Liberia’s President George Weah noted that it is the modification of constitutions by heads of state that explains the frequency of military coups in Africa.
Speaking at this extraordinary virtual summit of heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held on Wednesday, on Guinea and Mali, George Weah asked his peers to question the root causes of the putsch in the sub-region, especially in light of the coup d’état in Conakry last weekend.
“Is it possible that there is a correlation between these events and political situations where constitutions are changed by incumbents to remove term limits through referendums? The Liberian president asked.
“While we are condemning these military coups, we must also muster the courage to look into what is triggering these unconstitutional takeovers,” he said.
“Could it be that we are not honoring our political commitments to respect the term limits of our various constitutions,” the Liberian leader queried.
George Weah came to power in democratic elections in Liberia, a country that has experienced major political upheaval, including military coups and a protracted civil war.
The September 5, 2021 military coup in Guinea, which saw the overthrow of President Alpha Condé, is the third coup in West Africa in twelve months.
Two coups d’état took place in neighboring Mali, one last year, when Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the incumbent president, was overthrown after not completing his second five-year term, and the other in May 2021.
Last year Côte d’Ivoire was the scene of protests by politicians and activists opposed to President Alassane Ouattara’s candidacy for a third term.
After modifying the Ivorian constitution, Alassane Ouattara sought and obtained a third term, but to the detriment of his reputation as a defender of the rights of Ivorians, many of whom died in the streets to protest against “this affront to democracy”.
Alpha Condé followed the same path in neighboring Guinea, where hundreds if people died trying to prevent him from securing a controversial third term.
At the virtual summit of ECOWAS relating to the military coup in the Republic Guinea, the President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo referred to a “clear violation” of the ECOWAS good governance charter and “an unfortunate and regrettable incident” to qualify the coup d’état led by special forces led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.
As of Sunday, the ECOWAS had already condemned the seizure of power by the military, and the arrest of President Alpha Condé.
While the sequence of events remains unclear, ECOWAS sent a delegation this Thursday to Guinea to meet with junta officials. In particular, the fate of Alpha Condé will be discussed.
The organization once again demands “respect for physical integrity” and “the immediate and unconditional release” of the ousted president.