A few hours ago, Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, the National Director of Security of Mauritania, launched himself into power and shut his boss, President Maaoya Taya, out of Nouakchott.
This action, brought the 21-year rule of Taya to a dramatic and calculated end, in this 3 million peopled desert of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
It must however be early, quickly and clearly pointed out before the euphoria subsides, that Colonel Vall and his 16-member Military Junta for ‘Justice and Democracy’, have arrived a little too late, on the stage of political history.
Much as the people of Mauritania may have been wearied by the lack-lustre regime of Taya, as it was begining to show through an unprecedentedly free and fair elections of 2003, the unconstitutional overthrow of this elected government is nothing but a hijack of due democratic process by an ambitious self-appointed messiahnic group of the specialized paramilitary gendarmerie, known as Presidential Guards, headed by Vall.
Though, Taya’s Democratic Social Republican Party (PRDS) still holds sway with a 79% majority in the legislature, the begining of real opposition by about 15 political parties that contested the last elections with growing sympaties amongst the populace, has dawned on Mauritania. There is no way Taya and his party would have won a fourth straight victory at the next elections using the yardstick of the last polls of 2003.
It this growing popular democracy that the ambitious elements in the Mauritanian Army attempts to abort. It is very probable that colonel Vall and his junta would try to seek popular base of support by anti-western sentiments, but this political line, if towed, would spell untold disaster for the new regime. Ask Sadam, who tried it in 1991 and was humiliated for it.
The questions which this self-styled ‘Justice and Democracy’ Messiahs of the 3 million poverty-sapped people of Muritania could not or ever answer in the days to come are: What happens to the legislative elections due next year, 2006? What happens to the 20 seats- 21%of the National Assembly and the Senate, controlled by the opposition parties? Is the 2-year time-table of restoration of ‘true elections’ by the junta not a ploy to gain a breathing space and legitimise its own rule? After 18 years in the saddle as National security Director, Is Colonel Vall just realising now that Taya is ‘dictatorial and repressive’?
Could it be that the real lure for the junta to take over power is the recently discovered one billion barrels deposit of crude oil? Can we be assured that junta greed for self-enrichment is not traceable to the 30 billion cubit feet of natural gas just discovered? Wont this make the junta to prolong and postpone the promised ‘true elctions’ like in the case of its Nigerian counterpart which plauged and devoured national and peoples resouces for 30 years before being forced to abdicate power? Can Colonel Vall boldly tell the world that this coup was not the climax of his carefully planned ambition of 6 years ago that got a fillip when he travelled to all the 12 regions(Wilaya) of Mauritania in 1999, as the commander of the militarized police force, to inspect and reinforce (prepare) them for this day?
One thing though is certain, our people in Africa are tired of the musical chairs of dictators. We yearn for true development and progress. We are not ready for another experimental adventure in failure in the hands of some opportunistic leaders.
Aderemi Ojikutu (Aderaskeey) is a Motivational Author and Youth Mentor. He is a minister of the Word of God. A political economist and political leader. He is President of the TREASURE WRITERS CLUB in Nigeria (http://treasurewriters.50megs.com). He is also the current President of the National Democratic Forum (N.D.F). He was National Mobilisation Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students (N.A.N.S) for several years. A revolutionary of over two decades, he was also the political secretary of the defunct Nigerian Labour Party in 1991.