The takeovers of power in West Africa last year – in Chad, Mali and most recently in Guinea – enjoy a newly discovered impunity and make the citizens angry and desperate.
“What use are constitutions, the economic community of West African states ( Ecowas) and international diplomacy, if something works? ” asked Ahmed Sankare, a mobile phone seller in the Malian capital Bamako.
Ecowas and many voices in the international community condemned the coup in Guinea, as they did for Mali a year ago and again in May.
The words were the same: restoring constitutional order, releasing detainees, setting a timetable for elections.
But a year later, Mali’s military remains in command, and doubts about their promise to return The Sahel country was handed over to civil rule by elections in February 2022.
In Chad, after Idriss Deby Itno died in the fight against rebels on April 20, his son took over power.
< Former colonial power France, Chad's most important trading and strategic partner, quickly gave the new leadership its blessing and refrained from describing the event as a coup.
In Mali as in Chad, the new presidents are the product of Speci units – Colonel Assimi Goita in Bamako, General Idriss Deby in N’Djamena. And in both countries the constitution has been replaced by a “transitional charter”.
‘A favorable climate’
“The international community has lost its influence … coup in Mali, then in Chad through literal kissing in the person of (French President Emmanuel) Macron, the son of the late President who took power, “said Peter J. Pham, former US envoy to the Sahel.
“The United States is the only major outside power that is stopping military aid to Bamako until constitutional order is restored,” he said.
Jean-Herve Jezequel of the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned against the idea that the coups in Mali and Chad helped trigger Guinea’s coup.
But “the way in which these recent coups in Chad and Mali have been accepted and even confirmed by regional and international actors, hat “probably has a cheap cl ima created for what happened in Guinea, “he said.
The Burkinabe news agency Wakat Sera drew parallels between the coup attempts in Guinea and Mali.
The new strong man in Conakry, Lt. Col. Mamady Doumbouya, “simply recited the formula for the seizure of power … like a recording that all coup plotters everywhere use,” he argued.
In Bamako, a high-ranking official said on condition of anonymity that the coups in Mali and Chad could create a “domino effect”, with military officials elsewhere telling themselves, “Why not us?”
In the case of Guinea, “experience shows that we are extremely careful and not too naive,” Amnesty International’s Fabien Offner told AFP.
“Some see the end of the (Alpha Conde) regime as a good thing, (but) it is not the first time that there is hope in West Africa and it is often disappointed, “says he said.
The message in the Wakat Sera leading article to the international community was clear: “Stop the ostrich policy” and the “broken record” toothless convictions, it said.