2021: Africa between military coups and Covid-19

The African continent in its constant march of hope (Ph. D’illustration / lemonde.fr)

While 2021 is slowly but inexorably consumed so that 2022 is born on its still smoking ashes, Africa lives to the rhythm of its contradictions, tossed between endemic poverty and poor governance, military coups and constitutional coups, while remaining at the mercy of cruel diseases such as malaria, AIDS and now Covid-19 and its variants that follow one another, including the latest, Omicron, although less dangerous than its elders, is spreading faster than all of them put together. It is obviously the Lucky Luke of the Coronavirus family. But it is not only Omicron who is sowing wildly on the continent where the ground has become very fertile again for military putsch and the butchering of Fundamental Laws, with the sole aim, for the princes of the day, of remaining in power. ad vitam aeternam.

The soldiers, whom the experts of the law, the organizations of the civil society and those which lead us, were persuaded to have moved away from the presidential palaces with condemnations and draconian sanctions against the seizures of power by the weapons, however still prowled around. the prey. Having the art of camouflage, they were biding their time to act. Unfortunately for democracy, but pure happiness for the soldiery which always sets itself up as arbiter of socio-political crises, the carelessness of leaders with poor governance and the muzzling of peoples in the DNA, serves on a gold platter to the military, the opportunity to « sweep the house » and settle there.

Record of two putschs in 10 months

Thus Mali has had its return, on the political scene, from the soldiers who have deposed, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (IBK), elected for a second term but whose power strongly contested by the street, will fall as a ripe fruit, in the hands of Kati’s men, on August 18, 2020. Colonel Assimi Goïta and his brothers in arms will not stop at this forfeiture. They reiterate their coup, this time against the leaders of the transition, President Bah N’Daw and his Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, whom they arrested on May 24, 2021. The record of two coups d’état in 10 month!

In neighboring Guinea, the military putsch was undoubtedly hailed by the opposition and the people forced into repression, silence, exile and killings, by a former historic opponent, who broke into the presidential palace. Sékhoutouréya of Conakry. But for the honor and the safeguard of democracy, there must not be a « salutary » military coup, even if by driving out of power, Alpha Condé, on September 5, 2021, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya put an end to a insane dream of a presidency for life that began with an unconstitutional third term. Like the others, this military putsch was denounced by the international community, a condemnation accompanied by sanctions especially targeted against the perpetrators of this umpteenth stab at democracy on the continent.

Chad and Sudan

Another country, same customs! On the death of Marshal Idriss Deby Itno, his son Mahamat Deby seized the vacant throne without further ado, which thus became a family heritage. Stupor, the Deby son is dubbed by the same international community, headed by Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, the land of democracy par excellence where power cannot be vested other than through the ballot box. Variable geometry democracy!

Sudan where the army had to operate a coup d’etat to remove an Omar el Bechir vomited by a people in turmoil, will also experience the double Malian putsch. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his family, to safeguard the stranglehold of the army on the economic sector, after having sacrificed el Bechir, on April 11, 2019, did not go through four ways to torpedo the transition by another coup d’etat which overthrew the civilian Prime Minister of the transition, Abdallah Hamdok, becoming the sole masters of Khartoum, against and against all the sanctions of the famous international community. And since then, it is behind closed doors that the generals massacre in blood, the protesters of their iron power.

Transition from 6 months to 5 years in Mali

Moreover, as in Sudan, Guinea or Chad, the transition is suffering in Mali, where the National Assizes for the Refoundation of the State (ANR), boycotted by the main political parties and credible civil society organizations, have just recommended an extension of the transition, from 6 months to 5 years, without an electoral timetable. If in Guinea and Chad, we are still waiting for the electoral calendar, the official posture of the Malian authorities which will be, except for a tsunami, that of the ANRs, is therefore known. The soldiers behind all the micmac of the assizes, and other intrigues, aim only one goal, to keep this power which they never wanted to leave, whereas the deadline of the elections was fixed at February 2022, to return the power to the civilians and put Mali back on the rails of democracy. Obviously, Africa is indeed experiencing a new spring of coups d’état!

Hope from Niger

Unfortunately, these coups are not just military. The third term also flourished in Guinea with Alpha Condé and in Côte d’Ivoire with Alassane Ouattara, to name just these two countries. Fortunately, Niger made the difference, bringing to power, following open elections, a democratically elected president who took the witness from the hands of a democratically elected president. Succeeding Issoufou Mahamadou, the President of the Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum was solemnly sworn in on April 2, 2021, before a people whose well-being he is committed to ensuring. Performance punctuated by a founding inauguration speech that was a milestone in the democratic history that Niger continues to write with pride.

Daily insecurity

To these evils, against which the words repeated throughout summits and other meetings remain empty speeches and pious wishes, has been grafted, in recent years, a security threat which continues to swell and mourn every day, civilians and armed populations. national. Even foreign forces, like Barkhane, who have engaged in the asymmetrical war imposed on them by the forces of evil are hardly spared from the murderous bullets and mines of the terrorists. If the French Force, in full redeployment in Mali has lost more than fifty of its soldiers, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (Minusma) also counts its deaths, due to terrorism. Far from admitting defeat despite the blows that are dealt to it regularly, in particular by the French force Barkhane, the terrorist hydra escapes from the African Sahel where it is sanctuary, to extend its tentacles in the Gulf of Guinea.

Thus the last day of 2021 will close on an Africa, where despite all the headwinds, the legendary solidarity between populations keeps the hope of a better tomorrow. All eyes are now on Cameroon, which will host the 2021 African Cup of Nations, the great celebration of African football, from January 9 to February 6, 2022.

Wakat Séra takes the opportunity of this funeral in 2021, to wish all its many readers and advertisers a happy new year 2022.

By Wakat Séra

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