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West Africa’s political system could see ‘complete shakeup’ as coups spike


OUAGADOUGOU (Jan. 25 2022), Burkina Faso: A picture of Colonel Aissimi Goita (L), a Malian military officer, and Liutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, the leader of the mutiny and the Patriotic Movement for the Protection and the Restauration, was taken by demonstrators at Ouagadougou.

Photo by OLYMPIA DE MASMONT/AFP via Getty Images

A coup attempt was stopped in Guinea Bissau, a west African country on the coast, last week. This is the latest of a series of attempts to overthrow governments throughout the region.

In late January, military personnel in Burkina Faso deposed President Roch Marc Kaboré, citing the government’s inability to deal with a deteriorating security situation in a country beset by jihadist insurgency.

The Guinean transitional parliament, formed five months after the aforementioned elections, was established last week. successful coup ousted President Alpha CondeThe allegations include corruption, economic mismanagement, and human rights violations. Mali has suffered from two coups in the past 18 monthsIt will be available in August 2020 or August 2021.

Additionally, coups took place further east in Chad, Sudan, and Niger last year.

An analysis by the University of Kentucky’s Jonathan Powell and Clayton ThyneThere have been over 200 attempts at coups of dictature in Africa in the 50s. The average was four per year from 1960 to 2000. However, this dropped significantly in the 20th and 21st decades until 2019.

Six coups, or attempts at coups, were reported in 2021. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to caution that “military coups are back”While blaming the absence of an international unified response for military intervention,

BISSAU (Guinea-Bissau), February 1st 2022: On February 1, 2022, a soldier patrolled the area of Bissau’s government palace. A steady stream of gunfire could be heard at the head of the government of the coup-prone West African state Guinea-Bissau.

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Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau was able to survive the gunman attack that lasted five hours last week. A major investigation by the government into the incident has been launched. Umaro has deniedCountry’s Armed Forces were responsible for the execution.

He speculated that it was an attack by “underworld” people and related to his efforts against corruption and drugs trafficking.

Guinea Bissau has been a significant transit point for drug trafficking.

International organizations ‘laughed off’

The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS met last week in Accra to discuss the growing unrest. Nana Akufo_Addo, Ghana’s President, stated that the coup in Mali on August 20, 2020 had had a “contagious” effect.

To force transitional governments into delivering on their promises of civil government, the bloc of 15 nations has suspended Mali. Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Burkina Faso.

But, even though Western allies, regional leaders and international organizations are trying to curb the support for West African military rule, it is difficult to control the momentum.

“Coup organizers appear all too happy to support isolationism. CNBC is hearing that sanctions are being ridiculed and the authority of international and regional bodies are being challenged,” Eric Humphery Smith, senior Africa analyst for political risk consultancy Verisk maplecroft told CNBC.

ACCRA, Ghana – ECOWAS flag and member flags were present at the second extraordinary summit regarding the political situation of Burkina Faso in Accra (Ghana) on February 3, 2022.

Photo by NIPAH DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

“And the further coups occur, the stronger the support among military leaders. It is likely to delay the return to democracy.”

While Verisk Maplecroft does not expect African leaders to “fall like dominoes,” Humphrey-Smith suggested that some of the region’s aging and more autocratic leaders look more vulnerable, including those in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Republic of Congo or Equatorial Guinea, all of whom have been in office for at least three consecutive terms.

Humphrey Smith said that many Africans view their leaders as corrupt, and the nation’s wealth as unfairly distributed.

“The timing of these events — two years into a Covid-19 pandemic that has been devastating for the informal economy and already cash-strapped Africans — is likely no coincidence.”

A ‘complete shakeup’

ECOWAS was criticized for imposing tough sanctions on countries that are more likely to affect the poor than those in power.

Robert Besseling is the CEO of Pangea-Risk, a political risk specialist. He also stated in a Tuesday report that the growing anti-French sentiment among post-colonial nations will “uproot Europe’s counterinsurgency interests within the Sahel” and allow Russia and Turkey the opportunity to take over.

He said that “a total shakeup of West Africa’s political system, international relationships, counterinsurgency strategies, and foreign relations is possible, as well as an economic shift away French influence.”

Besseling pointed out that both ECOWAS as well the African Union failed to punish elected leaders seeking to change their constitutions in order to extend their rule.

New AU Chair and Senegalese President Macky Sall has himself mooted an unconstitutional third term, and like third-term Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, staunchly opposes military transfers of power.

CONAKRY, Guinea — Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya (head of the army’s special forces) waves at the crowd when he arrives at the Palace of the People Conakry on September 6th 2021 in advance of meeting with Alpha Conde, Ministers of the Ex­President of Guinea.

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Besseling stated that while the rise in coups might indicate a change in counterinsurgency strategies in West Africa and the Sahel, the hawkish reaction to coups (including asset freezes and sanctions) will only further cement opposition to ECOWAS and the AU and their western allies most notably France.

Pangea Risk suggested that sanctions on countries considered susceptible to coups may deter investment from foreign investors and slow economic recovery.