28 February 2022

Quick Take – Multiple Coups across Africa and the Way Forward in 2022

The recent re-emergence of coups across Africa has raised concerns amongst leaders on the continent, especially in West Africa as this is slowly becoming a trend following four successful coups (Chad, Mali, Guinea, and Sudan) and two attempts (the Central African Republic and Sudan) in 2021 alone.

Just in the first two months of 2022, there was a successful military takeover in Burkina Faso on 24 January and an attempt in Guinea Bissau on 01 February where  President Umaro Sissoco Embalo described it as “an attack on democracy” after surviving five hours of heavy gunfire.

Africa has a history of military takeovers which dates back to 1960 and since then the occurrence of coups has remained consistently at about four a year. There was a glimmer of hope with the decline to about two a year in the two decades leading up to 2019 but this has been shattered with the recurrence of these recent coups barely three years into the current decade.

Mali has experienced two coups in a space of nine months – first in August 2020 when Col Assimi Goïta led the coup which ousted the elected head of state, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, widely accepted by the public and opposition politicians who were frustrated with  Keïta’s leadership.  He led another in May 2021 where he seized power again, detaining transitional President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane after accusing them of failing in their duties and trying to sabotage the transition to democracy.

This was followed by another coup on 05 September where Colonel Mamady Doumbouya led a coup in Guinea against President Alpha Conde, on the grounds of poverty and corruption.

The latest coup in Burkina Faso which can be linked to the growing insecurity beset by jihadist violence forced the military to carry out a takeover, led by Lt Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, removing the president, Roch Marc Kaboré, from office, as they also suspended the constitution and dissolved the government and parliament.  

Looking at the economic state of these countries, the underlying factors leading to these coups are undeniably bad governance, frustrated citizens (most of whom are youths), deteriorating security, causing undeniable setbacks to  Africa’s already superficial democracy.

The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have both condemned and rejected the various coups. The AU suspended four countries in the past year and ECOWAS is operating without 20% of its membership as three of its 15 member states are suspended. 

However, there seem to be inconsistencies in their responses. In the past year, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) has suspended Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Sudan over successful military coups in these countries but failed to suspend Chad after a military council took over leadership following the death of President Idriss Déby Itno in April 2021. Instead, they endorsed the Transitional Military Council (TMC) 18-month plan to restore constitutional order. As expected, the PSC’s decision not to suspend Chad has been met with criticisms and accusations of it going against the  AU’s standard operating procedure and principles since 2003.

It is imperative now more than ever that African leaders take the necessary actions to reform democracy, enforce the rule of law and focus on the growth and stability of the continent’s security and economy. The AU and ECOWAS must also suppress coups by not being hesitant to exact significant penalties on unconstitutional takeovers.

How we collect personal information

We may collect personal information about you from these sources:
When you subscribe to our mailing list When you give us your business card When you contact us about our services

How will we use the information about you?

We will use your personal information to keep you updated with the latest news from Aequitas. You have a right at any time to stop us from contacting you for marketing purposes. If you have consented to receiving marketing, you may opt out at a later date. You can opt out by emailing us at: info@aeqglobal.com Any personal information that we hold will be stored securely.
We use a third-party provider, MailChimp, to deliver our communications. We gather statistics around email opening and clicks using industry standard technologies to help us monitor and improve our communications. For more information, please see MailChimp’s privacy notice.

Access to your information

You have the right to request a copy of the information that we hold about you. If you would like a copy of your personal information, please email us at: info@aeqglobal.com
We want to make sure that your personal information is accurate and up to date. You may ask us to correct or remove information that you think is inaccurate.