A new wave of coup d’etat has been sweeping across Africa in recent years. At the last count, about six countries in west and central Africa including Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Gabon, among others.
While efforts by ECOWAS were on-going to sort out issues surrounding the military interventions in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso and Niger, another military putsch occurred in Gabon in the Central African sub-region last week.
Surprisingly, the citizens of these countries where coups occurred, took to the streets in celebration.
In fact, the wide jubilation in these coup-hit African nations raises posers as to the kind of governance and democratic credentials of leaders of those countries.
Sadly, some of the leaders in Africa have become problems to their own countries by sitting tight on power for while the citizens languish in penury.
Some of them have been in power for over 30 to 40 years, or even more.
All they do is to hold periodic elections that are most often rigged in favour of the incumbents, most times backed by unscrupulous foreign interests.
Yet, inspite of the new wave of coup d’etat in Africa, the long ‘reigning’ presidents like Paul Biya of Cameroun, (1982), Nguema Mbasago of Equatorial Guinea (since 1979), Yoweri Museveni of Uganda (since 1986), Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea (since 1993), among others.
It is now evident that citizens of many African countries are fade up with perennial bad governance, constantly rigged elections and sit-tight mentality of some of their leaders.
Even though military interventions in political leadership is not acceptable, it is apt to advise that many leaders in Africa should sit up; they must discard the outdated mentality of thinking that they can hold on to power perpetually.
We urge presidents and heads of government in Africa, who have over-stayed their welcome for whatever reasons, to do the needful by quietly handing over power to democratically elected successors.
Again, the practice of changing constitutions on the part of some African leaders in a bid to elongate their tenures in office, should be outlawed by the African Union, A.U, and other sub-regional blocs.
We also urge that elections should be free and fair at all times. Such will prevent incidents of post-election crises and violence that sometimes snowball into wars, or spark military coups.