Ranking Member on Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs has urged leaders across the continent to call out other Presidents who embark on schemes to overstay their tenure.
According to Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, heads of state who review constitutions to allow themselves to remain in office must be called out.
“Instead of waiting late in the day to threaten sanctions on failed democracies, regional and sub-regional blocs such as AU, ECOWAS, SADC and EAC should be boldly proactive in calling out their peers on the wrong track and demanding good governance that meets the expectations of the masses, particularly African youth,” he said.
His comment comes after Guinean special forces seized power in a coup, arrested the president, and promised to change the country’s political makeup.
The now-ousted President Alpha Conde, in October 2020, won a controversial third term, but only after pushing through a new constitution in March 2020 allowing him to side step the country’s two-term limit.
The 82-year-old’s bid for a third term had been condemned by the opposition and described as an abuse of power.
But his inauguration was graced by prominent personalities across the world including Presidents from the African continent.
Other recent military takeovers in Mali, Chad and Sudan have ensued ahead of Guinea’s takeover.
But North Tongu Member of Parliament believes the practice whereby African leaders indulge in gestures such as gracing the inauguration ceremonies of these perpetrators emboldens them.
“African leaders can start by condemning their colleagues amending their constitutions to enable them stand for third terms, isolating offending politicians and refusing to attend their coronation ceremonies instead of the unprincipled support…”
This situation, he suggested, infuriates the citizens which in turn leads to unrest and the possibility of coup d’etats.
“If the AU and ECOWAS had not conveniently hidden behind non-interference in internal politics and exhibited courage by stopping President Conde’s third term agenda a couple of years back, this weekend’s explosion would have been averted,” he said.
While urging for the safe release of the Guinean President, Mr Ablakwa called on the African regional intergovernmental organizations “to learn from the EU which has been loud and clear with their criticism of two member countries; Hungary and Poland over rule of law concerns.”
Read the full statement here:
Guinea’s Déjà vu and Exorcising Africa’s Coup Jinx
The disturbing developments in Guinea which comes after recent similar undesirable military interventions in Mali, Chad and Sudan must remind African leaders that the coup era of the 1960s to 80s may sadly return if the unwarranted thirst for third-termism, corruption, joblessness, poverty, manipulation of constitutions, profligacy of the ruling elite and naked impunity are not curbed.
Instead of waiting late in the day to threaten sanctions on failed democracies, regional and sub regional blocs such as AU, ECOWAS, SADC and EAC should be boldly proactive in calling out their peers on the wrong track and demanding good governance that meets the expectations of the masses, particularly African youth.
African leaders can start by condemning their colleagues amending their constitutions to enable them stand for third terms, isolating offending politicians and refusing to attend their coronation ceremonies instead of the unprincipled support for Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, Uganda, Guinea, Comoros, Djibouti, Togo, Chad, Congo and Cameroon in flagrant violation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. If the AU and ECOWAS had not conveniently hidden behind non-interference in internal politics and exhibited courage by stopping President Conde’s third term agenda a couple of years back, this weekend’s explosion would have been averted.
African regional intergovernmental organizations would do well to learn from the EU which has been loud and clear with their criticism of two member countries: Hungary and Poland over rule of law concerns.
Another tragic but unsurprising episode in the contemporary African narrative.
As we pray for Guinea to return to stability and hope for the safe release of Alpha Condé may we all be reminded and be rededicated to the unfinished African reconstruction project.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
[MP, North Tongu
Ranking Member, Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs]
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