Sunday, July 21, 2024

Niger is on the Brink

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Niger is on the brink, will its fate end up like Myanmar or will democracy fight back in that country

Niger, a small country in West Africa is hitting the global headlines.

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On July 26, the Niger army orchestrated a silent coup in the country. In the process, they ended up removing Mohammed Bazoum as the president even as they kept him under ‘house-arrest’.

The head of the armed forces Gen.Ochiani has been named as the new Head of the country.

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West Africa has been a coup hit and militancy affected region. Burkina Faso, Malawi etc all suffer from the same problem.

But what happened in Niger is something though not surprising is certainly unnerving.

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Niger-A Troubled History

Niger is one of the poorest countries in Africa. Like other countries it is a victim of colonialism and imperialism.

France was the colonising power. Niger secured independence in the 1960s. But continued to be wracked by militancy, corruption and neo-colonialism.

Today, Niger is suffering from Islamist terrorism that are also wrecking havoc in the neighbouring countries of the region.

ECOWAS

Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS is the regional bloc that oversees the economic and political development of the region.

ECOWAS has been opprobrious of the coup. It has not only condemned it but has also imposed sanctions on the coup leaders.

The bloc is even contemplating a military intervention.

But fissures have emerged within the bloc, Burkina Faso and Malawi have ironically supported the coup.

They have refused to support any military intervention.

Nigeria, the largest and most powerful member of the bloc has been debating whether to support military intervention.

While the Nigerian president supports the plan of military intervention, the Senate has pushed back against the proposal.

For the time being, ECOWAS seems to be stuck in a lack of consensus among their members on the question of reversing the coup and calling for the restoration  of constitutional democracy in the country.

International Reactions

The US and EU have condemned the coup and have called for the immediate release of the President.

China and Russia have been rather silent on this issue.

Conclusion

It can only be hoped that democracy urgently returns to Niger and the coup is reversed. It, however, cannot happen without the people of Niger hitting the streets and reclaiming their democratic rights.

If the coup is not foiled, Niger will remain on the brink.

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