Africa: Are the Military Coups a Recovery Reaction from the Civilian President Constitutional Coups?
The much-celebrated constitutional order has been discredited in a context where constitutions are routinely violated, regulating mechanisms are often neutralized, and incumbent presidents consistently violate term limits. For instance, Cote d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara and Guinea’s Alpha Condé both violated constitutionally locked term limits to run for presidential elections. As the Nigerian writer Jibrin Ibrahim demonstrates, under the current nominal democracy, elected Presidents have also perpetrated coups of an electoral or constitutional nature. In Tunisia, the government of President Kaïs Saïed has taken a de facto authoritarian turn in July 2021. Through rule by decree, Saïed has tempered the constitutional and judicial structure and therefore neutralized any meaningful checks and balances.
In the 1990s, the demand for democratic opening was externally driven by development aid partners and Bretton Woods and other multilateral agencies. The democratic norm was being push through as African states were also being pressured to cut public expenditure in education, health and other social services. Yet the ongoing demand for democracy is internal in kind, it is a popular demand for a different kind of politics and a different kind of democratic participation and not a ‘performance’ on the basis of the Mo Ibrahim index or similar instruments.
What is the Real Deal for Foreign Interests with the African Military Government?
“African countries have had conditions common for coups, like poverty and poor economic performance. When a country has one coup, that’s often a harbinger of more coups.”
On the Sahel region, within a year or so, five coups d’état have successively rocked Mali, Chad, Guinea, and Burkina Faso in widespread unrest that risks destabilizing the entire region again.
The main issue was the government’s failure to stem jihadist attacks that have destabilised broad swathes of Burkina Faso, displaced 1.4 million people, and caused 2,000 deaths last year alone. The general feeling in the country is that the time has come to try an alternative government. The coup leader and president is 41-year old Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Damiba, an infantry officer trained in France and the United States. There are disturbing reports that just last week, he tried to convince President Kabore to hire the Russian Wagner paramilitary group and failed. What is known is that one of the first persons to congratulate Damiba is Putin’s friend and reputed owner of the Wagner Group, Evguini Priggojine, who spoke of, “a new era of decolonisation in Africa”. Signalling, I suspect, the substitution of the Russian for the French imperial power. Source
“The ongoing instability lays bare the accumulated effects of decades of aggressive neoliberal reforms that have eroded the social fabric, the growing significance of a politicized, young generation of Africans that do not share the same political culture as their elders, and the massive failure of the war against terror in the Sahel that has produced neither security nor stability. It also points to some of the ways in which fierce geopolitical battles are likely to wreak havoc in the African continent as Western hegemonic influences decline in the region.”
Source: ROAPE, March 8, 2022 – Coups, insurgency, and imperialism in Africa, Review of African Political Economy
We are only in the fourth year of the current decade and in 2020 only one coup was reported in Mali.
Between April-August 2020, massive crowds gathered in Bamako and in major Malian cities to denounce endemic misrule, a series of corruption scandals involving specifically the purchase of military equipment amid insecurity across the country. The government of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita had also been marred by the accusation of massive fraud in the legislative elections of March 2020. Mali’s security situation had deteriorated drastically since 2015. The country fell into a state of chronic instability with burgeoning violence coming not only from jihadist forces but also from government-backed militias and self-defense groups. Following months-long popular mobilization led by the M5 RFP coalition – the 5 June Mouvement and the Rally of Patriotic Forces – crowds literally escorted the military to the presidential palace. These are the circumstances that saw the takeover of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) military council.
Military coups were a regular occurrence in Africa in the decades after independence and there is concern they are starting to become more frequent.
There were two takeovers in Burkina Faso in 2022 as well as failed coup attempts in Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, and the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe.
In 2021, there were six coup attempts in Africa, four of them successful.
We are only in the fourth year of the current decade and while in 2020 only one coup was reported (in Mali), in 2021 there was a noticeably higher-than-average number – six coups or attempted coups were recorded.
There were successful coups in Chad, Mali, Guinea, and Sudan and failed military takeovers in Niger and Sudan all in that year.
