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Could coup d’états ever be stopped from taking place in Africa?

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Fri, 11 Aug 2023 Source: Rockson Adofo

What is a coup d’état, to start with? It is “an illegal and overt attempt by the military or other government elites to unseat the incumbent leader”. Can this act of the military usurping the administration of a country ever stop from happening in Africa?

The answer to the question posed above could be a yes or a no. Until the enabling factors that facilitate, or call for, military interventions in the governance of democratic countries are expunged, thus, removed completely, there will always be periodic interventions by the military in the administration of some African countries.

Some of the factors are stated below:

A self-coup: This is when a leader, having come to power through legal means, tries to stay in power through illegal means. Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, while democratically elected and in power, sought to, and did change, the constitution, to make himself a life-president.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Dramane Ouattara in July 2020 decided to run for a third term as president of the country, although their constitution allows for just two terms. He won and he is currently the president of Ivory since 2010 and in his third term of office.

Open practice of corruption and malfeasance by the politicians and government democratically elected to govern a country. When joblessness abounds with the lucky-to-be-employed graduates on less than Ghc1,000.00 (£72.00) a month, will the military at a point not intervene when the politicians are seen to live in opulence, embezzling funds and state assets as if tomorrow never comes when the people are clamouring for their intervention to come to right the situation?

Lack of enforcement of the laws leads to abundance and ramifications of lawlessness, murders, armed robberies, arson, and open indiscipline at every level of society. When such a situation reaches the elasticity point and snaps, the military is the next favoured option by the public regardless of whatever.

The rampant acts of sabotage by the politicians and political parties against their rival(s) in government, making nothing work to expectation, is also a credible excuse for the military to intervene with the intent to move the country forward.

Look at this ongoing situation in Ghana where every Ghanaian is aware of how the nation’s water bodies, arable and fertile lands, and virgin forests have come under unprecedented devastation by illegal and alluvial small-scale mining (galamsey). Water, land, and forests are essential elements of life so any discerning human being will be worried when such elements are being greatly destroyed with impunity.

Insurgents like the Muslim jihadists Boko Haram aiming to take over countries to impose Sharia law on them, leaving thousands of callously-murdered innocent people in their wake and path, the military with the wherewithal to fight them is welcome by the public when the democratically elected government is seen damn incapable and unable to fight them to make the country and people safe and secure.

In the face of such ongoing gargantuan destructions coupled with the public outcry to have it stopped, the government has not been able to stop it all because of their rival NDC and their leader John Dramani Mahama, promising to encourage and resource the galamseyers to continue to mine, regardless.

In the face of such open impotency by the ruling government to deal effectively to stop the canker to safeguard the stated elements of life, the military that rule by decrees can step in, and the public will cheer them up.

The above are until now enough case situations that will push the military to step in to redress things. Whether they can do it better, is another topic for discussion.

Ghana is not immune from the waves of military usurpations blowing over and or, engulfing, West Africa, looking at the few listed enabling factors that compel the military to step in to take over the reins of government.

Columnist: Rockson Adofo