What’ Going On In Africa?
Junious Ricardo Stanton
“Aug 30 (Reuters) - A group of senior military officers in Gabon announced on national television on Wednesday they had taken power and election results were annulled, just minutes after President Ali Bongo was declared to have won a third term. If successful the coup would represent the eighth since 2020 in West and Central Africa, a region that in the last decade had made strides to shed its reputation as a "coup belt", only for persistent insecurity and corruption to open the door to military leaders.” https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/recent-coups-west-central-africa-2023-08-30/
What is going on in our motherland, why is there so much instability and why have so many coups occurred during the past three years years? Is there something in the air or are there underlying forces fomenting these coups? Since 2020 there have been numerous coups. Here is a list of the successful coups since 2020: Mali 2020, Guinea 2020, Sudan 2021, Chad 2021, Burkino Faso 2022, Niger 2023 and Gabon 2023. There have been failed coup attempts in: Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Soa Tome and Principe in recent years.
In addition to these coups there are ongoing regional wars and internal conflicts occurring throughout Africa, “Africa comes second in the number of armed conflicts per region with more than 35 non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) taking place in Burkina Fasso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. Several armed groups – fighting against government forces and/or against each other’s – are involved in these conflicts. Western powers and/or neighbouring countries are intervening in the NIACs that take place in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Somalia.” https://www.iiss.org/online-analysis/online-analysis//2022/11/acs-2022-sub-saharan-africa
The recent spate of coups in African differ from the previous coups in past decades. Here is how the new waves of destabilization differ from past coups, “There have been nine attempted or successfulcoups d’étatin Africa since 2020. A stereotypical coup d'état involves the most senior members of the military (i.e., generals) overthrowing the government in a short, but potentially violent, incident that causes mass panic in the population. The most recent coups in Africa differ in some key aspects from the coups that were seen on the continent in the past, especially during the immediate post-independence period. What are these differences, and what do they mean for democracy? It seems that a new model of coup is being established, which differs in key ways compared to what has gone before. Coup leaders have been slightly younger, the coups have been less violent, and in some cases they have occurred (with popular support) against a background of political stagnation and intense security challenges. The type of foreign involvement in these coups also appear to be changing (but this is more difficult to confirm).The age of the coup leaders has been a remarkably consistent element of these most recent coups. With the exception of Sudan, the coup leaders have ranged in age from 34 to 41. They have also been lower in rank than most coup leaders (and have come mostly from special forces units), including two colonels, a lieutenant-Colonel, and a captain. This growing dynamic is certainly not completely unprecedented: Jerry Rawlings was a 31-year old flight-lieutenant when he led his first coup attempt in Ghana, and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was a 37-year old lieutenant-colonel when he seized power in Equatorial Guinea. The latter example also highlights a potential negative implication of this element of the current wave of coups: the leaders may try to stay in power for a very long time.” https://www.iiss.org/online-analysis/online-analysis//2022/11/acs-2022-sub-saharan-africa
During any conflict it is the innocent who suffer the most not the combatants, this is called collateral damage. So what is the impact of coups and conflicts on our people on the African continent? The most obvious outcomes are: massive social upheaval as people flee fighting and devastation creating refugee crises in neighboring areas and countries, disruptions of normal political, economic and social life which exacerbate existing poverty and inequality, the ensuing violence and destruction creates questions regarding stability and governance and uncertainty about how the nation will fare both in the near and distant future?
Coups and internal conflict also open the doors for opportunistic neocolonialism and debt entrapment by entities like the IMF, World Bank and hegemonic predators like the US and former colonial powers like England and France. But now Russia and China are vying to increase their influence and footholds on the continent and the US is worried. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/u-s-makes-diplomatic-push-in-africa-to-counteract-russian-and-chinese-influence, https://theconversation.com/africa-is-being-courted-by-china-russia-and-the-us-why-the-continent-shouldnt-pick-sides-210516
Some observers believe Western, especially US shenanigans, are at the root of some of these recent coups given the West’s long history of imperialism, exploitation, disadvantageously lop sided commerce, trade and finance agreements. The fact the West is now in stiff competition with Eurasia over the continent’s rich natural resources and allegiances are also factors. https://www.globalresearch.ca/15-us-backed-officers-12-west-african-coups/5830252 ,https://medium.com/illumination/neocolonialism-how-western-corporations-are-exploiting-africa-d0e197af1950
The sordid US history on the continent is well documented. https://theconversation.com/white-malice-how-the-cia-strangled-african-independence-at-birth-176597 https://theintercept.com/2022/03/09/intercepted-podcast-africa-coup/ ,https://www.accord.org.za/conflict-trends/military-coups-in-africa-a-continuation-of-politics-by-other-means/ The US’ desire to stop Qaddafi from further partnering with China and his plans to establish a gold backed all African currency led the Obama administration to destroy that rich and stable African nation.
Keep an eye on Africa it could easily develop into another hot spot of international instability and tension.