From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The West African Elders Forum (WAEF) has strongly condemned the military coup in Burkina Faso, calling it a democratic sacrilege that betrays hope and rewinds the clock of democratic progress in Burkina Faso and the sub-region.
A statement by Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigeria’s former President, convener of the Forum and Chairman of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) said the Forum is disturbed by the gradual ceding of the region’s civic space to military adventurers and un-elected leaders.
Describing military coup as an unacceptable aberration, WAEF declared that Africa cannot afford to be returned to an “inglorious era when the people’s rights, freedoms and development impetus were restricted.”
The Forum further called for the immediate release of deposed President Roch Kabore and all others being detained and urged the military leaders to return the country to constitutional rule.
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The statement reads in part: “The West African Elders Forum (WAEF) condemns the military takeover of government and suspension of constitutional order in Burkina Faso by a group of military officers.
“The coup is a political sacrilege that betrays hope, as it rewinds the clock of democratic progress and successes recorded in Burkina Faso and the sub-region, in the past decades.
“As a Forum, we are disturbed by the gradual ceding of our civil and democratic spaces to military adventurers and unelected leaders. This unfortunate trend is embarrassing to our sub-region and the entire continent. The military are trained to protect the state and its sovereignty and not to deploy their guns to overthrow elected civil authorities.
“We state without equivocation that the military should not be seen as the alternative to civil rule. Africa had experienced a long spell of military rule in the past and the people of the continent cannot afford to be returned to an inglorious era when the people’s rights, freedoms and development impetus were restricted.
“We condemn this political aberration in our sub-region and stress that it is unacceptable. We encourage all stakeholders to work in unity in order to safeguard our democracy as well as deliver to our people peace, justice and good governance to our people.
“We call for the immediate release of deposed President Roch Kabore and all others being detained and urge the military leaders to return the country to constitutional rule.”