The African Director of the International Association of World Peace Advocates (IAWPA), Ambassador John Metchie, has reacted to the new surge of military coups in Africa, saying the main concern of the world body is the safety, welfare and peace of ordinary citizens of the continent.
The IAWPA African Director therefore urged African leaders to ensure that their political shenanigans do not degenerate into wars and other social crises that would further impoverish the people whom he said are currently wallowing in hunger, disease, lack of quality education and Medicare as well as unemployment and other social denials.
There has been a huge wave of coups in recent times in parts of Africa including the most recent one in Gabon where President Ali Bongo was kicked out of office by military officers who also held him, his wife and son in solitary confinement.
Earlier, coup plotters have removed civilian administrations in Chad, Sudan, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic.
Reacting to the coups, France, the United States and other Western countries said the development was not acceptable and warned the various juntas to vacate office and restore democratically elected governments but their calls and threats have fallen on deaf ears while the military governments consolidated grip 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 brats and have promised to defend them in case of attempts to forcefully remove them either by ECOWAS forces or individual governments, a development that has created panic among citizens of affected countries and their neighbours who fear a possible outbreak of internal crises and even wars.
But reacting to the development in a statement on Friday, which he personally signed, 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 sub-regions due to the complexities associated with the development.He said however, that it was becoming clear by the day that there seemed 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, adding 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 blocks 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 however, 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, well-being and peace of the people of these areas who are obviously living in fear and are in 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 chase 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.
“However, even if we can’t help with an immediate solution, the gladiators on either side of the divides 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 chase 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 deprivation, 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 African people, they should also not compound or add to the misery of African people 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 and 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 blocks, 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 the leadership of impunity, selfishness, indifference to the feeling of the people, corruption and injustice, among such other adult delinquencies, as ways of earning the confidence of the people they govern,” Metchie concluded.