Are Coups in Africa still a good thing? by Tony Ogunlowo


Just as ECOWAS is about to send a military task force to Niger in a bid to uproot
coup leader General Abdourahmane Tchiani, and his cronies and return the country
back to its elected ruler another coup d’état erupts in Gabon. This brings to eight the
number of coups in Africa in the past three years.
This throws the spanner in the works and will force the ECOWAS military command
to re-think its strategy: you can’t fight two countries at once.
African leaders haven’t changed over the years: they are still inefficient, corrupt and
couldn’t less about the countries they are sworn to guide and protect, may practice
nepotism, whilst ruling in the most non-democratic way known to Man.
Since Africa has embraced ‘democracy’ (- our ‘democracy’ is different to the
Democracy they practice in the West!) the only way the average poor person on the
street can effect a change in government is to cast their vote in the next elections,
when ever that might be. But when their votes are compromised (- stolen, bought or
not-registered-as-being-cast) they are stuck with a leader who may not have their
best interests at heart. Rigging an election, to win, anywhere, in Africa is probably
the easiest thing to do if you have the means and power.
So, what can you do?
Nothing! With all the loopholes ‘democracy’ affords, a politician can remain in power,
getting up to all sorts, indefinitely, with the electorate powerless to stop them or
remove them from office.
This is where the military coup plotters come in: they see the suffering of the people
and the corruption of government and decide to step in. In doing so they break their

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oath of allegiance to the ruling civilian President and if it goes wrong they become
guilty of committing treason and face severe consequences.

This is the 21 st century and I, along with many others, believe coups are something
that have been consigned to the past: never again should a soldier, with a gun, be
allowed to seize power and rule by force. We elect our leaders now.
But this is a grey area: if a soldier overthrows a corrupt ‘democratically-elected’
government and installs an interim government, is this right or wrong?
It’ll be ‘Right’ if the junta quickly establishes an interim government with a view of
returning back power to a Democratically-elected government with in an agreed time
frame. On the other hand, it becomes ‘Wrong’ if the junta decides to stay on
And this is why I call it a grey area: should we endorse coup-plotters who sack
corrupt governments or not? Mugabe, of late of Zimbabwe, was removed from
power, by the military, when he became too old and erratic to run the country. They
subsequently handed over to a civilian government as soon as the change was
Now back to the proposed ECOWAS military intervention in Niger. Military planners
will now have to go back to the drawing board to plan the nearly-simultaneous
invasion of two sovereign nations (- Niger and Gabon), you can’t invade one country
without the other! Since the powers that be have shot their mouths off threatening to
invade Niger they’ll have to do the same to Gabon. Considering the fact that they
have the personnel, equipment and resources (- which they don’t) it’ll be a logistical
and planning nightmare : something even Russia or America would never consider.
How do you fight two wars against two separate countries at the same time?
Isn’t it time to listen to the voice of people for once? The people of Niger and Gabon
seem to be happy to have been liberated from their tyrannical elected leaders,
welcoming the change and dancing in the street.Perhaps ECOWAS, and the rest of
the international community, should adopt-a-wait-and-see attitude before going all
gung-ho, guns blazing on a military expedition that will mostly end in disaster.
ECOMOG, the military intervention wing of ECOWAS, has not really had a

successful run in its 30-year existence: its intervention has not prevented civil wars
and its participation, sometimes, has always been questionable.
A round table discussion between coup leaders and international observers will
present to the world their intentions and how they plan to restore the peoples
mandate of free and fair elections to elect leaders who are not above the law.
If we are going to practice democracy the African way there should be provision to
remove inept and corrupt leaders the African way.
So, there is no need to wage needless wars.
Follow me on Twitter: @Archangel641 or visit

Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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