Dr. Kwesi Jonah, a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Democratic
Governance (IDEG) on Wednesday called on the African Union to send a
strong signal to the coup makers in Mauritania that the continent
detests overthrown of legitimate governments.
AU must be firm and decisive in compeling the coup leaders to
immediately form a caretaker government to manage affairs and prepare
for democratic election within 12 months,” Dr Jonah told the Ghana News
Agency on the Mauritania coup.
Soldiers in Mauritania have
overthrown the country’s first democratically elected leader and formed
a state council to rule the country.
They rounded up President
Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi along with his Prime Minister Yahia Ould
Ahmed El-Ouakef in a bloodless coup.
President Abdallahi came to power through free and fair polls last year, taking over from a military junta.
ousted President was held after he tried to dismiss the military’s top
commanders including the head of the Presidential Guard, Gen. Mohamed
Ould Abdelaziz, who responded by launching the coup.
reports monitored in Accra by GNA indicates the troops were out on the
streets of the capital, Nouakchott, where tear gas was fired at about
Dr. Jonah said the Mauritania coup is
against the AU’s own protocols and sets a bad example for the
continent’s movement towards consolidating democratic governance.
said the coup makers must not be given any room to operate as it will
give a wrong signal to other disgruntled military officers and
politicians to disrupt democratically elected governments across the
Events leading to the coup indicated that on
Monday, 48 Members of Parliament of the ruling party walked out from
the House allegedly manipulated by some military generals.
Nouakchott airport was reported to have been closed down whilst scores
of people had gathered on street corners to discuss the coup and the
fate of the President and Prime Minister.
AU, South Africa and Nigeria have all condemned the coup, and demanded
a return to constitutional government immediately.
State Department and the European Commission also decried the coup,
with the Commission warning it would suspend aid to Mauritania.
has a long history of coups, with the military involved in nearly every
government since independence from France in 1960.
Presidential election was held in 2007 which ended a two-year period of military rule – the product of a military coup in 2005.
The elections were deemed by observers to have been free and fair and heralded a new era of democracy.