What SECAM Wants Done to Address Crises in Coup-affected Countries in Africa

Screenshot of military officers in Gabon announcing that they had seized power. Credit: Gabon National Television

Members of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) have weighed in on military coups that have affected African countries in recent years.

Since August 2020, Africa has experienced a total of seven military coups, the latest ones being the July 26 one in the West African nation of Niger that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum from power, and the one in the Central African nation of Gabon on August 30, which resulted in the ouster of President Ali Bongo from power.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Friday, September 8, SECAM members who unveil recommendations for peace in the Sahel and the Central African region caution against military interventions, which they say worsen the political instability in the African regions.

Catholic Bishops in Africa, who say they will not “remain indifferent to what is happening on the Continent” recommend that “all stakeholders in the affected countries come together, engage in constructive dialogue, and explore peaceful avenues to resolve the conflict.”

“We encourage all warring parties to consider the option of mediation and embrace the spirit of reconciliation, fostering understanding and healing among their people,” SECAM members say in their three-page statement dated September 7.


They urge “political and military leadership to protect and respect the human rights of their citizens throughout the conflict resolution process.”

Catholic Bishops in Africa are calling upon the African Union (UN) to “provide mediation and resources to facilitate the peaceful resolution of the conflict” in all the coup-affected African countries.

They call upon Christians in the world’s second-largest continent and its surrounding islands to “intensify prayer to God for an end to the conflict and for the return of peace and normalcy in the regions where conflict is being experienced on the continent.”

In the September 7 statement that the President of SECAM, Fridolin Besungu Cardinal Ambongo, signed, Catholic Bishops in Africa observe that the coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Gabon, “seem to have something in common”.

They explain, “According to their proponents, their aim is to put an end to the system of predation and widespread corruption instituted by deposed regimes under the guise of a democracy supposedly meant to bring prosperity to African countries.”

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“It’s true that Africa, which abounds in rich natural resources such as uranium in Niger and oil in Gabon, to name but a few, have the potential to achieve social and economic development for its populations,” SECAM members say, adding that they find it regrettable the continent is still confronted with endemic poverty, which they relate to what they refer to as “economic colonialism”.

They advocate for cross-national collaboration to foster stability across the continent, saying, “Africa possesses the necessary means and talented individuals to achieve its development goals.”

“The African Union should encourage the exchange of ideas and resources among its member states to prevent getting trapped and becoming prisoners of rigid ideological alignments,” Catholic Bishops in Africa say in their September 7 statement shared with ACI Africa.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.