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ECOWAS, AU Must Tackle Rising Military Coups In Africa – Prof. Omotola

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A professor of Political Science at the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti, Shola Omotola has advised the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU) to take proactive steps in steming the rising issues of military coups in the African Continent.

Prof. Omotola gave the advice in a presentation on recent military coups in Africa at the Centre of African Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

According to the Professor, ECOWAS and AU “remain the two most important stakeholders in dealing with the reincarnation of coups on the continent.”

He said Africa is facing the third wave of coups, which is posing serious threats to the institutionalization of politics and power.

In his words “In the last three years, specifically from 2020, Africa has experienced at least nine coups: two in Burkina Faso, two in Mali, one in Chad (controversial though), one in Guinea, one in Niger, one in Gabon and one in Sudan.

“The Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU) remain the two most important stakeholders in dealing with the reincarnation of coups on the continent. Apart from their statutory responsibility to fight against all forms of unconstitutional change of governments (UCGs) as elaborately codified in their anti-coup norms, both also have a long history and experience in dealing with military coups.

“However, the changing dynamics, form and character of the third wave of coups dictate that while past experience may be handy, it may not be sufficient in addressing the recent coups, he stated.

“The failure to recognize the shifting nature of military coups under the third wave, throwing up new issues and different challenges, including their prevalence in a given post-colonial space (over 85% of recent coups took place in ex-French colonies); ‘street dimensions’ (open demonstration of anti-French sentiments by both state and non-state actors, as well as the increasing popularity of coups via popular demand for intervention before and/or enthusiasm after); and increasing defiance of the putschists in antagonizing and/or rejecting regional interventions, in addition to other factors such as inconsistencies in application of regional norms and contradictions inherent in the military juntas, lies at the heart of the ineffectiveness of official responses to these coups.

“To restore sustainable democratization, regional responses must recognize these issues and establish a balance between past experiences, anti-coup norms and emerging realities.

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