Civil Society Group Decries Civilian, Military Coups In Africa

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The United Action Front of Civil Society (UAFCS) has issued a stern warning regarding the alarming rise of both civilian and military coups in various African nations, emphasizing the perilous consequences posed to democracy across the continent.

These coups have created instability and uncertainty, prompting regional and international efforts to restore democracy and stability. Multiple African countries have experienced a series of coups since August 2020.

In a press statement, ‘Wale Okunniyi, the Head of the National Coordinating Centre for UAFCS, expressed profound concern about the recent surge in coup activities. He condemned these coups as detrimental to the hard-fought victories for democracy in Africa, achieved after the pro-democracy movements of the 1980s and 1990s.

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Okunniyi stressed that military interventions should never be seen as a legitimate alternative to flawed elections and compromised judiciaries. He pointed to recent coups in Gabon and Niger as alarming signs of the decline of democracy in Africa.

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“In Gabon and Niger, we witness the frustration stemming from the manipulation of electoral processes by the political elite and the undermining of the judiciary,”
Okunniyi stated. “If military coups gain popularity among citizens as an alternative to corrupt civilian rule, African democracy is in jeopardy.”

The UAFCS head called upon political actors to cease undermining democratic institutions, manipulating elections, and exerting pressure on the judiciary. He emphasized the necessity for genuine commitment to the democratization process, including the independence of electoral bodies and the judiciary.

Okunniyi warned, “Those who subvert democratic processes unwittingly pave the way for military interventions. Democracy can only thrive when electoral bodies and the judiciary operate independently, conducting free and fair elections.”

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Furthermore, Okunniyi cautioned that the Nigerian judiciary must urgently address grievances arising from flawed electoral processes within the country. Failure to do so could provide an incentive for military intervention, threatening peace and stability.

He urged the Nigerian political class to learn from the recent coups in Niger and Gabon and take immediate corrective action before it’s too late.

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