Military Stalls Return To Constitutional Rule In Five African Countries

*By Paul Ejime

Military juntas currently ruling five African countries appear united in conspiracy to delay the transition to constitutional order in Sudan, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Chad, thereby reinforcing the erstwhile theory about the soldiers’ lust for political power.In the first four countries, the army seized power from elected civilian governments through coups within the past 30 months.

In April 2021, 37-year-old Gen. Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, succeeded his assassinated father, President Idriss Déby Itno, who had ruled Chad for more than 30 years.Negotiations are going on in Doha, Qatar, with various rebel groups, but the young Deby-led N’Djamena junta has announced an indefinite postponement of a national reconciliation dialogue previously scheduled for May 10 to precede planned elections to civilian rule.Chad’s Transitional Military Council comprising 15 generals, has since dissolved Parliament, dismissed the government and abrogated the national Constitution, but has failed to disclose when the twice-postponed national dialogue will start.

TheQatari mediators are struggling to make progress on the Chadian talks, with the junta and some 250 representatives of 50 armed movements refusing to talk directly to each other.A Wakit Tamma platform, which brings together the vast majority of the unarmed opposition in N’Djamena, has also suspended its participation in the preparation of the Dialogue, accusing the junta of deliberately provoking the “stalemate” in Doha and “perpetuating violence by the security forces and human rights violations.”Sudan is facing a similar delay following strong disagreements between pro-democracy groups protesting the October 2021 coup led by General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan. That putsch dislodged the transitional government formed after al-Burhan and his fellow army officers seized power in 2019 following mass protests against now deposed President Omar Al-Bashir.Major elections planned for next year in Sudan are now overshadowed by uncertainty, with anti-coup protesters resisting al-Burhan’s regime, which has forged an alliance with the National Congress Party former by al-Bashir.While France the former colonial power in Mali, the European Union and the African Union, have condemned the coups elsewhere in Africa, they have endorsed Chad’s Mahamat Déby, who has been received as head of state in Europe and elsewhere.However, there is a different attitude toward Mali, which has endured two coups in less than two years from August 2020.

ECOWAS, the West African regional bloc has slammed unprecedented sanctions on the country, including financial squeeze, border closure and travel ban on the Bamako junta. The U.S., France and the EU have also suspended military assistance and cooperation with Mali.

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