AACC Statement on Increasing Unconstitutional Change of Governments in Africa
The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) is disturbed by the increase in unconstitutional changes of governments in Africa, and saddened by the rise of armed political conflicts on the continent. The recent coup in Gabon is the latest in the string of coups that have taken place in Africa following Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger. This came after the civilian coup in Sudan, where the situation remains dire and depressing until today.
Called to make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification, the AACC strongly condemns these unconstitutional changes of governments and all forms of violence in Africa. The AACC also condemns the abuse of human rights, corrupt electoral processes, nepotism, dictatorship, and other evil practices in the political systems of a number of African countries that make people support coup d’états as an alternative to constitutional means of changing or acquiring leadership.
While condemning these unconstitutional changes of governments, the AACC believes that African leaders need to have a sober reflection and self-introspection of the underlying causes of this failure and commit to building that integrated, peaceful, and prosperous Africa, the Africa we want. In doing this, it is also very critical that they resist the intrusion of foreign elements and forces that provide weapons and ammunition to fuel political conflicts in Africa and capture state machinery to steal or exploit our natural resources. One of the key goals of the African Union Agenda 2063, launched in 2013, was to silence all guns in Africa by 2020. It is indeed very saddening and unacceptable that, at the moment, there are more guns making noise across the continent than there were in 2013.
The AACC acknowledges the sovereignty of states in managing their internal affairs, including democratic processes as per their national constitutions, and the Constitutive Act of the African Union. However, it is equally important to give true meaning and expression to the various instruments adopted by Member States of the African Union to promote democracy, good governance, respect for fundamental human rights, and the rule of law.
The AACC calls on the African Union and other regional bodies to not only hold military juntas accountable but also call to order the Heads of State who breach their national constitutions. The era of paying lip service to the amendment of constitutions to extend term limits, the suppression of fundamental human rights and freedoms, oppression, autocracy, and widespread atrocities against the citizenry must end. Equally, the AACC calls for multi-track diplomacy involving all stakeholders, including the civil society and religious leaders, to do the best within their reach to engage with processes that ensure that the African people’s aspiration for An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law becomes a reality.