Regime Change in Africa: Dealing with the Dictator's Club

The controversial policies of regime change and encouraging democracy have so far mainly referred to the Middle East. Africa has a mix of democratic governments and dictatorships, the military are often just around the corner. How should the international community deal with the juntas and coup plotters who still give the continent a bad name?

The World Today
5 minute READ

Richard Reeve

Contrary to the idea that coups were a cold war phenomenon, over the last decade alone a quarter of sub-Saharan Africa’s 48 countries have had their governments overthrown by the military, several on more than one occasion. Numerous others have survived genuine coup attempts, though many more have alleged such plots for political gain. Overall, Africa can still expect two or three coup attempts per year, with about half these usurpers managing to institutionalise themselves in government, most subsequently securing election in ostensibly democratic polls.

So far this has been a slightly better than average year for coup plotters in Africa. The sudden success of the August palace coup in Mauritania crowned the careful legitimisation of the bloody events in Togo where the succession of Faure Gnassingbé as president was secured following the death in February of his father, a former military dictator.

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