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Monday, September 25, 2023

Niger coup will not be the last – activists


In a write up shared with The Standard, human right activists and political commentators, Sait Matty Jaw and Amat Jeng have opined that unless proper measures are taken, the coup in Niger will not be the last in West Africa before 2030.

The Niger coup brought the number of coups and attempted coups in Africa to 41 in just thirteen years. Within four years, West Africa and the Sahel region have witnessed five successful and two failed coups. The coup in Niger, however, caught many people off guard. 

“Military intervention in politics, almost everywhere, is motivated by the disaffection among the people with the status quo. Therefore, it is no surprise that many of the youths in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso support a replacement of the status quo. The youths see coups as the promise of a victory over their downtrodden state, and as an opportunity to assert their respective countries’ sovereignty, particularly their relationship with colonial powers. The military understands the short-term consequences of a coup, but more importantly, it understands that it does not need to repress its way to acceptance by the population, as was the case in the 1980s and 1990s. Therefore, the military is less encumbered by toothless regional and international bodies,” the activists commented.

The two argued that democratic reforms in the region have not managed to dramatically strengthen the social contract and state-society relations.

“As one of us had written somewhere, the neoliberal post-conflict reconstruction approach, largely supported by the West and its subordinate institutions, has failed to alter the perceptions of a remote state in West Africa. This failure has resulted in the creation of a cocktail of distant elites as well as political naïveté that continuously ignores the youth. Understandably, coups and counter-coups are not the solution to Africa’s governance problem. However, some of the coups in West Africa did not just happen in a vacuum,” the activists added. See page 5 for more.

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