President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted that coups should not be tolerated in Africa, coming hard on Guinea and Mali as the ECOWAS resolved to maintain its sanctions on both countries.
“One of the important points that the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government make is that coups and coups d’etat generally are completely unacceptable. We cannot continue to have a situation where they are tolerated for the simple reason that in Africa, West Africa in particular, we have gone way beyond military coups as an answer to the question of change in political actors,” said Mr Buhari, a former military leader who overthrew a democratically elected government in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation in 1983.
The Nigerian leader added, “There is a very strong feeling amongst the heads of states that we must insist, other international bodies: the UN, EU, and other regional groups must support the imposition of sanctions on individuals and groups that choose not to follow the democratic process of change of government, but go by way of coup d‘etat.”
He stated this during the ECOWAS’ extraordinary summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government held on Sunday in Accra, Ghana. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo represented him.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the summit, Mr Osinbajo noted that African countries had gone beyond military coups as a means of changing political actors, describing coups as unacceptable. He also explained that ECOWAS Heads of State and Government would continue to prevail on the military juntas in Guinea and Mali to return their countries to democratic rule.
Laolu Akande, Mr Osinbajo’s media aide, said the summit was convened to review the political situations in Guinea and Mali.
He stated that a communique was issued at the end of the Third Extraordinary Summit on Guinea and Mali attended by Mr Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The authority decided to uphold the suspension of the Republic of Guinea from all ECOWAS governing bodies, as well as the travel ban and freeze on financial assets imposed on the members of the CNRD and their family members until constitutional order is restored,” said the statement.
Regarding Mali, the ECOWAS leaders held a meeting presided over by President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo of Ghana and chair of the ECOWAS Authority.
“They resolved that in conformity with the decision taken on September 16, the authority decided to impose sanctions with immediate effect against individuals and groups, who have been identified, including the entire transition authorities and other transition institutions,” the communique stated. “These sanctions will also be imposed on the members of their families. The sanctions include a travel ban and a freeze on their financial assets. It further instructs the president of the (ECOWAS) commission to consider and propose additional sanctions at its next Ordinary Session on December 12, should the situation persist.”
The summit, attended by leaders from 13 countries, called on the African Union, the United Nations, and the bilateral and other multilateral partners to endorse and support the implementation of the sanctions.