Sub-Saharan Africa has had a surge in coups and attempted coups

While foreign military involvement in Africa has declined sharply, coups and attempted coups have surged and rose in the majority of countries, from Senegal in 2000 to Kenya in 2013 to Nigeria in 2015,…

Sub-Saharan Africa has had a surge in coups and attempted coups

While foreign military involvement in Africa has declined sharply, coups and attempted coups have surged and rose in the majority of countries, from Senegal in 2000 to Kenya in 2013 to Nigeria in 2015, according to a study by the International Crisis Group. Some of the most significant coups to have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa since 2000 have happened in recent years, most notably the successful coup in Madagascar, in which the party of former dictator Marc Ravalomanana was ousted by opposition leader Andry Rajoelina. Subsequently, in May 2015, Rajoelina was expelled from the country by President Marc Ravalomanana. Since then, as part of a power struggle, he has been fighting his former supporters in parliament.

In 2017, election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in which Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the long-time interior minister, won, were declared null and void by the country’s constitutional court, which found that Shadary had been voted out by the public. Just five months later, he was sworn in as President of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Like many of the coups that have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, President Shadary’s claim of a popular mandate came after a significant number of opposition parties and opposition figures participated in the vote. As this chart from the International Crisis Group shows, however, his election was not generally accepted, and the country is still in political limbo.

In the 2016 election, Roch Marc Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2001, didn’t seek re-election, so this was supposed to open the way for elections in 2017, but no credible one has taken place. Kabila has sought a second term — not technically in accordance with the constitution — that was allowed in the 2014 election. Now, in the absence of a credible election, Kabila has selected Joseph Kabila, the younger brother of Roch Marc Kabila, as his successor. This is not the first time that the Kabila brothers have effectively locked up their political opponents. In 2005, Roch Marc Kabila, who was elected president in 2001, took his brother Joseph Kabila under his wing after his first term in office. There was speculation that Joseph was planning to name his brother president, but that all fell apart and Roch Marc Kabila was caught trying to flee the country. This time around, critics argue that the Kabila family will ensure that the democratic process is curtailed in ways that it has been in the past.

Read the full story at The Conversation.

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