Democracy in West Africa will reverse if we do not address economic hardship – Atuguba

The Dean of the University of Ghana Faculty of Law, Prof. Raymond Atuguba, has stated that economic hardship is a major reason why coups have become so prevalent in West Africa in recent years.

According to him, some West African countries have experienced coups because leaders turned a blind eye to calls for solutions to address these problems.

Speaking on the JoyNews AM Show on May 2, he said coup perpetrators have hinted that certain factors motivated them to take power and change the status quo.

“Coup leaders consistently cite five issues that caused the coup. The first is economic hardship. You can see why I talk a lot about the economy, about the debt crisis and about the outward-looking economies.

“If you don’t solve these economic problems, there will be coups. Democracy is going to turn around. We are going to live under repressive regimes,” he said.

Professor Aguba said another factor for the occurrence of coups is the phenomenon of sit tightism. He stated that leaders feel entitled and refuse to give up their seats because they view them as family property.

“Sittightism is now recognized as a word where a leader is tied to the chair and refuses to go. That’s where Togo comes into the picture. In other words, the situation in Togo is one of the things that triggers coups,” he said.

Another factor he mentioned was the closing of democratic spaces. He explained that in countries such as Ghana, Mali or Burkina Faso, certain actions by democratic governments can close democratic spaces and sometimes force people to react.

He also added that corruption and violent extremism are additional factors playing a role in these issues.

He therefore called for measures to be taken to counter these threats.

“So we need to focus on these five issues. If we want to put an end to the phenomenon of coups. We can’t wish it that way. We cannot address the five issues by shouting good governance across the country.

“We have to get to work and tackle it. “The saddest part of it is that the evidence seems to be that when a country gets undemocratic rule or a military regime, it seems to do better economically under a military regime,” he argued.

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