December 5, 2022

African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki says democratization can stabilize war-torn African nations weakened by military coups

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat as part of the U.S.-African Union High Level Dialogue, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on March 11, 2022. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat as part of the U.S.-African Union High Level Dialogue, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on March 11, 2022. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/

Recent changes of governmental control via military coups in several African nations have weakened political environments that were already hallmarked by political tension, terrorism, and violence, explained Chairman of the African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki at the 4th coordination meeting between the African Union, regional economic communities/regional mechanisms, and member states.

Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, and Guinea have all undergone military coup d’etats within the past two years. All of these nations have yet to transition into democratically elected and civilian-led governmental control.

“Unconstitutional Changes of Government, through military coups in several Member States, are contributing to the weakening of an already highly disturbed political environment in these countries,” said Moussa Faki on Sunday.

“The difficulties observed in the process of transition from military Governments to Constitutional normalcy show the extent of the challenges and problems involved in successful democratisation, which is a guarantee of political stabilisation in the countries concerned,” continued the Chairperson.

In early July, the summit of the Economic Community of West African States decided to lift financial and economic sanctions that had previously been placed on Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. The decision was made in light of these military-controlled countries’ public promises to transition toward democracy.

However, timetables for transitions toward democracy remain unclear for many of Africa’s junta-led governments. 

African Union Comission Chairperson Moussa Faki also asserted that the growing threat of terrorism across Africa can be linked to the failures of governments to democratize.

 In 2021, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 48 percent of global terrorism related deaths. Moussa Faki explained that there is a “progressive continentalisation of conflict zones” as the threat spreads throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

On Vision of Humanity’s 2021 index of nations most impacted by terrorism, Burkina Faso and Mali both placed within the top 7 msot impacted nations in the world. Both of these nations recently underwent military coups and are controlled by military governments.

While the terrorist threat has grown worse in the Sahel, the Chairperson of the African Union Comission also explained that extremist militant groups have spread and started to take control in new regions.

“The north of Togo, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire are no longer safe from Terrorist incursions. Central Africa, already hit in its western part by the Boko Haram phenomenon, is seeing its Eastern part, in the Democratic Republic of The Congo, become the scene of growing Islamist terrorism, adding to the conflicts that have been raging there for several decades. Even southern Africa, long spared, has recently been confronted by the jihadist hydra in Mozambique,” he asserted.

While the democratization of nations that are currently led by unelected military governments is widely recognized by the international community as the right step to create political stability and better protect human rights across the continent, it also provides a potential solution to help address the continent’s growing terrorist threat.

This sentiment was explained by United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Chidi Blyden at a recent U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing, saying that African instability is a “security problem with a governance solution.”

“In order to contend with violent extremist groups, governments in the region must dramatically reform and improve,” explained Blyden.

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