Coups are not the panaceas to Africa’s hydra-headed challenges – Ablakwa
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament of North Tongu, has reiterated that coup d’états are not the panaceas to Africa’s hydra-headed and intractable socio-economic challenges.
He said although the promised democratic dividend had remained largely elusive on the African continent, democratic governance was the best system for the Continent.
He said the only real solution to the coup epidemics could not be the African Union (AU) or ECOWAS’ sanctions, and that African leaders need to develop an urgent bold, and resolved master plan to address regionally insecurity, acute unemployment, lack of opportunities for the youth, marginalization, corruption, nepotism, proliferation of arms, insurgencies, dictatorship, economic mismanagement, foreign exploitation, and clueless leadership.
Mr Ablakwa said this on the floor of Parliament in his statement: dubbed “The Disturbing Resurgence of Coup d’états in Africa”.
He said Africa’s version of democracy, which had been a sham at best in many jurisdictions, had rather produced a political and economic elite; beholding to nepotism, corruption, opulence, and high-handedness, which often leads to blatant disregard for the rule of law could not be kept in place.
“Mr Speaker, it is time for the African Union and other sub-regional bodies such as ECOWAS to institute an independent monitoring and evaluation system that assesses the democratic health, stability, and economic wellbeing of member states for a frank peer review as a proactive measure to forestall all coups.”
He maintained that these independent assessments must be conducted regularly by credible African CSOs or Foundations in a transparent and a scientific manner; adding that their findings must be made public to enrich the African democratic discourse and also to assure citizens that their leaders were paying attention to what really matters to them.
This, he said, would go a long way to remove the perception that AU/ECOWAS Leaders have become a “Big Boys’ Club”, which was only interested in regime protection.
He said within the short space of nine months, West Africa had witnessed successful coups in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and a fourth apparent failed attempt in Guinea Bissau on February 1.
Mr Ablakwa said the coup generally does not appear to be an entirely West African phenomenon, and that Niger, Sudan, and Zimbabwe had registered themselves in the list of coup d’états in recent years.
He said since 1999, Africa often experienced four successful coups in one calendar year, as it was witnessed in 2021, which had led to a grave concern with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, describing the situation as ‘An epidemic of coup d’états’.
“Mr Speaker the tidal waves of coup d’états set off by the Togolese soldiers in 1963 seems to roll on unabated even in 2022. Since the first coup on the African continent, there has been an average of 25 coups every decade between the 1960s and 90s,” he said.
Mr Ablakwa said one would have thought that with the advent of the new world order, these democratic set-backs would have become a feature of the past; thus, a world order which places a premium on democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights, strong institutions and the increasing using of economic and political sanctions on those who falter.
He said ironically, it was this new western backed world order, which had led to more coups, particularly in West Africa.
Mr Ablakwa said the West African subregion had been a hotbed of coups; and that it had so far held the dubious record of maintaining the league in coups.
He said so far it seems that apart from Carbo Verde, every single country in West Africa had experienced a coup.
He said ECOWAS had adopted a high-handed post-coup approach including individual and collective sanctions, suspension of membership, and threats of military invasion in dealing with these occurrences; adding that these measures had not served as adequate deterrence.
Mr Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the Second Deputy Speaker, presiding as Speaker, said no matter the situation African countries were better off being a democracy.
Contributors to the debate from both sides of the House condemned coups and called for the deepening of democracy on the African continent.
Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, the MP for Abuakwa South Constituency, noted that coup d’états were receipts for lawlessness.
Mr Ibrahim Murtala Muhammed, the MP for Tamale Central, said there could be no justification in the overthrow of any democratically elected government.