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Former Nigerian president Obasanjo blames Zimbabwe for wave of coups across the continent

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has blamed Zimbabwe for allegedly setting the wrong precedent of military takeovers in Africa, referring to the ousting of former Zimbabwean leader, the late Robert Mugabe, from power in November 2017.

After addressing the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, Johannesburg, Obasanjo said Africa must find a way out of the toxic culture of military take overs, citing a report by Zim Live.

Obasanjo, who was the African Union’s chief mediator in the Tigray talks, which has resulted in a ceasefire agreement between the Ethiopian government and Tigray Forces in talks brokered in South Africa, said Zimbabwe had set a precedent by removing Mugabe from office in 2017, Zimbabwean news outlet Zim Live reported on Thursday.

“I once moved a motion in 1999 then that any country that has a government not through constitutional means should be suspended,” he said.

“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!” he said, adding, “Citizens of Africa have been able to shun leaders who amend the constitution, intending to personally gain from such amendments,” citing a quote from the Zimbabwe Mail.

Pan African President, Fortune Z. Charumbira, a traditional leader in Zimbabwe, added that part of good governance was to comply with laws put in place, thus echoeing the former Nigerian leader’s sentiments.

In what had all the hallmarks of a coup, apart from the bloodshed and curfews, Zimbabwe’s Major General at the time, S.B. Moyo read a statement during a television broadcast on Zimbabwe’s Broadcasting Corporation.

“To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government,” Moyo said.

Not too long after that, Mugabe resigned, bringing an end to his 37 years of often controversial rule.

According to the then speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament, Mugabe’s decision was voluntary and made a smooth transfer of power possible.

Meanwhile, the Pan-African Parliament’s (PAP) Plenary, at its First Ordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament of the PAP in Midrand, South Africa, adopted a Motion congratulating the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Tigray People’s Liberation Front on signing the peace talks.

Over the past 18 months, there have been seven coups and coup attempts in African countries.

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