From: "Rex Brown" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Swazinews" <email@example.com>
Subject: SWAZINEWS: African states plan "red cards" on coups
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999 22:57:47 +0200
African states plan "red cards" on coups
By Nicholas Phythian, Reuters
13 July 1999
ALGIERS, July 13 (Reuters) - Africa's leaders, some of whom seized power in
coups themselves, have decided at the final OAU summit of the century to
ostracise any future African leader who takes power by force, an OAU
spokesman said on Tuesday.
A spokesman for host Algeria said that the plan was for the Pan-African
organisation to follow the sports world in introducing a system of political
red and yellow cards for any leader who failed to respect the principle that
power can only change hands through the ballot box.
But the measures, adopted by the leaders meeting in closed session, will not
apply to the current summit, which is being attended by the governments of
Guinea-Bissau and Niger, whose elected presidents were toppled by force
earlier in the year.
"If we have a meeting tomorrow and there's a coup d'etat somewhere (there's)
no way for the leader of that coup to sit with us or to come to us or to be
received by us. Finished. The position is now very clear," OAU spokesman
Ibrahim Daggash told a news conference.
Niger, which has sent its transitional prime minister, and Guinea-Bissau,
represented by its transitional president, were being allowed to attend "in
the African spirit", he said, confirming that some leaders had questioned
Daggash said that future coup leaders would be shunned. "There will be no
dealing with them, there will be diplomatic isolation as well. There are
sanctions that can be put on them as well," he added.
Algerian spokesman Boualem Bessaieh told reporters that there was widespread
support for a suggestion from Nigeria's newly elected President Olusegun
Obasanjo for 2000 to be declared the year of peace and security in Africa.
"It is no longer acceptable for African leaders to come to power by any
other means than elections," he said, likening the planned OAU response to
red and yellow cards in soccer.
But he cautioned against what he called imported models for democracy.
African leaders, who have turned out in force for the summit, are focusing
on the twin goals of ensuring that their continent can embrace economic
globalisation on its own terms and find home-grown solutions to its wars,
Obasanjo, who last addressed an OAU summit as his country's military ruler
two decades ago, set the tone at the start of the three-day meeting on
Monday. "The goal is to create a resurgent Africa which is at peace with
itself," he said.
Algerian officials say that conflict resolution has been at the heart of
U.N. refugee chief Sadako Ogata welcomed fledgling peace deals to end the
wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone but expressed
concern about the plight of civilians caught up in the war between Eritrea
Ogata told a news conference that Congolese President Laurent Kabila, whom
she met on Monday, appeared confident that a ceasefire deal he signed in
Zambia on Saturday -- and which his rebel foes still have to sign -- would
eventually take hold.
"He was reasonably confident that this would be put into practice," she
said, praising a new desire on the part of Africa's leaders to involve
themselves in finding solutions.
Kabila said in a radio interview on Tuesday there was still fighting in his
Central African country despite the peace accord, but played down the
rebels' refusal to sign up to it, saying this "is not a problem as long as
the rebels' masters, those that created them, have signed it."
Ogata took a bleak view on developments in the Horn of Africa, where the war
between Ethiopia and Eritrea has driven an estimated 600,000 people from
their homes. "There are no solutions. I'm very concerned about the situation
of the war there. We are very worried about it," she said.
Kabila and the presidents of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Chad, whose troops fought
for him, were at the summit with presidents of Rwanda and Uganda, whom
Kabila accuses of invading.
Sierra Leone's elected president, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was at the summit. His
rebel foe Foday Sankoh was on the sidelines.
The president of Eritrea and the powerful prime minister of Ethiopia, former
allies whose countries have been at war since May 1998, were both at the
Angola's Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who sent troops to fight for Kabila but
whose country has slipped back into civil war after a five-year lull, was
notable by his absence.
The summit has attracted a record turnout -- 42 of the OAU's 53 members
represented by their head of state. Host President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
welcomed this as an expression of confidence that Algeria was emerging from
a seven-year nightmare in which 100,000 people have died in an Islamist