A criminologist, Justice Tangabe, has revealed that military regimes in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa are not the solution to addressing issues associated with coups.
According to him, instances of political instability across countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger which have suffered coups communicate to governments the need to have governance that benefits people and respects who they are.
He revealed that due to this, some governments have chosen “democratic governance” for a particular reason, which is to ensure sanctity within the political and economic enclave of countries.
“…. Of course, military regimes are never really the solution. If you look at some of these countries, with Ghana for example, the kind of legal brutalities that you see, it’s not something the military regime is going to solve.
“If you look at unequal distribution of wealth, opportunities, unaccountability – those are not issues the military regime can resolve. But of course, they are issues that if we do not address, they make us vulnerable to some of these incursions”…Justice Tangabe
Furthermore, Mr Tangabe explained that citizens desire governance that creates equal opportunities, whereby political elites respect the rule of law and citizens as well.
Additionally, he noted that it is important for governments to assure its people that there isn’t “impunity or unaccountability”, especially in Ghana, as it has been witnessed in a number of coup affected countries.
“So, I think those are the issues that we have to consider… I think we also have to say that military incursions are not the only thing that any country should be worried about. I think you can have a situation where there’s just a slow decay of institutions, society and so forth – those are things we need to be worried about because again, they would exacerbate whatever problem that we have and we certainly do not want that to happen.”Justice Tangabe
Possibility of coup spillover in Anglophone countries
Commenting on whether there’s bound to be a spillover of coups from francophone to anglophone countries on the continent, Mr Tangabe stated that every country, unless its government has built some “kind of resilience and addressed issues of corruption, equal opportunities” that are democratic in solutions, any country will be vulnerable.
He emphasized that it “will be unwise” for any government to say that it can never happen to their country.
“If you were to ask the Burkinabe government the day before the coup, of course, they would have said it’s not going to happen here… The whole point of military intervention is that sometimes they are unpredictable.
“So, I think we can never say that it will not happen to country A or B within sub-Saharan Africa…”Justice Tangabe
To address issues of coups, Mr Tangabe emphasized that what can assure citizens in a country isn’t merely statements from governing elites, including the military. He explained that assurances must be through clear tangible steps to address some of the issues that are creating dissatisfaction.
“If you look at the Afrobarometer survey, in 2008 only 16% of Ghanaians supported military rule. Today, it’s almost 30%, that should be something that should be a concern.
“What it signals to us is that we are not governing for the benefit of people and if they become desperate, they see in military interventions a certain solution. But as I’ve said, it’s not going to address issues of corruption, among others. So, it’s important we address those things, we use democratic avenues to address those concerns.”Justice Tangabe
It will be recalled that the Ghana Armed Forces pledged to protect the Constitution and the sovereign will of the people, and not to engage in any activity that will threaten the peace and democracy of the state.
With the current state of the nation’s development, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, said, almost every individual in the country understands that governance was not part of the mandate of the GAF.