Africa suffered three coups in one year: the effect of contagion


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Like dominoes falling one after another, Africa has suffered no fewer than three successful coups in just over a year (Two in Mali with Recently in Conakry, Guinea) And two failed coup attempts (Niger and Sudan).

These rebellions do not represent a new phenomenon in Africa For decades, they have imitated many people who think of this continent as a kind of “Golpilandia”.

According to data compiled by two American political scientists Jonathan Powell (University of Central Florida) and Clayton Tyne (University of Kentucky), it is not surprising that there have been about 200 coups in Africa (half won) since the 1950s. .

In the first decades of the post-colonial era, riots were a rampant reality on the African continent, but with the end of the Cold War (1945-1991) and the shift in American policy — from anti-communism to the promotion of democracy — and the country’s The desire for change led to the rise of civilian government.

With the promulgation of the “Lome Declaration” (2000) and the “African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance” (2007), the African Union (AU), which once supported the leaders of the coup, began to condemn any unconstitutional seizure of power. The application of this principle has won him-and deserves-criticism.

New blows, old worries

Since 2000, coups have lost momentum in African territories, despite A new coup took place in Conakry, Guinea on September 5 They awakened old worries.

That day, A special force led by a young colonel overthrew the President of Guinea Alfa ConteAt the age of 83, his photo lying prone on the sofa with helpless face, wearing jeans, surrounded by soldiers, became the headline news in newspapers all over the world.

The President of Guinea Conakry, Alpha Conde, is surrounded by soldiers who arrested him.


Comte’s testimony is in Two coups in neighboring Mali (One in August 2020 and the other in May 2021) and Niger’s coup attempt (March 2021), two countries in the Sahel became targets of jihadist terrorism.

As if that was not enough, a week ago Sudanese authorities aborted a coup attempt Orchestrated by the “residuals” of the dictator Omar al Bashir’s regime, it was overthrown in 2019 after 30 years at the helm of the country.

In this turbulent situation, it should be remembered that in Chad, after President Idris Deby passed away in a battle with Chadian insurgents in April last year, he was led by his son Mohamed Idris Deby. The military government is in power.

“I think what happened in Chad was a coup. Obviously, it is different from other coups because it prevents the successor from taking office, not against the incumbent,” Jonathan Powell clarified.

So, what are the reasons for the gradual comeback of coups in Africa?

“The most important reason is that the civil government failed to meet the people’s expectations for peace and security, poverty alleviation, and human development,” said Cameroonian political analysts. John Mukum Mbaku.

Condé is the first elected president in the history of Conakry, Guinea

This explanation is similar to the classic trilogy (poverty, corruption, and mismanagement) used by coup planners to disrupt the constitutional order, a speech reproduced by the military Conakry in Guinea.

However, Mbaku clarified that Conte is “the first elected president in the history of the country” He came to power in 2010 and enjoys the reputation of a “democrat” and an “enemy of corruption and mismanagement.”

However, he continued, “He did not retire at the end of his second term and pave the way for the country’s first peaceful transfer of power. Instead, he amended the constitution in March 2020 and ran for the third in the October elections of that year. term of office”. . Anus.

“It’s not surprising,” Zaim Baku, “civil society groups and the opposition celebrate his overthrow.”

Powell emphasized “Most areas of the mainland did not see the threat of a coup”Although the Sahel region is “particularly fragile” because it is home to poor and fragile countries.

“Many countries in the Sahel-as explained by political scientists-are undergoing coups due to the same basic conditions, including armed forces that are trying to contain the (jihadist) insurgency and the loss of legitimacy of their leaders.”

Contagious effect?

Will there be more “contagious effects” of riots in the short term? “The recent coups took place in some very poor countries that are already unstable,” Powell replied, “I am not worried about a series of coups.”

Everything, precision, “Soldiers from other countries pay close attention to these incidents They understand key details, such as the reaction of the international community. “

Strikes are a sign of other problems

Over the years, organizations such as the African Union have been praised for their “zero tolerance” in the face of coups. November 2017 in Zimbabwe This resulted in the resignation of President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1980.

According to Powell, The African Union and international powers “pretend that Zimbabwe has no coup” And “this sends a signal to soldiers elsewhere that if they target a leader who is considered increasingly illegal, they may get tacit approval.”

There is no doubt that, as Mbaku pointed out, the uprising of the “opportunist army” “posed a huge threat to the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law in Africa”.

The North American expert agreed with this view and pointed out Strike composition “Symptoms of other problems,” such as manipulating elections or amending the constitution for the benefit of African rulers.

Powell warned: “As long as leaders deliberately act in a way that reduces their legitimacy and the possibility of legally leaving their posts, the desire for a coup will come back.”


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