The message the fresh coup d'etat in Mauritania signals to the world is that Africa still remains a place where ambitious individuals or group of disgruntled people can at any time create an usual scenario by seizing power. Big question: How can Africa put a stop at any anti-democratic seizure of power by the military?
Few months ago, it was in Togo where Faure Eyadema rode on the horse of his late father's praise-singing military henchmen to capture power against the will of the masses who protested vehemently against father-son military imposed leadership. It took the intervention of the ECOWAS, the African Union and the international community to make Faure kowtow to an election , which eventually returned him to power against the expectation of the world. Sierra-Leone experience it, too! The rest is history!
Today,the situation in Mauritania is the talk of the moment, and it is going to big a test for democracy in Africa. The United States, the African Union, and the United Nations have condemned the act, and would want democracy restored immediately. How this is going to happen remains cloudy as the new set of self-made leaders in Mauritania have signaled to rule for two years.
Looking at the circumstance that brought the ousted leader to power in 1984, is there any moral justification now to ask for his return to power when he forcibly seized power and ruled for all that long? Does he really deserves being treated favorably? This question is not an excuse for tolerating coup d'etats in Africa. It is just intended to trigger off another discussion about all military juntas who are still in power, who have made their positions permanent through the process of elections in their countries. The African Union should do all within its power to "force" all leaders who have entered the corridor of power as military recruits or officers to bow out so that democracy can have a normal root in Africa. If they have interest to return to power, they can do so after few or specified number of years outside power, and that is if their people want them there.
Taking an action like the one I have mentioned shall caution many ambitious men of force and tell them that the right way to have access to the corridor of power is through the electoral process.
The fact that Africa still has some of the military juntas who have transformed themselves into civilian presidents and leaders while still serving in the governments of their countries encourages many African military men to think of staging coup d'etats.
It is ironic that few days after President Obasanjo, the Chaiperson of the African Union, said that Africa would no longer be a place for coups, a new coup d'etat was staged in Mauritania!
What solution do we need? One perfect solution to preventing coup d'etat in Africa is to ask all those who have ever seized power in their countries to bow out of power and allow interested civilians and free retired military men and women to rule.