Military coups have been a regular occurrence in Africa in the decades since independence and are now feared to be becoming more frequent.
Sudan has experienced two such events this year, one in September that failed and the last in which General Abdel Fattah Burhan dissolved the civilian arm of a transitional government and took power.
In Guinea, President Condé was ousted from the army in September and in neighboring Mali there were two military interventions in less than a year, the latest in May.
In Niger, a coup was foiled in March just days before the presidential inauguration.
So military interventions occur more often on the continent?
When is a coup d’etat a coup?
One definition used is that of an illegal and blatant attempt by the military – or other civilian officials – to unseat current leaders.
A study by two US researchers, Jonathan Powell and Clayton Thyne, has identified over 200 such attempts in Africa since the late 1950s.
About half of these were successful, defined as lasting more than seven days.
Burkina Faso in West Africa has had the most successful coups, with seven acquisitions and only one failed coup.
Sometimes, those who participate in such an intervention deny that it is a coup.
In 2017 in Zimbabwe, a military takeover completed Robert Mugabe’s 37 years of rule.
One of the leaders, Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo, appeared on television at the time, categorically denying a military takeover.
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In April of this year, following the death of Chadian leader Idriss Déby, the army installed his son as interim president at the head of a transitional military council. His opponents called it a “dynastic coup”.
“The coup leaders almost invariably deny that their action was a coup in an attempt to appear legitimate,” says Jonathan Powell.
Are there fewer coups in Africa now?
The overall number of coup attempts in Africa has remained remarkably consistent with an average of about four per year in the four decades between 1960 and 2000.
Jonathan Powell says this is not surprising given the instability African countries have experienced in the years after independence.
“African countries have had common conditions for coups, such as poverty and poor economic performance. When a country has a coup, it is often a harbinger of multiple coups.”
Coups have dropped to about two per year in the two decades through 2019.
We are only two years into the current decade and while only one coup has been reported in 2020, this year there has been a significantly higher than average number with six coups or coup attempts recorded so far. .
Prior to the current coup in Sudan, there had been successful coups in Chad, Mali and Guinea and military failures in Niger and Sudan.
In September, UN Secretary General António Guterres expressed concern that “military coups have returned” and accused the lack of unity among the international community in response to military interventions.
“Geopolitical divisions are undermining international cooperation and … a sense of impunity is taking hold,” he said.
Ndubuisi Christian Ani of the University of KwaZulu-Natal says popular uprisings against long-standing dictators have provided an opportunity for the coups to return to Africa.
“While popular uprisings are legitimate and people-led, their success is often determined by the decision made by the military,” he says.
Which countries have had the most coups?
Sudan had the most coups and takeover attempts of 17, five of which were successful. This does not include the current one, which just happened.
In 2019, longtime leader Omar al-Bashir was removed from power after months of popular protest.
Bashir himself had taken power in a military coup in 1989.
Nigeria had a reputation for military coups in the years following independence with eight between January 1966 and the takeover by Gen Sani Abacha in 1993.
However, since 1999 the transfers of power to the most populous nation in Africa have been through democratic elections.
Burundi’s history has been marked by eleven separate coups, mostly driven by tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi communities.
Sierra Leone suffered three coups between 1967 and 1968 and another in 1971. Between 1992 and 1997, it suffered five more 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 the following year there was a failed attempt by junior army officers.
Overall, Africa has suffered more coups than any other continent.
Of the 11 global coups since 2017, all but one – Myanmar in February of this year – have been in Africa.
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This Article is Sourced from BBC News. You can check the original article here: Source