In the last couple of years, several coups have taken place in Africa. This unprecedented situation has raised questions with regards to adherence to rule of law, practice of democracy, leadership qualities and compliance to the constitution of African countries. The ultimate question begging for genuine answer is, why coup d’etat?
A deep reflection into possible causes points to flagrant disrespect to rule of law, total display of authoritarianism while claiming to practice democracy. On August 30th 2023, military officers ousted President Ali Bongo of Gabon who altered the nation’s constitution in pursuit of third term in office. In addition, he shut down the nation’s internet service on the eve of the election and restored it after being fraudulently declared winner against the wish of the people. The coup represents the eighth since 2020 in West and Central Africa.
In July 2023, President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger who failed to use the resources generated from sale of uranium for the benefit of the people of Niger was also removed from office. Mali, Guinea, Burkina-Faso, Chad have all witnessed coup d’etat recently. It is worthy of note that many richly blessed nations in Africa unfortunately has extremely cruel, greedy and corrupt leaders who siphon the resources of the country, buy over the electoral umpire, judiciary and security apparatus of the state. Few days ago, the military junta in Niger increased the purchasing price of Uranium from £0.8/Kg to.£200/kg asking France and other western nations to buy elsewhere if the price is exorbitant, indicating that her former leader has been conniving with France to short-change the people.
It must be clearly stated that rigging Presidential elections which leads to imposition have started receiving total rejection by the people. This situation occurred in Nigeria’s Presidential election on 25th February 2023, where the electoral umpire claimed to have a glitch which affected only results of Presidential election but did not affect that of the National Assembly. Till date, no prudent explanation has been given to the Nigerian people on what transpired. INEC Chairman Prof. Mamood declared at Chatham house London and during engagements with leaders of political parties that the results will be uploaded on real time in the iRev server to the full glare of the world so as to encourage transparency but that he failed to do but resorted to manual collation of result. Quite shameful! An election that engulfed almost ₦400billion could not provide credible result rather the worst election in Nigeria’s history. This places glaring integrity questions on Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidency.
African leaders must acknowledge that the people are rising up to take back their continent. Politicians with ill-gotten wealth will no longer be allowed to use such to the detriment of the people, buying off the electoral umpire, judiciary and security agencies of government. It is time for free, fair and credible elections in Africa, allow the will of the people to prevail as such will greatly prevent future coup d’etat.