President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged the international community to denounce and take decisive actions against Military coups, particularly in Africa, as they have never been a durable solution to the continent’s political, economic and security challenges.
The President said condemning coups alone without corresponding actions has had little or no impact as witnessed in recent times. “This problem requires collective agreement, effective deterrence, bold action and, equally important, adequate preventive measures.”
Delivering the keynote address at an event organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Friday, President Akufo-Addo said there were still those who hanker after authoritarian, personal rule because they claim Africa was underdeveloped and democracy was cumbersome.
Referring to the 2019 Annual Risk of Coup Report, President Akufo-Addo indicated that Africa has experienced more coup d’états than any other continent, describing it as “an unsavoury statistic.”
In the case of Ghana, he said political instability characterized much of the early decades of the nation’s life as an independent nation, as Ghana became notorious for sampling every and any type of political experiment.
“The one-party-state of the First Republic was overthrown in our first military coup and the Second and Third Republics, which were practising democratic governance, were also overthrown by coup d’états.”
The instability in Ghana’s government independence dispensation, according to him, instigated the collapse of the economy and led to the exodus from the country of many citizens and professionals.
“We have probably not still recovered from the tendency to want to leave the country as the answer to difficult situations.”
President Akufo-Addo said despite the challenges under the country’s 4th Republic in the past 30 years, Ghana has enjoyed political stability under a multi-party constitution and the longest period of stable, constitutional governance in the country’s hitherto tumultuous history.
Ghana has, in this period, experienced, through the ballot box, the transfer of power from one ruling political party to another on three occasions in conditions of peace and stability, without threatening the foundations of the state.
The Ghanaians, President Akufo-Addo disclosed, had manifested in this dispensation their deep attachment to the principles of democratic accountability, respect for individual liberties, human rights and the rule of law.
“It has also brought with it more or less systematic economic growth and boosted immensely our self-confidence,” he added.
The reappearance of coups on the African continent, particularly West Africa, the President stated, in all its forms and manifestations must be condemned by all.
That, he stated, seriously undermined “our collective bid to rid the continent of the menace of instability and unconstitutional changes in government, as currently defined by the frameworks enshrined in the Lomé Declaration, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and other important regional and continental instruments”.
In as much as drivers of unconstitutional changes are largely domestic, President Akufo-Addo noted that the international dimension cannot be overlooked.
“Foreign involvement in fomenting unconstitutional changes, often in favour of repressive governments, foreign economic interests and other would-be geopolitical benefits, are contributory factors. Some foreign entities regard coups in African countries as a means of enhancing their regional ambitions,” he said.
He added, “As such, they engage in all sorts of disinformation campaigns in a bid to disparage the authority of democratically elected governments and instigate opposition protests against incumbents.”
In implementing existing continental and regional instruments and protocols, the President noted that defaulting Member States are condemned and suspended from the activities of continental and regional bodies, and individual coup-makers are sanctioned.
“However, the reality is, these sanctions have not been applied uniformly. Whilst we are quick to sanction military coup leaders, civilians, who achieve similar ends via the manipulation of constitutions to remain in power, for example, go without sanctions, although their actions are prohibited in our legal instruments. This means that the existing frameworks need to be strengthened to capture such infractions,” he added.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD