Why coups are prevalent in West Africa – ECOWAS


According to Abdel-Fatau Musah, the commissioner for political affairs, peace and security at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), there has been an increase in military takeovers of power also called coup in West Africa due to politicians failing to deliver on their promises of good governance and the benefits of democracy to the people.

Musah made this statement during an appearance on the Sunrise Daily programme on Channels Television. He also noted that a lack of effective governance has led to seven coups in the region within a three-year period.

Musah, an expert in international politics, emphasized that democracy itself should not be blamed for the military takeovers in countries like Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, but rather the focus should be on the deficiencies in governance within these nations.

He added that terrorism also played prominent role in these coups as three of the four West African countries now under military regime have for years on end been battling with terrorism.

“All these coup dé’tats, except perhaps in Guinea, have taken place in the context of a symmetric conflict that is characterised by terrorism,” he said.

“Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger are the three Sahelian countries in West Africa most impacted by terrorism, so there is no coincidence that the coups are occurring in these countries.

“If it is terrorism, the military’s first duty is to confront terrorism. That is the question.

“It is not a question of democracy. We know that there are governance deficits in the region but is that the best way? It is about governance deficit and not democracy as a system of governance.

“Governance is broader, it is about economic development, youth empowerment, it is about building infrastructure for people to realise their potential.

“And that is very difficult in the global environment that we find ourselves in today.

“And it is not only in Africa, it is global. But you’re not seeing coups everywhere. Why in West Africa? Are we saying West Africa is the worst region in Africa?”


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