5th December, 2023
By Abubakar Hashim, Freetown
Just within two years, West African democratic community has been derailed by six coups, four successful, while two failed.
The four countries that had successful coups include Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger. The other two countries that had failed coups are Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.
Mali coup was successful on 24 May, 2021, when Col Assimi Goita toppled late President Ibrahim Keita. Followed by Guinea coup on 5 September, 2021, when President Alpha Conde was toppled by Col Mamady Doumbouya.
A year later on 30 September, 2022, President Paul-Henry Damiba was also toppled out by Captain Ibrahim Traore.
This was followed by the coup in Niger on 26 July, 2023, when President Mohamed Bazoum, still in detention, was toppled by General Abdoulrahmane Tchiani. All the four coups were successful despite widespread condemnation by ECOWAS, AU and the international community.
The other two failed and unsuccessful coups in West Africa include Sierra Leone on 26, November, 2023 and Guinea Bissau last Friday on 1 December, 2023. Both coups failed, investigations ongoing and mass arrests effected.
What is happening today in the ECOWAS zone is condemnable as military rule is outdated and unfashionable.
What is of grave concern, however, is the recent move by Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, to form a loose confederation, with a defence pact already signed.
It appears the military regimes in these countries have consolidated their grip on power, to the extent that the ECOWAS Parliament, under the speakership of Sierra Leone’s Sidi Tunis, is calling for the lifting of economic sanctions on Niger.
It is becoming crystal clear that insecurity is a major threat to democratic rule in West Africa, either in the form of coup d’état, as seen in these six countries, or terrorism and militancy, as seen in Nigeria and beyond.
ECOWAS countries are now boxed in a cubicle, as the pace of coups is on the rise, just within two years, 2021 to 2023. The question now on the lips of many, is where next?