The African Union has
condemned Sunday's attempted coup d'etat by in Guinea Bissau. Heavily armed
gunmen reportedly attacked President Joao Bernardo Vieira's residence yesterday
(Sunday) with machine-guns
and rocket-propelled grenades. The government said the president and his family
were not harmed although a presidential guard was killed during the coup
attempt. With calm restored in the country, the government said it would soon
launch an investigation to find those behind the coup attempt. Professor Okey Onyejekwe is the director of governance
at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He tells
reporter Peter Clottey from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa that the coup
attempt can only worsen the political tensions already existing in Guinea
"I'm really disturbed by that because this is
also coming in at the heels of the overthrow of the government in Mauritania.
And the concern for me is that one would have thought that this has become a
thing of the past, given the commitment of the AU (African Union) to eschew all
sorts of unconstitutional means of overtaking power. And it's troubling in the sense
that it also exacerbates the political tension in Guinea Bissau as well as what
we also see in other parts of the continent," Onyejekwe pointed out.
He said this
latest coup attempted d'etat in Guinea Bissau has brought into question the
African Union's previous stances on military takeovers on the continent.
"On a number of
instances, people have wondered about the constituency of the AU in terms of
dealing with these kinds of situations, particularly, given the fact that the
Constitutive Act of the AU as well as the Lome Convention and the new chapter
on governance completely condemn unconstitutional means of taking power. And
that is why for example in the Comoros, the intervention of the AU and other
African States were welcomed. But the problem is that if there is an attempt or
an appearance of inconsistency, there are concerns that the demonstration
effect may really not deter others who would want to take over power through
non- constitutional means," he said.
coup makers in Africa find justification for their acts of subverting their
"If you ask the
leaders of these coup d'etat or insurrection, they would tell you that their
cause is just and justifiable because of the inequities and the economic malaise,
a lack of inclusiveness. So, they would justify but the AU also recognizes that
the situations are very fragile and that these conditions yes, may exist, but
we need now to move away and find a way more systematic, peaceful means of
transition because these attempts do set us back," Onyejekwe said.
He said it
would be difficult for African to attract international investors of the
instabilities across the continent persist.
"As long as we
do not turn the tide and move towards the trajectory only using
non-constitutional means to our seat of power, we would be suffering the
reverse, which also impacts our ability to attract foreign investment on the
possibilities of growth and equity," he said.
The AU said it totally rejects any form of
anti-constitutional government change, and condemned in advance any attempt to
seize power by force in Guinea Bissau.
Some international donors are reportedly saying Guinea Bissau
immediately needs political stability to be enable to resist the increasing
threat of Latin American cocaine cartels, which have been using Guinea Bissau's
territory to smuggle tons of drugs to Europe.