Skip to content

African Leaders Need to do More to Prove that they are Working for the Masses

At an emergency meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, over the weekend, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanded the “immediate release and reinstatement” of Niger’s elected president, Mohamed Bazoum. He had been held by the military since 19 July. The regional bloc gave the military in Niger a one-week ultimatum to comply and warned it would take all measures necessary – including force – to restore constitutional order. In the last four years, there have been seven coup d’etats in the region. Three were successful. Leaders of ECOWAS and the African Union have threatened sanctions on these three countries, but nothing much has been done to deter other opportunistic military leaders. In a round table organised by the think tank Chatham House London on the impact of military intervention in west Africa, one of the leaders from the region stated that they kept avenues of communication open with the three military presidents as a courtesy. This creates an impression that there is no deterrence for military takeovers.