By Sunday Ani
Following the current spate of military coup d’etat in Africa, the African Director, International Association of World Peace Advocates (IAWPA), Dr. John Metchie, has urged the African leaders to avoid actions that could lead to catastrophe and bloodshed, noting that the concern of world body was the safety, welfare and peace of ordinary citizens of the continent.
Metchie further warned African leaders not allow their political shenanigans degenerate into wars, and other social crises that could impoverish the people, who are already wallowing in hunger, disease, lack of quality education and medicare and unemployment among other social ills.
Democracy in Africa has come under a serious threat in recent times with military coups taking place in some African countries, the latest being Wednesday’s military putsch in Gabo, where President Ali Bong’s government was toppled by young military officers, who are currently holding him, his wife and son in solitary confinement.
Earlier, coup plotters have removed the civilian administrations in Chad, Sudan, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic.
Reacting to the coups, some western countries including France and the United States of American have described the development as unacceptable, warning the various juntas to vacate office and restore democratically elected governments. But their calls and threats have fallen on deaf ears, as the military governments in those countries have gone ahead to consolidate their grips on power.
In the case of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic, there are reports that Russia and some of its allies are backing the military brass and has promised to defend them in case of attempts to forcefully remove them either by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forces or individual governments; a development that has created panic among citizens of the affected countries and their neighbours who fear possible outbreak of internal crisis and even wars.
But, reacting to the development in a statement on Friday, a copy of which was made available to the Daily Sun, Dr. Metchie who is also the Deputy Commander General of the Nigeria Hunters and Forest Security Service (NHFSS), in charge of Technical Service, said it has taken him this long to react to the forceful overthrow of civilian presidents in many countries, especially within the west and central African subregions, due to the complexities associated with the development.
He,however, said it was becoming clear by the day that there seems to be a deliberate plan by some military and political forces from within and outside the continent to trigger a realignment of governance order in Africa. He warned that the gladiators must be made to avoid causing social upheavals that would inflame the continent and consume the population especially children, women and the vulnerable.
Metchie, therefore, called on the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional blocs in the continent, to as a matter of urgency, schedule meetings where the burning issues could be tabled with a view of finding peaceful and lasting solutions that would avert destructions.
He identified bad governance, injustice, corruption and refusal of sit-tight leaders to vacate office when due, as some of the reasons for the political instability rocking the continent, saying that Africa must return to the part of true democracy where leaders are elected through credible processes, accountability, justice, transparency and selfless service to the people.
He said: “It is with great concern and pain in my heart that I, on behalf of IAWPA, want to address the current developments in West Africa, Central Africa and other parts of the continent, where there have been incidences of forceful takeover of governments by the military of the various countries.
“Sudan, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger Republic and most recently, Gabon are some of the countries in issue. In all these, my major concern is the safety, wellbeing and peace of the people of these areas, who are obviously living in fear, and are on panic mode, not knowing what next would befall them.
“Beyond the shenanigans of local politicians and their international sponsors and collaborators, the wellbeing of the people should be the utmost concern to African leaders.
“It has become obvious, or so it seems, that this whole chess game is a deliberate plan by some military and political forces from within and outside the continent to trigger a realignment of governance order in Africa. But, even if we can’t help with immediate solution, the gladiators on either sides of the divide must be made to avoid triggering social crises and upheavals that would inflame the continent, worsen the terrible fate as well as consume the people of Africa, especially children, women and the vulnerable.
“Political chess players bidding for the soul of Africa should appreciate the fact that people of the continent are already worn out with the heavy burden and yoke they bear as they struggle through all forms of deprivations, including but not limited to poverty, diseases, lack of water, toiletries, shelter and decent clothing.
“If the west, Europe, Asia and others cannot help alleviate the sufferings of the African people, they should also not compound or add to their misery through political adventures, or instigate crisis in order to sell or test new weapons of war as that would only worsen the already miserable condition of Africans,” Metchie said. He called on African leaders to rise to the occasion by finding local solutions in order to nip the situation before the worst happens.
“It is on this note that I call on well-meaning Africans, especially the committee of elders, African Union, ECOWAS and other regional blocs, to as a matter of urgency, call for meetings in order to address the issues leading to these coups.
“In addition, African leaders should begin to purge themselves of leadership of impunity, selfishness, indifference to the feeling of the people, corruption and injustice, among such other adult delinquencies, as ways of earning confidence of the people they govern,” Metchie concluded.
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