By KABS KANU :
Those members of the opposition and dissident elements who rejoice whenever they hear news of military coup attempts in other parts of the continent are living in a fool’s paradise if they think that military coups will return to Africa to replace the mode of succession as in the past. The era of military coups are over and this method of replacing governments has not only become unfashionable; it is no longer accepted by the international community and the decent world at large.
When earlier on Wednesday, Burundi Army Major General Godefroid Niyombareh, who was fired as the top intelligence official last February, said that he had staged a coup and that President Nkurunziza had been overthrown, , many Sierra Leonean opposition members in online forums and the social media went giddy and excited and they used the opportunity to equate the situation in Burundi with what was happening in Sierra Leone and built many castles in the air.
But what supporters of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) , disgruntled elements and enemies of the state posing as commentators and journalists in online forums , Facebook and Whattsapp do not know is that life has become more civilized and democratic in Africa . The days of bush-shaking and illegal military adventurism are gone in Africa.
Besides, what is going on in Burundi is markedly different from the situation in Sierra Leone. President Ernest Koroma is a celebrated democrat whose rule has been marked by adherence to democratic principles and respect for the rule of law and fundamental human rights. Secondly, President Koroma has not told anybody he will seek a third term. Therefore, what happened in Burundi yesterday will not happen in Sierra Leone. Those wishing evil for the APC Government are just wasting their time.
The SLPP has still not learnt that Military coups belong to the uncivilized , unprogressive and despotic era in the still inexperienced , raw and green post-Independent Africa that was naively bereft of suitable models of governance to correct political chicanery and dictatorship. Military adventurers then seized opportunity of the hesitancy and lack of a more suitable route to power to bulldoze their way to power , largely for their own selfish ends. They were considered heroes then. Today, they are villains. Their excuses for intervening in government no longer hold water.
The SLPP must know that things have indeed largely changed in the continent. The wave of democratization and respect for the Rule of Law that swept through Africa in the 1990s and 2000s have correspondingly ushered in a new political culture that respects only elections as the method of one government succeeding the other. At the same time too, the civilized world and international stakeholders developed an intolerance and allergy towards coups, with the result that coup-makers are no longer welcome in the corridors of power .They face serious isolation, stigmatization, rejection and in some cases counter-military action from regional military powers to dismantle their coups.
The reason that this uncivilized method of succession has been virtually outlawed is not only that it is undemocratic. Coup-makers have also established a very poor , violent, grotesque and miserable record at governance and respect for law and fundamental human rights. They exacerbate the very problems they claim to have come to solve. They destroy the moral , social, economic and political fabric of the country, trigger wars and instability and commit horrendous crimes of genocide , war crimes and crimes against humanity . They empty the treasury and engage in no discernible national development project. No country has ever benefited from coups.In fact, the involvement of soldiers in politics, where they do not belong, is one of the reasons for the socio-economic paralysis of the continent.
Only an opposition that is afraid of free and fair elections, because it does not have the capacity to win them, delights in glorying at news of coups in other countries or their own . If the SLPP and other opposition elements believe that they are able to legitimately win the mandate of the people, they do not need to wish for coups as their only route to power. The SLPP has established a very bad image as a party that only wants to use instability, chaos and wars to win power.
It is high time that the SLPP shed its image of being a prototype of a terrorist organization that only believes in military insurrection and bush wars to gain power. If the SLPP is a civilized, democratic and legitimate political party , it must commit its resources towards winning elections legitimately to come to power. It must stop romanticizing military coups and violent bush wars because they are no longer fashionable and acceptable in our civilized world.
Rejoicing whenever there is an illegal seizure of power somewhere else and wishing that it would one day happen in Sierra Leone is a shameful preoccupation for the oldest political party in the land. It undermines the SLPP’s claims of being a popular party and a belever n democratic principles.
The SLPP should embrace democratic elections as the only route to legitimate power. Democracy at work should be the thing that delights the SLPP, not bush-shaking or coups.