The Kenyan leader, in a short video message from Mombasa State House, faulted the actions of the West African nation guards to overthrow a democratically elected government and subvert the will of the people. The guards have since been supported by the country’s army while still detaining the President of Niger.
President Ruto offered Kenya’s helping hand in resolving the conflict. The elite guard sealed off access to President Bazoum’s residence and offices in the Capital Niamey, after talks with regional bloc Ecowas representatives collapsed. They went ahead to close down the country’s airspace and borders.
“The resurgence of military coups and attempts to subvert the will of the people on our beloved continent demands a united and global response to hold those responsible accountable for their actions,” said President Ruto.
“The Republic of Kenya joins the rest of the world to condemn in the strongest terms this unconstitutional act that subverts democracy through a Coup d’etat and calls for the immediate release of President Mohammed Bazoum who is reportedly seized by members of the presidential guard,” demanded Ruto.
He extended an olive branch to help find lasting peace.
“Kenya is willing to assist in resolving the conflict under the auspices of the AU should it be deemed appropriate. Africa continues to shine as a beckon of hope and progress and we shall never waive in our pursuit of a brighter future for all,” he committed.
Niger’s coup is the latest of a scourge in West Africa. Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso have had elected presidents overthrown in separate incidents over the past two years. They are suspended by the African Union, as is tradition. Sudan too has collapsed into recent war, after an overthrow of a transitional civilian government in October 2021, which was followed by a split in security forces this year on the future of the transition.
The Kenyan leader says Niger’s incident adds to Africa’s setback in its democratic gains as the aspirations for her people’s democracy were subverted by a constitutional change of government.
“Throughout our continental history, we have strived tirelessly to nature the principles of democracy, aligning ourselves with the aspirations of the African people for freedom and self-determination,” Ruto said.
Since 2007, the African Union has had a policy on unconstitutional changes in government. It often forbids such moves and immediately suspends countries whose militaries or politicians take overpower illegally. However, critics also argue that the prevalence of coups is a reflection of external meddling by world powers as well as failure to build strong institutions trusted by the people.
According to Ruto, the fundamental norm is crystallised in Article 4 (p) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) which unequivocally condemns and rejects any unconstitutional change of government.
“We call for the swift restoration of the constitutional rule and ensuring the protection of the population and a return to full civilian authority while upholding utmost respect for the country’s institutions.”
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