African governments, military coups; A backward to the region’s development 


By Ibrahim El-mu’azzam

Of course, it’s direful, how military coups are becoming more common with bounteous troubles in Africa, and some Africans even see it as something voguish which is right to betide anywhere and anytime. With their pretension that it’s the people foraging for their justice. My question to them is that; is a military coup the genteel way to forage for justice, and are coups always done to forage for justice?

A coup d’ètat, usually shortened to coup is a forceful, illegal and unconstitutional usurpation of a government and it’s power. It rarely happened peaceably without lost of lives and damaging of properties.

Among the different continents of the world and their respective state governments, Africa’s are those facing the highest rate of military coups nowadays. And accounting Africa as a developing continent, frequent occurrence of such activities is begetting a reverse to our development and also affecting negatively our intercontinental dignity and economic status. While internally coming along with multiplex risks to our lives and properties, as it’s entirely a threat to our peaceful atmosphere.

For long, coups have been befalling in Africa, especially during the 19th century, while it dwindled in the 20th century, but these days it’s retrogressing.

That surprisingly makes me ask myself a question, with all these developments and superb achievements that other continents are gaining, some of our minds (as Africans) are still on coup?

As a developing continent, are we not supposed to be doubling or tripling the efforts and achievements of the developed continents, which will make us echelon our shoulders with theirs in the nearest future?

It’s expected of us to be moving forward. It’s a failure to us when we are stationed in a single step. Then what should we call our situation of moving backward?

Only in Africa, there were above 40 coups and attempts among various of its countries from 2010 to 2022 only. There was no single year from 2010 to date that passes peacefully without a military coup (coups) or attempt, in one or some of the African countries except 2018 only, as stated by Wikipedia. Virtually every 3-4 months, we had a coup or it attempts in one of the African countries.

Whenever a coup occurred, there is never a complete saint, likewise a complete sinner. I believe that both parties have percentages in the negative and positive shares when the main issue is broken down.

The major rationale for African coups considering the leader’s aspect is what I finally rounded and termed as selfishness. Some of the leaders prioritize themselves and their needs more than others, which is contrary to what is expected from a leader. And it’s the factor that makes them feel themselves above the law, so they can disobey it. And if they cannot disobey it, they attempt to restructure it to by all means suit their personal principles and demands.

As a leader, that will not be alright to the majority of his citizens, and even some of his cabinets. Then the military part of the cabinets, like those that the real power is in their possession, will plan to seize the power from him. Probably after he overlooked their advises and suggestions. Then part of the military, cabinets and others that are with him will try to stop them or to fight back, a state that might lead to a war. Because there is no a supreme leader at the time, everyone can judge according to his favor.

Almost 90% of military coups are plotted and carried out by very close allies of the leaders. They take the advantage of their closeness to grasp the leader’s deficiencies, then they use the deficiencies to overcome his strengths.

A leader needs to understand that; those he is leading must be convenient with his leadership, especially in a democracy.

I’m personally 99% against military coups, only in a circumstance that it is the only option.

I prefer both the leaders and the military officers to adhere to the laws and maintain their confines. Most momentously, everybody should obey the law. Laws are meant to be obeyed. If people are not obeying the law, then there is no law. And in the absence of law, everyone do as he wish, when everyone do as he wish, we will not get what we wish.

And again, whenever a coup is done, it degrade the grace and the clout of other leaders. Especially considering how malapropos they treat the affected leaders after the coup, which is an unpalatable act that is not welcomed.

My fear is how these coups are getting more often in Africa, if it perdure to happen like this, it can reach to a point that whenever the president is contrary to the military forces in an issue, it will be circulating in their minds that they can punish him by plotting a coup for him. And as far as it continue same way, it is very possible for them to attempt it and possibly succeed. Likewise someone that the coup affect his parents or somebody close to him, he might join the military to make a vengeance whenever he get chance. All these because of how often it happens and how many take it as something common.

These issues and their kind that are happening in Africa are participating potently in dragging the continent’s development backward. And downfalling our dignity in the eyes of the world. We are matured enough to be above this by now.

Instead of going for coups, it’s better we follow the necessary constitutional steps through the national assemblies or something of that nature, to peacefully remove an unwanted leader. If that is not possible, a complain can be laid to the international boards, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) or the African Union (AU) to address the issue.

Is only when the above mentioned ways failed to work, (which is very much hard), then a peaceful coup can be carried out.

And for our information, all these are to be done, only when the majority of the country citizens are against a leader or any of his ideologies. Not the minority, and not only the military. Let it be in a scenario that can be said as: “we are the people that took you to the seat of power, and we are the ones that are now removing you.”

As far as the majority of the citizens are supporting, weather the coup or any of the afore mentioned solutions, it will be so straight forward and easy. That will also allow the people appoint their suitable person and their next leader.

And please, whenever any of these is done, especially the coup, the removed leader should not be maltreated, what is the vantage of that? He should not face even a hidden disgrace, talk more of open. At least he was once a leader, he should be honored with that.

Lastly, to block the channels that might lead to the occurrence of coup, especially in Africa, international boards like ECOWAS and AU should set or bold (if there are) limitations to the leaders and the military as well. Whenever any of the two parties cross those limitations, the boards should use their supreme powers to treat them accordingly. Even if it’s removing the leader, if he is the one that crossed.

And when it’s the militaries that crossed those limitations and attempt or made a coup, the ECOWAS or the AU should gather all the countries under it to fight those militaries and let them down. They should teach them a lesson that will be learned by others.

With these, I think we will minimize, if not completely stop these coups. And that will make us to be more attentive towards things that will fasten our continental development.

 Ibrahim El-mu’azzam can be reached via

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