A coup it the sudden and decisive action in politics especially and resulting in a change of the government on by force. This is usually by a small group of an established government of military who impose their own leader to rule the nation and usually comes with their own laws to govern the nation or country.


There are different types of Coup that have been known so far. Some of which are as follows:

  • Breakthrough coup d'état1): a revolutionary army overthrows a traditional government and creates new bureaucratic elite.
  • Guardian coup d'état2): The stated aim of such a coup is usually improving public order and efficiency, and ending corruption. There usually is no fundamental change to the power structure. Generally, the leaders portray their actions as a temporary and unfortunate necessity.
  • Veto coup d'état3): occurs when the army vetoes the people's mass participation and social mobilization in governing themselves. In such a case, the army confronts and suppresses large-scale, broad-based civil opposition, tending to repression and killing.
  • Military coup4): this usually under taken by military officials of a country to assume power by all means. This usually results in loss of life and property and also implementation of a new rule and governance.

But for this moment, we are basically going to be looking at military Coup in Africa, How it comes about and its Effects


Military coup therefore is an organized action by the armed forces of a country meant to overthrow and replace its government. There have been several cases of military coup in Africa. Example of such African countries is Nigeria Ghana, Algeria etc. In 1965 and 1966 alone there were eleven coups with the continent by which most took place between November 1965 and February 1966.5). An example is the 1966 coup in Ghana in the month or January when a military coup occurs and is successful the former government is replace by a new one controlled by the military. It can either be temporary or permanent. It can be successful and other times a failure too. But in the case of Africa, there have been many successful military coups. However, they just don’t happen there are cases that bring about the military coups. Some of them are as listed below.

Image Showing the Number Of Coups in the Past Years



  • The first cause of military coup is the failure of independent African government in areas of economics and social development. Arbitrary use of power, economic mismanagement, and corruption on the parts of Politicians in African caused this military coup. After we attained our independence and our own men took over power from the Europeans, the people expected progressive changes, employment for all and good standard of living, but sine there leaders were corrupt, things didn't work out as expected and this caused the military to intervened on behalf of the people. Nkrumah and his minister were founds corrupt leaders.
  • Another cause is the ineffectiveness of the central government in the face of crisis situations and the need felt by the army to therefore intervene. This was a cause because there lies the case whereby the central government which was supposed to hold and exercise power and authority over the country rather breaks down and does not perform it duties well due to bitter party or inter- regional rivalry. Such central government are rendered ineffective and these military men over throw them from power. The January 1966 coup in Burkina Faso by General Lamizana is a typical example 7).
  • Last but not the least, another factor for coups in African is when the army felt threatened as an institution. This was the core cause of military coup in Nigeria 8) and Ghana 9) in the year 1966 January and February. This is whereby the armed force is required to carry out policies that are unacceptable on behalf of politicians whose personal or public conduct is distasteful. When President Ben Bella of Algeria planned to create and is the people militia in 1965, the army felt and saw it as a challenge to its institutionalized position and so a military coup leads by colonel Boumedienne move quickly to forestall that plan.
  • Lastly, widespread cause of military intervention in Africa has been the refusal of government to allow political change through the ballot box or through constitutional channels. Some government in Africa bans opposition’s parties and established themselves as one party rule; therefore they never want to leave power.

They also refused to hold clean elections and do all sought of things to hold on to power due to their obstinate and insatiable desires to maintain their positions. They ended up being corrupt leaders and dictators. Such leaders are only able to be overthrown by military intervention.

Image Showing Possible Coup In Africa africasacountry.com_wp-content_uploads_2014_02_ulfelder-coup-offsets1-659x325.jpg 10)


Few military regimes performed will, they kept their faith with the people, handed over power to civilians and returned to their barracks, but on the other hand majority of them messed and bundled things up. Here are some results of military coup.

  • To start with, they made social and economic conditions worse than they came to meet them. The reason was in most cases of military coup, these military governments teamed up with position parties to the overthrown government but sadly these opposition’s politicians had little or no well-planned visions and even political direction for socio political and economic development of their countries. An example is Idi Amin of Uganda’s poor military administration.
  • To continue with, they forget their initial proclamations, conditions became worse and they adopted all sore of intrigue to remain in power.
  • Thirdly some military regimes rather worsen the developmental process of their countries involved. They pushed the arm of development backwards. These were manifested in the termination of certain viable agreements purely on ideological grounds and not on the basis of economic calculations.

Lastly, leadership struggles that evolved within some military regimes brought about simmering of ethnic rivalry which in some cases developed into costly civil wars. Example is Nigeria civil war in 1907 -1970.


QR Code
QR Code coup_in_africa (generated for current page)