AU should act firmly over spate of coups d'tat

When President William Ruto hosted the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki at the State House, Nairobi. [PCS]

Even before the world fully comprehends what is going on in Niger where the military deposed President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023, military officers have claimed to have taken power in Gabon.

The military officers announced on Wednesday, shortly after the state election agency declared that President Ali Bongo had won a third term, that they had seized power as the election results lacked credibility.

The Gabonese coup plotters are following in the footsteps of their counterparts not only in Niger, but also in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso Chad and Sudan.

The ongoing trend is, without doubt, most worrying and if no firm action is taken, there is a danger of coups d'état becoming fashionable across the continent as they once were.

There is no shortage of grievances and excuses for any military on the African continent, and in most countries across the world, to oust their government. There is disillusionment due to mismanagement of economies, outright theft by those in power, electoral injustices among them poll rigging, and so forth.

While these problems need solutions, it's warped for those in the military to pretend that they have the solutions that people crave for. The unalloyed truth is that coup plotters are power hungry and their actions ultimately lead to people suffering even more. The self-professed saviours become more dictatorial than those they dislodge. They should not be entertained.

But inaction by African states every time there is a coup is giving soldiers elsewhere ideas. The African Union must send a strong message that coups have no place on the African soil, even if it means deploying the African Standby Force where dialogue fails.

But not only that. It must aggressively promote democracy and sanction those who ascend to power through rigged elections and speak against oppressive regimes. That will be a sure road to more democratic governments. Otherwise, military juntas will keep on sprouting up and protecting each other like Burkina Faso and Mali military governments have promised to in case of any military intervention in Niger.