Civil Society Groups  to Launch Anti-coup Movement in Abuja

Wale Igbintade

The official  launching of a Regional Citizen’s Dialogue Programme,  (RCDP) for preventing and responding to unconstitutional changes of government (UCG) in West Africa will hold on February 27th and 28th, 2024 in Abuja.

The two two-day programme, which will hold at Reiz Hotel in Abuja, will be attended by civil society groups in West Africa and other parts of the continent, including representatives of regional agencies and institutions in Europe.

A statement issued by the group disclosed that the launching would serve as a platform to present, finalise and adoption by participants a revised programme document and a comprehensive yearly implementation work plan for the initial phase of the programme, spanning from February to September, 2024.

The statement observed that there had been seven military coups in Africa in the last three years, with West Africa recording the highest number.

It added that the incidents, including the threat of withdrawal by three member states – Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, and the recent unexpected postponement of elections in Senegal, have topped the agenda of ECOWAS and the AU in recent times.

The statement disclosed that the aim of  RCDP was an attempt by CSOs to support efforts by the African Union and its partners in the implementation of the main outcomes of the AU Accra Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Government (UCG) in Africa (March 2022) and the Malabo Declaration on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa, adopted at the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union Head of States on May 22, 2022.

In a letter of invitation sent to participants, the Director General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Nigeria, Professor Ayo Omatayo, said: “Concerned with the recent wave of military coups across West Africa that threaten the future of democracy and political stability amidst persistent and growing economic hardship, poverty, and security crises induced by violent extremist organisations on the continent, the RCDP is a collaborative effort of a consortium of civil society and research think tanks with leadership drawn from the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Nigeria, the Regional Centre for Governance and Security Policy Initiative (RCGSPI), with headquarter based in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and the Dantiye Centre for Good Leadership and Journalism (DCLJ), Kano, Nigeria, with support from the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), based in Lisbon, Portugal. The regional programme is designed to mobilse and organise civil society contributions towards the prevention, mitigation, and response to incidences of UCG in the West Africa subregion”.

Also, the Chairperson of the RCGSPI, who also doubles as the Chairperson of the AU ECOSOCC Peace and Security Cluster, Dr. Jonathan Sandy, explained that: “The rationale for the RCDP is to complement and support the implementation of the main recommendations from African Governance Report 2023, which focused on UCG in Africa, published by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM); and build synergies with existing initiatives and ongoing efforts such as the AU ECOSOCC Annual Citizen’s Dialogue Forum and the West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS), and for its implementation phase to serve as a platform for enhancing cooperation and complementarity between civil society organisations and ECOWAS institutional mechanisms in response to UCGs in West Africa”.

The Chairman of the DCLJ, Emeritus Professor Munzali Jibril, said:

“In light of the current developments in the subregion, this intervention could not have come at a better time. The Dantiye Centre is particularly excited that this regional initiative would strengthen the voice of civil society, especially the press, in our collective effort to make government and institutions more responsive and accountable.”

International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) Senior Programme Manager for Africa, Agustin Nunez said ‘With 80% of the world’s population adhering to a religion, faith communities represent a powerful driver for transformation and change. Religious leaders are uniquely placed in supporting good governance initiatives, as their approaches and perspectives derive from a value-based vision. Religion in its instituted form is part of the voluntary associations which make up civil society, these faith-based organizations have a unique point of view to contribute to the regional and global dialogue and engagements aimed at identifying solutions to the most pressing global challenges, including unconditional changes of government.

“Given the trust and access religious leaders have within their respective faith communities, engaging with religious leaders on a multi-faith basis and factoring their views and perspectives in interventions for peace and development, ensures the creation of more inclusive, stable and sustainably peaceful societies. It is therefore crucial to involve as a fundamental part of this RCDP.”

“The ultimate goal of the RCDP is to contribute towards safeguarding constitutional order, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, peace, security, stability and good governance, as pathways to the achievement of the vision and aspirations of the African Union Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030 initiative, the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”.

Related Articles