By-Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has blamed Zimbabwe for a spate of coups in Africa saying the southern African country set a bad precedent by removing its founding leader late President Robert Mugabe from office in November 2017.
Obasanjo who served as Nigeria’s head of state from 1976 to 1979 and later as its president from 1999 to 2007 made the remarks while addressing the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, Johannesburg South Africa, according to ZimLive. He said:
I once moved a motion in 1999 then that any country that has a government not through constitutional means should be suspended.
There should be no half measures about these; It started in Zimbabwe where they said ‘it’s not a coup and it’s a half coup, it’s near a coup. A coup is a coup! Citizens of Africa have been able to shun leaders who amend the constitution, intending to personally gain from such amendments.
His remarks were apparently in reference to Operation Restore Legacy which was led by then commander Constantino Chiwenga, now state Vice President which resulted in Mugabe’s “forced” resignation.
The Zimbabwean military staged the operation on the eve of 15 November and members of the public joined and thronged to the streets demanding that “Mugabe Must Go!!!”
The events paved way for the installation of Mugabe’s long-time aide and now president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Since then nations such as Sudan, Mali and Burkina Faso have experienced recent coups and are under military rule.
Military coups were a regular occurrence in Africa in the decades after independence and there is great concern they are starting to become more frequent.
A study by US researchers, Jonathan Powell and Clayton Thyne, identified over 200 coup attempts in Africa since the 1950s and about half of these have been successful.