Niger’s detained President Mohamed Bazoum captured headlines worldwide following the coup orchestrated by the country’s military personnel on national TV.
Led by Colonel Amadou Abdramane, the military men announced the dissolution of the constitution, suspension of all institutions, and closed the nation’s borders.
Bazoum who has been held captive by the presidential guard has had a prosperous political career across several decades.
As international organisations continue to express support for Niger’s democracy, it becomes necessary to delve into the essential aspects of Mohamed Bazoum’s life and political career. Let’s get in.
His administration is Niger’s first peaceful democratic transition
President Bazoum has been very active in Niger’s government since 1995 when he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also occupied that same position between 2011-2015.
Bazoum went further to serve as the Minister of State for Interior, Public Security, Decentralization, and Customary and Religious Affairs from 2016 to 2020 during Issoufou’s second term in office. He resigned in 2016 to focus on his ambition of becoming president.
He contested the election in December 2020 and reportedly garnered a 39% vote. A run-off election between the two top candidates had to be conducted. Bazoum won the second round of the presidential election with 55.67% of the vote against former president Mahamane Ousmane.
Reports say there was a coup attempt a few days before his inauguration as president, but the coup was curtailed by troops loyal to the government. Bazoum was later sworn in as planned and he made history as his government became the first peaceful democratic transition in Niger’s history.
Bazoum’s vote contributed to the removal of Prime Minister Hama Amadou
Bazoum who has been actively involved in politics for years was named as one of 14 deputies to file a censure motion against Prime Minister Hama Amadou on the 26th of May, 2007.
The vote of no-confidence defeated Amadou’s government on the 31st of May, 2007. The detained president commended Niger’s political class for putting an end to the mandate of a government that specialised in the predation of public funds.
He asked the people to boycott the August 2009 constitutional referendum
The 2009 constitutional referendum proposed the dissolution of the Fifth Republic and the creation of the Sixth Republic under a fully presidential system of government. But Bazoum urged the people to boycott the referendum. Bazoum was detained and questioned for two hours over his instructions on the 14th of July, 2009.
Bazoum established the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism in the 1990s
Bazoum’s passion for democracy is seen in his establishment of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism in the 1990s, alongside Mahamadou Issoufou. Their party presented Mahamadou Issofou as the presidential candidate in January-March 2011. Issoufou who was president of the party stepped down for Bazoum, after securing victory at the polls.
Bazoum who became acting president of the party, held strategic positions in Issoufou’s government. He later resigned after being named as Issoufou’s successor in the 2020/2021 Nigerien general election.
Bazoum is the first Diffa Arab to be elected as Niger’s president
Bazoum is the first Diffa Arab to become president in Niger. Diffa Arab is the Nigerien name given to Arabicized nomadic tribespeople living in eastern Niger, mostly in the Diffa Region.
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