By SIMON MUNTEMBA
FAILURE by the continental regional bodies like ECOWAS, African Union and SADC to take a strong stance against the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Africa emboldens those willing to replicate coups in other nations, Africa Centre for Innovative Governance (ACIG) chairperson, Nevers Mumba has warned.
Condemning the military takeovers in Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Guinea and Sudan, Dr Mumba said the growing number of “coup d’etats” in Africa was posing not only a threat to democracy but also poses a threat to peace and stability.
He said in a statement that it was worrying that within 18 months, African military leaders have toppled the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Guinea and Sudan, while the continental regional bodies have lamentably failed to stop or reverse the coups.
Dr Mumba said the continental regional bodies were not only weak but uninspiring as they seem to have no capacity to stop or reverse a coup.
He warned that the continental regional bodies’ continued ineptness would inspire those willing to replicate coups in other nations.
“The response of both ECOWAS and AU are for the most part uninspiring. It appears to us that although both bodies have stated their position of anti-military coups, they seem to have no capacity to stop or reverse a coup. This emboldens those who would like to replicate this type of action in other nations.
“The continental regional bodies like ECOWAS, SADC, East African Community and the African Union itself are too weak to police these undemocratic activities,” Dr Mumba said.
He cited Zimbabwe under the late Robert Mugabe as one clear example of how SADC failed to have an honest conversation with the late Zimbabwean President about what was brewing in his country.
To the contrary, he said, they praised him as a hero until his own army brought him down.
Dr Mumba said the AU must not only condemn military takeovers but work on avoiding them.
He said the regional body must have enough clout to reverse the development in a few days and place such a country on a path back to democracy.
“Unless Africa resolves to fight for working democracies on the continent, soon, other nations shall follow suit and Africa could slide back into the old dark, retrogressive ages of military coups,” Dr Mumba warned.
He added, “Until the AU, and other regional bodies start to ensure that coup leaders don’t benefit personally, and also ends its bias and support of incumbent governments even when they become corrupt, dictatorial, and depart from the rule of law and democratic tenets, we may, as a continent, struggle to stop this rising tide of military take overs.”
Dr Mumba said the AU, must, therefore, take a more proactive and effective approach as the current path has failed Africans.