Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara

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Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara
Mainassara official.jpg
President of Niger
In office
January 27, 1996 – April 9, 1999
Prime Minister Boukary Adji
Amadou Cissé
Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki
Preceded by Mahamane Ousmane
Succeeded by Daouda Malam Wanké
Personal details
Born (1949-05-09)May 9, 1949
Dogondoutchi, Niger, French West Africa
Died April 9, 1999(1999-04-09) (aged 49)
Niamey, Niger
Political party UNIRD→RDP
Military service
Service/branch Nigerien Army
Years of service 1970–1996
Rank Colonel

Colonel Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara (May 9, 1949 – April 9, 1999) was a military officer in the West African country of Niger who seized power in a January 1996 coup d'état and ruled the country until his assassination during the military coup of April 1999.

Maïnassara, a member of Niger's Hausa ethnic majority, was born in Dogondutchi in 1949, and pursued a military career. Maïnassara was named Army Chief of Staff in March 1995, under a constitution which had moved Niger from military rule in 1991.[1]

Political conflict[edit]

Parliamentary elections in January 1995 resulted in cohabitation between President Mahamane Ousmane and a parliament controlled by his opponents, led by Prime Minister Hama Amadou.[2] Rivalry between Ousmane and Amadou effectively paralyzed the government, and Maïnassara seized power on January 27, 1996,[2] pointing to the difficult political situation as justification.[2][3]

Rule of Niger[edit]

Under Maïnassara's rule, a new constitution was approved by referendum in May 1996, and a presidential election was held on July 7–8, 1996. Maïnassara took about 52% of the vote,[4] but the election was widely viewed as fraudulent. On the second day of polling he had the electoral commission dissolved and replaced it with another electoral commission; on the same day, he also had the four opposition candidates placed under house arrest, which lasted for two weeks.[5] Maïnassara was sworn in on August 7.[3][5]

The National Union of Independents for Democratic Renewal (UNIRD) was established in 1996 to support Maïnassara in that year's elections, but subsequently the Rally for Democracy and Progress-Jama'a was established as the ruling party. With the constitution barring presidents from leading parties, Hamid Algabid became leader of the RDP-Jama'a in August 1997.[6]

Local elections were held in February 1999, and in early April the Supreme Court released results which showed the opposition winning more seats than Maïnassara's supporters; the Court also cancelled the results in many areas and ordered elections there to be held again.[7][8] The opposition called for protests against the cancellation of results on April 8.[8]

Death[edit]

On April 9, 1999, Maïnassara was ambushed and shot to death by soldiers at the airport in the capital city of Niamey as he was going to board a helicopter attempting flee the country, reportedly by members of the Presidential Guard.[9][10] The circumstances of the killing were not clear;[11] rumors suggested that Maïnassara was attempting to flee the country.[3] Initially his death was officially described as an "unfortunate accident", but this claim was widely considered implausible.[12][11][13] Coup leader Daouda Malam Wanké succeeded him as head of state and initiated a political transition that ended with elections late in the year.[13]

The constitution adopted in a July 1999 referendum provides for an amnesty for participants in both the 1996 and 1999 coups. An investigation into Maïnassara's death had begun in June 1999, but following the amnesty it was ended in September.[14] The RDP-Jama'a has demanded an international inquiry into his death in the years since.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "President Mainassara: A profile", BBC News, April 9, 1999.
  2. ^ a b c Jibrin Ibrahim and Abdoulayi Niandou Souley, "The rise to power of an opposition party: the MNSD in Niger Republic", Unisa Press, Politeia, Vol. 15, No. 3, 1996.
  3. ^ a b c Kaye Whiteman, "Obituary: Ibrahim Bare Mainassara", The Independent (London), April 12, 1999.
  4. ^ Elections in Niger, African Elections Database.
  5. ^ a b "Niger: A major step backwards", Amnesty International, October 16, 1996.
  6. ^ "NIGER - New party leader for RDP", IRIN-WA Weekly Roundup 10-97 of Main Events in West Africa covering period 19–25 August 1997.
  7. ^ "NIGERIA: Partial result of local elections announced", IRIN, April 8, 1999.
  8. ^ a b "RAPPORT DE LA MISSION D’OBSERVATION DES ELECTIONS PRESIDENTIELLES ET LEGISLATIVES DES 17 OCTOBRE ET 24 NOVEMBRE 1999", democratie.francophonie.org (French).
  9. ^ "Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "1999: President of Niger 'killed in ambush'". BBC. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Niger: The people of Niger have the right to truth and justice", Amnesty International, April 6, 2000.
  12. ^ "New military leader for Niger", BBC News, April 12, 1999.
  13. ^ a b "Military rule ends in Niger", BBC News, December 22, 1999.
  14. ^ "Niger: Conditions of the amnesty granted to the perpetrators of the coups d'état of 27 January 1996 and of 9 April 1999; possibility that some of the guilty, in particular the former director of national security and the head of the special unit, were imprisoned following the coup d'état of 9 April 1999, then released without conditions after the amnesty", Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada (UNHCR.org), October 29, 1999.
  15. ^ "Niger: Democratic Rally of the People-Jama'a-RDP (Rassemblement démocratique du peuple-Jama'a), including its leadership, its youth clubs, the role that the party holds following the assassination of President Ibrahim Maïnassara on 19 April 1999; whether its members are involved in strikes or demonstrations demanding an inquiry into the President's assassination. If so, the date and location of these strikes, and response of the current government to participants on strike; whether arrests were made following these strikes (April 1999-September 2002)", Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada (UNHCR.org), September 19, 2002.
Preceded by
Mahamane Ousmane
President of Niger
1996–1999
Succeeded by
Daouda Malam Wanké