General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the leader of the military junta that took power in Niger in July, revealed in a speech this weekend that he had actually bought his deals to draft a comprehensive plan to shift towards democracy, vowing not to remain in power for more than 3 years.
Tchiani’s nationally telecasted address on Saturday followed a day of meetings in between his coup conspirators and agents of the Economic Neighborhood of West African States (ECOWAS), a Nigeria-led union of which Niger was a member prior to Tchiani, then the head of the governmental guard, ousted democratically chosen President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26. ECOWAS has enthusiastically turned down the coup and threatened consistently to attack Niger and oust Tchiani’s “National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland.”
In response, the nations of Mali and Burkina Faso, also led by recently installed military coup juntas, declared any attack on the Niger coup leaders would be “a statement of war” versus them too– developing the capacity for a world war and prompting ECOWAS to resume attempts at discussion.
The “National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland” organized the 3rd coup attempt and the only successful one so far versus Bazoum, who became president in 2021. As the fourth coup in the area against federal governments thought about reasonably friendly to the West– and in Burkina Faso and Mali, resulting in the installment of military juntas favoring closer ties to Russia– Tchiani’s relocation alarmed the federal government of leftist President Joe Biden, which has consistently demanded the restoration of Bazoum’s administration to no avail.
Following negotiations with ECOWAS this weekend, nevertheless, Tchiani released a 12-minute speech on national television vowing that the coup was aware of “the desire for true democracy” in the country and would not result in a forever ruling dictatorship.
“For the people to pick their leaders, there need to be a transparent system in which the opponents are not sent to prison or banished, in which genuine transfer of power is possible and in which civil society can easily express themselves and show, without being fretted,” Tchiani said, according to a transcript of his remarks released by the Nigerien site A Niamey.
The enormous assistance for the people for the [National Council] in Niger– as in our Malian, Burkinabè and Guinean sibling countries, among others– reflected not the desire for autocratic governance, however a desire for true democracy that brings great for all. We are fully aware of this.
Tchiani revealed that he had actually bought his leading authorities to assemble proposals within thirty days to “define the fundamental principles which need to federal government our transition, to define the transition period, the duration of which can not go beyond 3 years, to specify national priorities,” and “to recall the essential values which must direct the re-foundation of the Republic.”
The coup leader specified his group would prepare a brand-new constitution for the nation.
The coup leader did not define how the transition to power would go or who the power would transition to. He did not mention the capacity for elections, instead providing the appearance that the 1 month of deliberation for his group was meant to address those questions.
Tchiani likewise threatened ECOWAS with the full blast of the Nigerien military and the aid of the armies of Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali if it picks a military intervention.
“If an assault were to be carried out versus us, it will not be the walk in the park that some people want to believe,” he warned.
The remarks followed what appeared to be the very first relatively effective talks in between an ECOWAS delegation and the “National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland.” Tchiani had two times refused to consult with ECOWAS representatives because of the hostility of their preliminary declaration concerning the coup.
In late July, ECOWAS published a declaration giving Tchiani a demand: give up power and bring back Bazoum’s authority by August 6, one week after the statement, or deal with a military intrusion, most likely led by the biggest ECOWAS member, Nigeria. The due date reoccured without any ECOWAS action; the Niger coup leaders closed the airspace around the country to prevent fighter jets from entering.
ECOWAS took the action of triggering its standby force to make sure speedy action of the head of the union, current Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who bought an intrusion. Abdel-Fatau Musa, the ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, repeated the group’s alleged ability to invade successfully in remarks on Saturday after the peace discussion with Tchiani.
“We will see how conversations unfold. If we realize that conversations are going no place, I can guarantee you that we are not going to engage in endless discussion [or] the discussion of the deaf,” the Nigerian paper Leadership priced quote Musa as saying.
Prior to the talks on Saturday, ECOWAS leaders declared that they had agreed upon a “D-Day” deadline on which they would attack Niger if diplomacy stops working but refused to call their date in public.
“We are all set to go at any time the order is offered. The D-day is likewise decided. We have actually currently agreed and fine-tuned what will be required for the intervention. As we speak, we are still preparing [a] mediation mission into the country, so we have not shut any door,” Musa said prior to the talks.
The ECOWAS delegation in Niamey met with senior coup leaders, consisting of Tchiani, and with Bazoum, who the coup leaders have kept in a state of house arrest at the presidential house given that their seizure of power.
“We met him (Bazoum) and heard his side of the story. He told us what was done to him and the difficulties he is facing. We will interact this to ECOWAS leaders. Doors for talks are now open for an enduring option,” the head of the ECOWAS delegation, former Nigerian President General Abdulsalami Abubakar, told press reporters.
On Sunday, following Tchiani’s speech, ECOWAS leaders declined his three-year plan, in part on the premises that the coup plotters had completely ignored the initial August 6 final notice to bring back Bazoum.