Guterres decries African coups

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A succession of military coups across Africa emphasise the need for durable democratic governance and the rule of law United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres maintains.

The senior man at the world body referred to the late August military takeover in Gabon which was preceded by similar events in Niger in July, Burkina Faso in 2022 and Chad, Guinea and Mali before that. With the exception of Myanmar in 2021 all coups worldwide have been in Africa he noted.

The announcement of the takeover in Gabon came soon after election results were announced saying incumbent president Ali Bongo had been re-elected, amid reports of polling irregularities.

“Many countries face deep-seated governance challenges, but military governments are not the solution,” Guterres said at a press encounter at UN Headquarters, in New York.

“They aggravate problems. They cannot resolve a crisis; they only make it worse.”

The UN chief called on all countries to urgently establish credible democratic institutions and rule of law.

He said there is a need to strengthen international bodies such as the African Union (AU), in their diplomatic efforts to foster peace, stability and democracy on the continent. At the same time, conditions need to be created that allow African citizens to address the root causes of political instability; lack of development being a major factor, according to him.

“Development is a central objective if we want to create conditions for peace and stability in Africa,” the Secretary-General said, in response to a question from a journalist.

Guterres mentioned a series of high profile upcoming trips, where he aims to drum up support for diplomacy and multilateralism, leading to the high-level opening of the UN General Assembly late in September.

On his short term itinerary are the Africa Climate Summit in Kenya, Indonesia for the 13th ASEAN-UN Summit and the Indian capital Delhi for the G20 Summit and then on to Cuba for a Summit of the G-77 and China.