Africa’s Recent Contagious Bug

Tobechukwu JohnPaul Nwabuisi

Tobechukwu JohnPaul Nwabuisi

Guns blazed in what turned out to be an attempted coup, and sporadic and spasmodic bullets lanced the air in a nearby compound where Guinea Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo chaired a Cabinet meeting on 1st February 2022. This jarring report of another unconstitutional attempt to takeover government by the military most probably sent shudders and jitters down the spines of well-meaning Organizations, Countries, Africans, and political analysts who seek to preserve the practice of democracy.

For many years and still counting, Africa has been ravaged and plagued by the ills and oddities of bad leadership, predicated upon the ascendancy and acceptance of the democratic rule, with no exception to the military rule. Notwithstanding, the resurgence of military coup d’état in a space of about 18 months in some African countries has become a sensational phenomenon. The ousting of governments by military leaders in countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Chad, and recent attempt in Guinea Bissau are not far-fetched.

In Mali, two coups recently occurred. The first and second coups were both led by Colonel Assimi Goita. On 18th August 2020, Col. Goita ousted the late President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who during his time escalated insecurity, insurgency, and corruption. In nine months, Col. Goita who had given power to the transitional government headed by President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, schemed another coup with the allegation that the transitional government simply reshuffled a cabinet that did not favor the army.

In Chad, an unusual coup unfolded in April 2021, following the death of the long-term leadership by President Idris Deby. The constitution was violated by installing Mahamat Idris Deby his son as President.

In Guinea, President Alpha Conde was deposed by a coup plotted by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya on 5th September, 2021. This was consequent of the social-political unrest and protests premised on Conde’s manipulation of the country’s constitution to elongate his rule as president.

On 24th January 2022, the military coup machinated by Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba overthrew Burkina Faso’s president Roch Marc Christian Kabore. Reports have it that both civilians, alongside defense and security forces decried Kabore’s political leadership which birthed deepening security crisis and economic hardship.

In Olusegun Adeniyi’s article “Nigeria and the Coup Epidemics,” it is clear that these recent military coups presage far-reaching implications for the Nigerian polity. Nothing indeed truly makes us different, for like the proverbial sore thumb that sticks out in many African countries, the self-acclaimed ‘Giant of Africa’ – Nigeria experiences the harrowing effects of bad governance and leadership. This has thus created a widening gulf and a paradoxical tale of being endowed with rich, human and natural resources, yet an economic backwater, suffused with poverty, underdevelopment, terrorism, banditry, and insurgency, all paddled in the charged waters of corruption. Therefore, we asseverate once again that Nigeria is not an exemption to contracting the Africa’s recent contagious bug especially in anticipation of the 2023 general elections. However, with the enormous unaccountability, dearth of transparency, lucrativeness of the banditry business, and boundless corruption inundating the Nigeria military, the likelihood of the occurrence of a coup is minimal. Again, this does not preclude a possibility.

Tobechukwu Johnpaul Nwabuisi,


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