For long, coup d’état has been a synonym with Africa. Over the years, the continent saw multiple coup d’état with militaries and interest groups taking over power from elected civilian governments. From east to west, from north to south, Africa saw the bloodiest coups that put a stain on the continent’s democratic impetus. The coups even undid exemplary instances of democratic uplifts pushing the already-fragile continent into uncharted territories.
These old habits also upped the fever pitch to countries that have been wallowing under the quagmire of poverty. The old habits continue to be the new normal with increasing silence. In sharp contrast to the very essence of democracy, power is being taken over by the barrel of guns.
In recent times, different groups staged coup d’état in many countries cutting short possible hopes of democracies. Even the most revered democratic practices have been revered due to the unfortunate incidents. Most of the coup d’état are orchestrated by internal forces or conflicting parties or even. Internal groups have been hijacking civilian leaders and replacing them with authoritarian individuals and their cronies. The result of which has been the disruptions of government and the bloody revolutions or riots that followed lawlessness.
A string of coups in the continent has now become familiar in recent years with political experts waiting where the next coup will take place. From Egypt in 2013 to Burkina Faso in 2015, Zimbabwe in 2017, Sudan in 2019, and now Mali in 2020, Africa have been full of coup news amid widespread demonstrations, juntas overthrowing unpopular leaders, presenting themselves as the armed wing of the protests and guarantors of the people’s wishes.
Besides cutting the hopes of democratization in Africa, the incidents of coup det’a added another grime picture of the already labeled continents crushing the hopes of millions of the African population. It is obvious that Africa has also been deliberately characterized by the self-righteous west. The stark truth is also foreign powers have been behind the demise of governments in African nations. From Libya to Egypt, foreign powers have been colluded with internal powers even taking the lead by spreading media propaganda and using foreign missions.
There have been visible interventions by western countries to replace African leaderships with puppet governments that serve the interests of the kingmakers, not the African communities. The interventions in many instances brought the continent’s socio-economic and political setups to their knees.
External interventions sometimes come up in the pretext of humanitarian aid and diplomatic relations. At the helm of the victim, countries like Libya. As of Ethiopia, there have been visible attempts to bring regime change by conspiring with internal terrorist groups of the country. Ethiopia indeed with the unity of its people has survived a coup while defeating its longtime foes of internal advertisers, the terrorist TPLF and Shene groups.
The attempts though trying, the final outcome has been a significant blow to the modern day imperialists and an undisputed victory to the suppressed people of Africa. This incident even triggered the NoMore campaign that has already gone worldwide. In fact, the campaign has morphed into a more open protest against the interventionist policies of the west and their cronies.
While Libya became of the textbook example of disastrous external intervention, Ethiopia also sets an example that Africans can say no to foreign pressure. In addition to fending off foreign pressure, Ethiopia also proved that African nations that a democratic path is possible by holding a historic poll.
Ethiopia has shown the world and proved naysayers wrong by holding a historic and credible poll with important lessons drawn from the national success. The sweeping reforms that have been taken by the incumbent to pave the way for democratization and national healing would have a great deal of contribution to Africa’s democratization process.
Ethiopia has designed its own path. But like what they did in other countries, foreign missions in Addis Ababa and their parrot international media outlets have been wrongly and intentionally misleading the international community by lionizing the dying forces of destruction and terrors.
The US embassy and its accomplices have been engaged in coordinated smear campaigns to sow fear among the Ethiopian people and foreign community in Addis Ababa by issuing fake travel advisories. The false alarms have been echoed by the low-rate and untrustworthy global media organizations. The final end of these intrigues against Ethiopia was to propel their Trojan horse to central power. However, their wish was cut short by the valor of the men and women of Ethiopian patriots and the brave Ethiopian leadership.
Unlike Ethiopia, some African nations have been impacted by coups staged by internal and external forces. These incidents run against the very objective of the African Union to silence the gun in near future.
Seth Appiah-Mensah is a Ph.D. candidate and teaching fellow at the University of Western Australia, Perth in his opinion piece, said that the first derives from the fact that the AU has multiple goals that may sometimes contradict. The union is a site of political contestation in which members have their own individual interests and differences of interpretation when it comes to the body’s charter. Moreover, the AU’s intention is not to be punitive for the sake of it when its rules are broken, but to build and nurture a community-derived authority that is both legitimate and Pan-African.
Seth who is also a former Military Advisor to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) stated that the competing interests and goals can present the AU with a dilemma. In the case of Sudan in 2019, for instance, the body had a strike a delicate balance.
On the one hand, it had to condemn the military overthrow and back its words with meaningful actions. On the other, it was aware that the coup came amid months of enormous protests and arguably saved the country from more chaos. In the interests of Sudan and the wider region, therefore, it also had to engage constructively to avoid letting the country plunge into deeper instability.
A second difficulty arises from the fact that the AU is inconsistent when it comes to unconstitutional violations. The body actually recognizes various types of unconstitutional changes of government. One is the overthrow of an elected government by the military, mercenaries, or rebels. When faced with these kinds of instances, the AU acts decisively.
To contain the intereventionist policies of the west, Africans should learn to build their democratic cultures and respond to backlogs of internal homework. China has shown the world that it is possible to homegrown democratic values.
While coups are like incurable diseases in Africa, Ethiopia has shown the world that the democratic path is very deserving in Africa. To meet the goal of silencing the gun objective rather than ambition, there should be concrete actions from countries and African Union.