Is military takeover increasing in Africa?
After the military takeover in Burkina Faso, the crowd celebrates on the street
Military coups have been occurring regularly in Africa for decades since independence, and there are concerns that their frequency is increasing.
There have already been two military hijackings in Burkina Faso this year, and another failed coup attempt in Guinea-Bissau. In
2021, the number of coups in Africa was higher than in the previous year. When is the
coup d’etat? One definition used is that of an illegal and overt attempt by the military or other civilian officials to unseat sitting leaders.
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 successfully defined as lasting more than seven days.
Burkina Faso, in West Africa, has had the most successful coups, with eight takeovers and only one failed coup.
There were celebrations after the Zimbabwe army intervened against President Mugabe in 2017
Sometimes, those taking part in such an intervention deny it`s a coup.
In 2017, a military takeover in Zimbabwe ended Robert Mugabe‘s 37-year reign. Maj. Gen. Sibusiso Moyo, one of the leaders, appeared on television at the time and flatly denied the military takeover.
Zimbabwe: How can you tell if a coup is happening? After the death of Chad’s leader Idriss Dévi in April last year, the military appointed his son as interim president and led the interim military council. His opponent called it a “dynasty coup.”
“Coup leaders, almost without exception, deny that their actions were coups to look legitimate,” says Jonathan Powell.
How often do coups occur in Africa? The total number of coups attempted in Africa was very constant for the 40 years from 1960 to 2000, averaging about four times a year.
Jonathan Powell says this is not surprising given the instability experienced by African countries in the years following independence.
African coup bar graph
“African countries were in a common situation in coups, such as poverty and poor economic performance. If a country has a coup, it often heralds a further coup. In the 20 years to 2019, 4,444 coups have been reported. A significantly above-average number of
in 2021 Successful coups in Chad, Mali, Guinea, and Sudan, and unsuccessful military takeovers in Niger and Sudan
In September 2021, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Military. The coup has made a responsible flaw in unity within the international community in response to military intervention.
“Geopolitical divisions are undermining international cooperation, and … a sense of impunity is widespread,” he said.
Judd Devermont of the Center for Strategic and International Studies believes that a “tolerant” approach by regional and international organizations “has made minimal concessions in preparing coup plotters for long-term holdings of power.” ..
Mahamato Idris Debbie Itono
Image source, Reuters
Mahamato Idris Debbie Itono took over his father as Chad’s leader in April 2021.
Ndubuisi Christian Ani of the University of KwaZulu-Natal states that a long-standing popular rebellion against dictators has provided an opportunity for a coup d’etat to revive in Africa.
“Popular uprisings are legal and people-led, but their success is often determined by military decisions,” he says. Which country has the most
coups? Sudan has the most coup and acquisition attempts, 17 of which have been 6 successful.
In 2019, long-time leader Omar al-Bashir was removed from the government after months of protest.
Bashir surpassed himself in a military coup in 1989.
Nigeria has a reputation for military coups in the years following independence, eight times between January 1966 and the takeover of General Sania Bacha in 1993.
Map showing African countries with the most coups
However, since 1999, the transfer of power in Africa’s most populous countries has been through democratic elections.
Burundi’s history is characterized by 11 coups, primarily caused by tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi communities.
In Sierra Leone, there were three coups between 1967 and 1968, and another coup in 1971. Five more coups occurred between 1992 and 1997.
Ghana also accounts for a significant proportion of military coups, reaching eight in 20 years. The first was when Kwame Nkrumah was deprived of power in 1966, and the following year, attempts by young army officers were unsuccessful.
Overall, Africa is experiencing more coups than any other continent.
Of the 13 coups recorded worldwide since 2017, all but one occurred in Myanmar in February 2021 in Africa.
Is military takeover increasing in Africa?