable.
Simply put, by reason of deep introspection, we sure need a different starting point. No matter how we glorify this new wave of West African coup d’etat, premised on some undefined claims —substantiated, maybe —of towering non-observances of democratically elected governments, military rule will NEVER be the better alternative. For anything, a military leader is a de-facto dictator with an easy option to rule for life —except ousted by another bloody coup. Admittedly, there are no elections under a military regime that has significantly address the issues.
If the people feel slighted by the ungainly and tactless way their elected governments have directed their national affairs, they have the full reigns to show them the exit —with a heavy foot in their behinds —in democratic elections, however keenly contested they are. Over time, the power of the people will grow, their voices more emboldened. We are witnessing such events, it is already happening, even here in Nigeria. Every election gets tougher than the last, and the will of the people is more accentuated. Hence, the need to focus on dealing with the disease and not just the symptoms that birth coups.
Let me be very clear: preventive measures such as constitutional democracy, good governance, the well-being of the people, poverty eradication, sustainable human capital development, EQUITY, FAIR PLAY, and JUSTICE should be the priority of any government. That’s the panacea for preventing or deterring military coups. Because once the disease ( military coup) sets in, “dealing” with the disease becomes difficult. That’s why preventive is always better and safer than curative in any circumstance. We shouldn’t even allow the disease in the first place. Hence preventive measures are key. In any case signs (symptoms) of a disease show the presence of the disease.
Likewise, as posited by yours truly in several articles in the past few weeks concerning military intervention, particularly, Niger République, the ECOWAS and African Union authorities need to reappraise their strategy and open a window of diplomatic engagement that will pave the way for the Juntas to return to their barracks. Sadly, the latest coup brings the number of military takeovers in Central and West Africa to eight in just about three years. It is thus, imperative that the leadership of the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS begin to examine the possibilities for subtle diplomacy through an assemblage of African statesmen, particularly former Presidents with a revitalized NEPAD in mind.
In conclusion, Incidentally, the coups that have occurred in West and Central Africa over the last three years have been in Francophone countries. Mali on August 18, 2020, and again on May 24, 2021. Guinea on September 5, 2021. Burkina Faso on January 23, 2022, and again on September 30, 2022. Niger on July 26, 2023, and now Gabon on August 30, 2023. Finally, this contribution that focuses on the prevention of coups in Africa as well as the France elements asked the million dollar question; Is it, “French Spring Or Revolution In Africa”?
Richard Odusanya is a Mind Restructuring Enthusiast.