AU Explores Continental Response to Rising Coups in Africa

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union is holding a discussion in Ghana’s capital focusing on finding solutions in addressing the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government in Africa.

The ongoing discussion came after the continent experienced “waves” of coups in recent months, forcing the African Union to suspend four nations – Sudan, Mali, Republic of Guinea and Burkina Faso from membership.

“It is sad to say that, today, in the history of the African Union, since its establishment, it is the first time for four Member States to be on suspension at the same time,” said Mafa Sejanamane, Permanent Representative of Lesotho to the AU.

This is a wake up call for Africa and its organizations, from the national to the continental levels, to seriously reflect on governance structures, stressed Sejanamane, who is also Chairperson of the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of March 2022.

Organized by PSC, the forum is reflecting on the phenomenon of unconstitutional changes of government in Africa with the aim of proffering enduring solutions to the problem.

Addressing the gathering, President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo said “coups have never been and will never be the solution to Africa’s problems”.

He called on the need for “effective deterrence, bold actions and adequate preventive measures”.

Participants of three-day long forum have so far reflected on different aspects of the phenomenon including triggers for the resurgence of unconstitutional changes, and continental response mechanisms, according to the AU.

They also discussed managing complex political transitions arising out of military takeover, and consolidated strategies and structured solutions to address unconstitutional changes of government.

Speaking on behalf of Macky Sall, President of Senegal and current Chairperson of the AU, Ambassador Mohammed Thiaw specified that unconstitutional changes of government represent a reversal of significant social, political and economic gains accrued since the year 1990.

“They bear serious implications for security, democratic consolidation and socio-economic transformation and must be addressed through strengthened democratic institutions and human security,” he added.

The Forum, which will end later today, is expected to adopt an Accra Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa.

The declaration will be presented to the next AU Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government, scheduled to take place in Equatorial Guinea’s capital Malabo in May 2022.