Coups d’état in Africa – A Thing of the Past?
Coups d’état occurred in many parts of Africa, in the immediate post colonial period in Africa, from the East to the North, from the West to the South. There were also many more failed coup attempts, announced and unannounced. In the post-independence phase this phenomenon was blamed on outside intervention during the Cold War. Unconstitutional regime changes seemed to have reduced in frequency at the end of the Cold War when many African states embraced democracy, organized elections and acceded to international human rights laws and other international norms and principles. However, unconstitutional regime changes and “constitutional crises” in the past decade have gradually crept into the African political sphere, occurring in Madagascar, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau as well as Mauritania and Mali. African regional and sub-regional organizations have been confounded by this renewed trend. This Policy Brief seeks to identify and analyze the prevalence of unconstitutional regime change in Africa, identifying the risks and causes, and provides some recommendations for policy makers in the region. One reason for the resurgence of this phenomenon is the failure of democracy in Africa. Democracy has been interpreted and applied in different ways throughout the continent according to the whims and caprices of politicians and ruling elites, causing significant discontent among many African people.