By Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor
The coming of the millennium ushered in the quick eradication of military rule in most if not all African countries. Military participation in governance became unfashionable and obsolete.
The long era of military involvement in governance saw truncated growth and advancement of democratic principles and sustainable infrastructural and economic growth.
Human capital development and quality of life was minimally jeopardized. Military rule is a government forced on the people through coup d’etat.
It’s a very unpopular way to govern. All the African countries ushered in independence through popular and acceptable constitutional democracy introduced and bequeathed to them by the colonial masters.
This popular people-oriented style of government made waves throughout the continent of Africa as tested and trusted way foward for the people.
Greed and power intoxication crept in among the leaders, resulting in governance deficit and thus paved way for military intervention. The military coming in was received with mixed reactions by the people.
Some sounded like it’s a relief considering the excesses of the politicians, others were skeptical about the inexperience and the real motives of the military. Military rule comes with the constitution being suspended and the military council promulgate and govern with decrees.
The voice and feelings of the people becomes relegated. Tyranny, dictatorship and abuse of power became visibly the new order.
The intellectual capacity to govern was lacking which led to abysmal failure. These challenges led to counter coups and recycling of military governments in Africa. This affected Africa’s development. The African Union pronounced coups and military rule unacceptable and heavily backed and applauded by the international community and world organization bodies.
But in practice this pronouncement is gradually becoming a joke in the continent by the recent coups in Mali, Sudan, Guinea, etc.
The democratic gains are gradually eroding.
Is Africa drifting to the old order? This question is pertinent in view of the recent developments. Why is the military intervening in African politics? The answer is not far fetched. The political leadership is full of corruption, abuse of power or power-drunk and in some cases, high handed resulting in loss of confidence by the people. There is the recent case in Guinea where people were in jubilation because the sitting president Alpha Conde was ousted by the military junta. It was labeled and seen as a rescue mission because of the excesses of Alpha Conde.
Regardless of the illegality surprisingly the people welcomed it. It’s similar narrative in the countries. This dilemma has put the African democracy in jeopardy. People of Africa are stock with accepting illegality over popular opinion. It’s a drawback in our democratic principles and development.
People’s mindset is so abused by this absurdity. The seemingly confusion as a result urgently needs solutions. Things cannot remain same in our beloved Africa. The culture of one step foward and two steps backward is unprogressive and unacceptable.
Consistency in democratic principles is a way foward for Africa. The race of the moment should stop and as a matter of expediency return their various countries to democratic rule. The African countries whose democracy are shaky should gear up and provide good leadership that sustains democracy. The flip flop and roller-coaster and inconsistency we experience in Africa can be eradicated if the leadership build back the needed trust and confidence in people’s mind.
Democracy is the way foward for Africa, anything less is uncivilized.
Eholor, a human rights defender, writes from Lagos Nigeria.