Rising Coups in Africa– a cause of concern

Features Rising Coups in Africa– a cause of concern
SEP 18, 2023 LISTEN

Africa is responsible for the most successful military coups—106—of the at least 242 that have taken place worldwide since 1950. A trend that must be a cause of concern to every African on the continent.

A neoliberal democratic program was launched in Africa following the end of the Cold War. In favor of political plurality and the rule of law, it vowed to free the continent from authoritarianism and military coups. Therefore, many years later, coups were believed to be uncommon, if not extinct, and dictatorships to be in decline.

There have been many explanations suggested for the recent surge of coups, but it is more important to consider whether they are only a passing fad or the start of a long-lasting trend.

Given the escalating mistrust between people and their governments and the rapid deterioration of the already teetering democratic and economic systems across the continent, the latter seems to be the reality.

In either case, coups are infrequently a remedy for poor administration. The pattern needs to be reversed immediately. It also calls for a reconsideration of the neoliberal democratic mission in Africa, nevertheless.

With 17 coups and attempted takeovers, six of which were successful, Sudan has experienced the most.

With nine takeovers and one unsuccessful attempt, Burkina Faso in West Africa has experienced the most successful coups.

Following independence, Nigeria had a reputation for military takeovers with eight occurring between January 1966 and Gen. Sani Abacha's takeover in 1993.

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.

Eleven different coups have occurred throughout Burundi's history, most of them were sparked by conflicts between the Hutu and Tutsi populations.

Between 1967 and 1968, there were three coups in Sierra Leone, and there was a fourth in 1971. Additional coup attempts totaled five between 1992 and 1997.