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The Africa Report

Sameera Casmod | sameerac@radioislam.co.za
08 August 2023 | 11:01am SAST
2 min read

In this week’s Africa Report on Radio Islam International, Dr. Emmanuel Mutambo, Research Director of the Centre for Africa-China Studies, delved into critical issues surrounding recent developments in Africa. The conversation touched on the rise of coups, civilian support for military juntas, the role of Western powers, and the distinctive case of South Africa’s democratic stability.

Considering the attempted coup in Niger, Dr. Mutambo expressed concerns about the potential threat to democracy on the continent. He highlighted the challenges of entrenching liberal democracy and the struggle Africans have faced in achieving democratic ideals. Dr. Mutambo pointed out the indictment on democracy that these coups represent and how they undermine the progress made in democratic governance.

Regarding the role of regional economic communities and the African Union in enforcing civilian government and democracy, Dr. Mutambo emphasised the need for these organisations to be more forceful in adhering to their own principles. He cited the African Union’s declaration against unconstitutional seizure of power and stressed the importance of strong implementation to curb such actions.

Discussing civilian support for military juntas, particularly in Niger and Burkina Faso, Dr. Mutambo attributed this tacit support to security concerns. He noted that insurgency violence in West Africa has led many ordinary Africans to hope for military intervention as a means to combat terrorism and restore security, even though the long-term success of such a strategy is questionable.

Dr. Mutambo delved into the role of Western powers in coups on the continent. While historically, European powers actively participated in coups during the Cold War era, the current dynamics are different. He highlighted that Western powers are seen as a menace, often contributing to Africans’ revolt against civilian governments. He cited examples of leaders being viewed as puppets of Western countries, which has led to public demands for independence from foreign influence.

Exploring the unique case of South Africa, Dr. Mutambo identified strong institutions as a key factor in preventing threats of coups. He highlighted the country’s independent judiciary, active legislature, and an executive that has largely adhered to the constitution. This stands in contrast to other African nations where weak institutions and strong militaries create a different political landscape.

In closing, Dr. Mutambo underscored the importance of understanding the complex dynamics at play in Africa’s political landscape. The interview shed light on the challenges to democracy, the influence of Western powers, and South Africa’s distinct path toward democratic stability.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaiman Ravat here.

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