Sudan has had the most coups and attempted takeovers amounting to 16 – six of them successful. In 2019, long-serving leader Omar al-Bashir was removed from power following months of protests. Bashir had himself taken over in a military coup in 1989.
Last year, there were five attempts although only two – in Burkina Faso – succeeded.
Nigeria had a reputation for military coups in the years following independence with eight between January 1966 and the takeover by Gen Sani Abacha in 1993.
However, since 1999 transfers of power in Africa’s most populous nation have been by democratic election.
Burundi’s history has been marked by eleven separate coups, mostly driven by the tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi communities.
Sierra Leone experienced three coups between 1967 and 1968, and another one in 1971. Between 1992 and 1997, it experienced five further coup attempts.
Ghana has also had its share of military coups, with eight in two decades. The first was in 1966 when Kwame Nkrumah was removed from power, and in the following year, there was an unsuccessful attempt by junior army officers.
A study by two US researchers, Jonathan Powell, and Clayton Thyne, has identified over 200 such attempts in Africa since the 1950s. About half of these have been successful – defined as lasting more than seven days.
Burkina Faso, in West Africa, has had the most successful coups, with nine takeovers and only one failed coup.
Sometimes, those taking part in such an intervention deny it’s a coup.
In 2017 in Zimbabwe, a military takeover brought Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule to an end. One of the leaders, Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo, appeared on television at the time, flatly denying a military takeover.
In April 2021 after the death of the Chadian leader, Idriss Déby, the army installed his son as interim president leading a transitional military council. His opponents called it a “dynastic coup”.
Overall, Africa has experienced more coups than any other continent. Of the 16 coups recorded globally since 2017, all but one – Myanmar in 2021 – have been in Africa.
Are military takeovers on the rise in Africa?
- Published 4 January
Flagrant contradiction in this presentation or it is just evidence of the real flaw of such production or “jamais deux sans trois”, it is also just manipulation of Politics of Fears and Threats as well as Risks to open the road to civilian power that will be much easier to bend to accept allegiance to foreign powers that can have a hand behind these sources instability instilled in Mali just to undermine whatever authorities are in place and are not obedient to the foreign interests and we have seen that again and again from Tripoli to Kigali In Katanganika.
If the Western media and states have spent energy, thought, money, and efforts in discrediting the African regimes, military and civilian alike, and if they have devoted themselves to the pursuit of improving life in Africa, we will not be having this discussion.
What is your reaction to this article and my above question?
September 26, 2022
Collection Published by Said El Mansour Cherkaoui
Research papers and Analysis report on East Africa covering the period between November 17, 2020, to September 26, 2022
Collection Published by Said El Mansour Cherkaoui Research papers and Analysis reports on East Africa … Continue reading Africa Destiny: Easter Horn, Food and Institutional Insecurity
On Wednesday, June 14, 2023, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) released the report titled “Regional Focus of the Global Report on Food Crisis 2023,” which shows that 30 million people will require food assistance in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.
The hunger levels are inextricably linked to climate disasters, conflict, insecurity, and economic shocks, IGAD Secretary Gebeyehu said.
According to the report, of the 30 million food-insecure population, an estimated 7.5 million people in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan are projected to face large food consumption gaps.
Over 83,000 individuals are anticipated to face an extreme lack of food in the most severe drought and conflict-affected areas of the region, particularly in Somalia and South Sudan.
Even if the March-May 2023 rains bring some relief from the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in more than four decades, the region will continue to deal with its catastrophic consequences in 2023 and beyond, the report noted.
It added that the recovery of pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods from the devastating three-year drought will take years and humanitarian assistance continues to be critical until households and communities can recover.
In Sudan, the impact of the ongoing conflict on food availability and access is expected to drive a rapid deterioration in food security and nutrition security with the capital of Khartoum and the region of Darfur being most affected.
By mid-May, more than 1 million people had fled their homes with around 843 000 people being newly displaced internally and over 250,000 people fleeing to neighboring countries.
The IGAD report said key stakeholders should align efforts and share evidence and information which extend beyond immediate relief measures and encompass long-term strategies to achieve sustainable food security in the region.