Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation

Between free choice and binding duty

Mundo Negro 23.11.2023 Andrew Bwalya Translated by: Jpic-jp.org

As the wave of coups in Africa seems to have subsided, we can reflect on what has happened and, more importantly, its implications, hopes and doubts for the future at the start of a new year.

Leaving out Gabon, uprisings or revolutions, depending on how you look at it, have taken place in Chad, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger. With their common past as former French colonies, there are three reasons that might explain why the military intervened and overthrew their leaders in these countries.

The first reason is that the citizens were fed up with inept, corrupt and self-serving politicians, seen as puppets of France, while the masses were drowning in misery. Neither these citizens nor anyone else can understand why these countries, endowed with abundant and rich natural resources, are among the poorest in the world. According to the UNDP's Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2023, Niger, for example, although rich in uranium, is ranked as one of the four poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Chad, Burundi and CAR. The same report suggests that 47.8% of the world's 1.1 billion poor live in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, citizens have welcomed military governments that promise freedom from the suffering of poverty. 

Insecurity in the Sahel is probably the second reason why the military has taken power. Strong jihadist armed groups have found a safe haven in the region, and the prolonged presence of French troops has not yielded significant results. President Macron believes it has, but ordinary citizens take a different view. Continued insecurity and lack of development is essentially what Niger's military junta cited as a reason for seizing power.

Thirdly, there has been a growing anti-French sentiment among its former colonies. Paris is seen as a neo-colonial power bent on controlling and unfairly exploiting the natural resources of its former territories. Consequently, the call for it to withdraw its troops in these countries has been nothing more than the climax of anti-French sentiment. The Elysée has tried to appear brave, but has ended up surrendering rather shamefully, as in the case of Niger.

In many ways, the recent coups are the sign of an awakened African generation. Today, Africans, especially the youth, are saying "enough". Africa has already suffered too much at the hands of its own corrupt leaders and Western influence, and people yearn for economic liberation.

In this context, it is to be hoped that a rapid transition from military to civilian rule will take place in these countries. It is time to accelerate comprehensive development on the continent. We cannot continue to struggle with governance problems. Moreover, investing in youth and women is not an option, but an obligation. Both are key to Africa's development. The former have the energy and can dare to dream of a different and better future. In terms of population, the latter are the majority and suffer the most when there is instability. Women are contributing a lot to the African countries’ economies through small businesses and agriculture. If they were empowered, Africa would benefit enormously. Similarly, the continent should invest in cutting-edge technology, where the innovative minds of young people could be useful.

The West could also benefit from Africa if it began to see it as a development partner rather than a humanitarian case. Russia and China have learned their lesson.

See, https://mundonegro.es/entre-la-opcion-y-la-obligacion/  

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