What if the “epidemic of coups” in West and Central Africa is not that at all but a direct outcome of outright revolutionary movements, similar to the anti-colonial movements that liberated most African nations from the yoke of Western colonialism throughout the 20th century? Whether this is the case or not, we are unlikely to find out anytime soon, simply because the voices of these African nations are essentially and deliberately muted. For us to understand the real motives behind the spate of military takeovers in West and Central Africa – eight since 2020 – we are, sadly, compelled to read about it in Western media.
Wild celebrations have broken out on the streets of Gabon’s cities on Wednesday after a military junta announced on television that it had put President Ali Bongo Ondimba under house arrest and had seized power. The Bongo family had ruled the former French colony since 1967. Ali Bongo was the wealthiest man in Gabon with an estimated $1 billion in assets. The coup took place just after the country’s electoral commission declared that he won a third term. It is the fifth coup in a West African country once ruled directly by France since August 2020, when Mali fell to military leaders.
New York City, New York - Demonstrators gathered in front of the French Mission to the United Nations in New York City Aug. 22 at a protest organized by the December 12th Movement, calling for “France out of Africa/Hands off Niger.” Speakers passionately demanded the withdrawal of U.S. and French troops from West Africa and the closure of military bases in Niger. Their powerful voices highlighted the U.S. and Europe’s ongoing colonial exploitation of Africa’s rich natural resources. With an emphasis on the dire consequences of this criminal domination, the speakers shed light on the harsh living conditions faced by the masses of people in West African nations.
At the end of July, the Presidential Guard of Niger, backed by the military, unseated the current president, Mohamed Bazoum, in a coup supported by the people. In response, the United States and France, with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), began planning a military intervention to return Bazoum to power. West African nations, including Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, quickly declared solidarity with the new government, a move that could turn a military intervention into a greater regional conflict. To understand what is happening in Niger and how it fits into the bigger picture of the rejection of neo-colonialism and US hegemony, Clearing the FOG speaks with Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire.
On this episode of Journalists for Sale, we tackle West Africa and the recent coverage it has been drawing due to the military junta taking power in the country of Niger. Niger joins the so called “Coup belt” in Africa, where countries like Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali have all experienced military coup takeovers in the last few years. We are joined by David Hundeyin, a Nigerian journalist and filmmaker whose name has been in the news lately for his reporting on the corrupt Nigerian politician and now president of the country Bola Ahmed Tinubu. David helps us understand the anti-imperialist sentiment spreading around the region as well as the roles of countries like Russia and China in trying to present an alternative economic and security alliance as opposed to ECOWAS and the West.
How shall we understand the July 26th coup in Niger, in which military officers ousted Mohamed Bazoum, the nation’s Western-tilted president? It is the sixth putsch of this kind in or next to the Sahel in the past four years. Shall we write off this band across sub–Saharan Africa as coup country and trouble no more about it? The thought is implicit in a lot of the media coverage, but how often do our media dedicate themselves to enhancing our understanding of global events and how often to cultivating our ignorance of them? Do not take this latest development in Africa as an isolated event, if I may offer a suggestion. Its significance lies in the larger context in which it has occurred—its global surround, so to say.
With immediate effect, the Republic of Niger, under the leadership of new president General Abdourahamane Tchiani, and supported by the people of the country, announced the suspension of the export of uranium and gold to France on Sunday. In parallel to the decision, protestors were surrounding the French Embassy in Niger calling for the end of French colonial practices repeating the slogan “Down with France!” and reaffirming their support to the coup leader, Tchiani. Wazobia Reporters, a Nigerien news website,reported one protestor proclaiming “We have uranium, diamonds, gold, oil, and we live like slaves? We don’t need the French to keep us safe.”