By Paul Ejime
The regional bloc ECOWAS has brought forward its extraordinary summit to Wednesday to discuss the latest coup in Guinea and the faltering military-led political transition programme in Mali.
Sunday’s military coup toppled the government of President Alpha Conde, who has been detained by the coup makers led by the head of the Presidential Guard, Lt.- Col Amady Doumbouya.
The coupists accused Conde, 83, of corruption, nepotism, constitutional violations and acts that imporished the country.
Conde changed the national constitution to pave way for his third term mandate in last October’s presidential vote, which was marred by violence and the killing of scores of Guineans.
Guinea, a former French colony is rich in priced mineral resources such as gold, diamond, bauxite and iron ore, but the wealth is not felt by the country’s estimated 13 million population.
Col Doumbouya has dissolved Conde’s government and the constitution, imposed night time curfew and closed the country’s borders.
He has also named regional governors and promised a government of national unity.
ECOWAS, the African Union and the UN have all condemned the coup as was the case in Mali which has witnessed two military putsches within one year.
The ECOWAS virtual summit on Wednesday is expected to discuss the political situations in both countries, with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, the regional mediator on Mali, expected to brief ECOWAS leaders on the latest development in that country.
ECOWAS leaders might decide to suspend Guinea as they did Mali and perhaps, activate some economic, financial and trade sanctions against the military rulers.
But this might hurt long-suffering Guineans and amount to shutting the stable after the horse has bolted.
The fact that Africa now faces the threat of Democratic regression and resurgence of military rule is no surprise.
Over the past decade, the AU, UN and ECOWAS, which are now condemning the coup in Guinea have either endorsed or turned a blind eye to electoral frauds and “Constitutional coups” – the fragrant undemocratic amendment of constitutions by the ruling class to remain in power.
With the situation in Guinea, two coups in Mali within one year, military takeover in Chad after the assassination President Idriss Deby and the recent attempted coup in Niger, there is the worrisome observation that West Africa and the Sahel could be sliding back to military dictatorships.
The military has no business in political governance in today’s World.
But those who tolerate constitutional coups must be prepared to live with the consequences of military coups!
The UN, AU, Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and pro-democracy NGOs local and international, must do do more to arrest this dangerous slide.
The citizens must insist on elections with integrity and demand accountability from the ruling class and say no to dictatorships.
They must not encourage election rigging and undemocratic amendments to national constitutions by corrupt politicians and then turn round to jubilate whenever the military strikes.