Military Intervention Strategy Undermines AU and UN Charters
It is said that the worst form of democracy is ten times better than military rule. In the same vein, others can also say it is better for people to coexist under dictatorial regime than imposition of democracy through military interventions that leave so much devastation. In other words, the worst form of dictatorship is better than military intervention. It is debatable. Each state or country in Africa and elsewhere in the world is considered sovereign. Therefore, intervening militarily in the affairs of a country violates the very principle of state sovereignty.
In the past couple of years, Africa has seen military interventions to oust sitting presidents who have lost in an election but have refused to hand over power or overthrow leaders that are considered tyrant. The countries that quickly come to mind are Libya and Cote D’Ivoire. In the case of Libya and Iraq, the intervention was not due to election dispute. Leaders of those countries were considered tyrants and dictators who must be removed at all cost. And it appears the trend of military intervention has come to stay as it has become acceptable as the best form of dealing with dictators and the likes.
I must also say that some of the military interventions we have witnessed in the past couple of years were based on certain motives. Some were meant to settle a score, some were to show supremacy, some were based on mere falsehood perpetrated by the western media. Indeed some would argue that irrespective of the motive behind some of these interventions, it has yielded good results. Indeed when you cost the cost of those military interventions, you would conclude that it’s not worth it. Infrastructure worth millions of dollars are destroyed. Lives are lost. The infrastructure can be built again at a higher cost even though it might take a long time but lives that have been lost cannot be replaced. Putting all these things together clearly indicate that it’s not worth it!
Whichever way one looks at military intervention as the best solution to dealing with leaders wanting to hang onto power illegally, dialogue should not be relegated to the background. I am against any leader who ascended to the highest office of president through an election but have refused to descend when his term of office was over or have lost in an election. But imagine what would happen if we continue to use military interventions to resolve every single electoral impasse or remove dictators. The frequency of open atrocities that are being committed across Libya today, for example, cannot be compared to the perceived human right violations that occurred under their ousted leader.
I am wondering if the AU in particular is attempting to adopt military intervention as one of its objectives. And if that is the long term plan, then it must be expressly stated and adopted by member states because leaders are often divided over military interventions. Moreover, I will support any military intervention that would be aimed at the president alone without destroying any property or taking any life. But how possible is it to go in there and take out the president? Absolutely no! The same person being accused as a dictator or hanging onto power has some level of support from his people. He has support in the security forces too. So it would be a daunting task to remove a president without hurting anyone or destroying some infrastructure.
Military intervention, I think, is a mark of laziness. Every person has someone he respects. In attempting to resolve a political impasse through dialogue, there would be the need to look for that person who can do the job. The job of dialogue is not done just by anyone. You can be an expert in dialogue but it’s not every issue you can resolve successfully.
In Ghana, for example, we have Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) that has been found to be very effective in resolving some domestic and civil cases. I am wondering if the same system can be adopted into the AU charter. I am very sure when this system is adopted, it would reduce military intervention strategy currently in practice. That would save lives and infrastructure. Even if dialogue would take a long to achieve the desired results, military intervention should be resorted. If it would take several years to dialogue with a president wanting to hang onto power, it is still hundred times better than a few days military intervention to remove him from power.