Coups are not durable solutions to Africa’s problems – President

The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged the interna­tional community to send a clear mes­sage to coup plotters that coups are not durable solutions to Africa’s political, economic and security challenges.

“Statements condemning coups alone without corresponding action will, however, achieve little or noth­ing, as witnessed in recent times. This problem requires collective agreement, effective deterrence, bold action and, equally important, adequate preventive measures,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo said this when he delivered the keynote address at an event organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, in Munich, Germany, on Friday.

According to the President, “there are those who still han­ker after authoritarian, personal rule, because they claim Africa is underdeveloped and democracy is cumbersome, and we need to get things done in a hurry.”

Quoting from the 2019 Annual Risk of Coup Report, he indicat­ed that Africa had experienced more coup d’états than any other continent, which, he said, is “an unsavoury statistic”.

Citing the case of Ghana, President Akufo-Addo noted that political instability described much of the early decades of the nation’s life as an independent nation, and Ghana became notorious for sampling every and any type of political experiment.

“The one-party-state of the First Republic was overthrown in our first military coup, and the Second and Third Republics, which were practising democratic governance, were also overthrown by coup d’états.

“My father, President of the 2nd Republic, was overthrown some 51 years ago, on January 13, 1972. Kutu Acheampong’s coup brought his stay in office to an end,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo said instability instigated the collapse of the economy, and led to the exodus from the country of many citizens and professionals and that the country had not recovered from migration due to difficult situations.”

He noted, however, that for the past 30 years of the 4th Republic, Ghana had enjoyed political stabili­ty under a multi-party constitution, and the longest period of stable, constitutional governance in our hitherto tumultuous history.

The reappearance of coups in Africa, the President stated, in all its forms and manifestations must be condemned by all, since it seri­ously undermines the collective bid to rid the continent of the menace of instability and unconstitutional changes in government.

The collective bid, he said was currently defined by the frame­works enshrined in the Lomé Declaration, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and other important regional and continental instru­ments”.

In as much as drivers of un­constitutional changes are largely domestic, President Akufo-Addo noted that the international dimen­sion could not be overlooked.

“Foreign involvement in fo­menting unconstitutional chang­es, often in favour of repressive governments, foreign economic interests and other would-be geo-political benefits, are contribu­tory factors. Some foreign entities regard coups in African countries as a means of enhancing their regional ambitions,” he said.

In implementing existing con­tinental and regional instruments and protocols, the President noted that defaulting Member States were condemned and suspended from the activities of continental and regional bodies, and individual coup-makers are sanctioned.

“However, the reality is, these sanctions have not been applied uniformly. Whilst we are quick to sanction military coup leaders, civilians, who achieve similar ends via the manipulation of constitu­tions to remain in power, for exam­ple, go without sanctions, although their actions are clearly prohibited in our legal instruments. This means that the existing frameworks need to be strengthened to capture such infractions,” he said.


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