By Both Nguot, JUBA, JUN/13/2013, SSN;
The independent African states are locked up in vicious cycle of problems. These include poverty, unemployment, corruption, overpopulation, hunger, coup d’etat, civil wars, diseases, child abuse, nepotism, tribalism, and the list is so long. These and many problems have rendered the independent of the new African states useless. Therefore the following are just some few examples for our public to highlight and compare them to our current situation in the country (south Sudan).
One of the problem is Coup d’etat; it is a sudden military overthrow of the legitimate government in power which is recognized as unconstitutional way of gaining power by removing an elected government. It was started in 1952 Egyptian coup De-tat which was followed by so many African state at difference times, some of these countries include the 1963 coup in Togo, the 1965 coup in Congo, the 1966 coup in Ghana, the 1969 coup in Libya, the 1971 coup in Uganda, the different coups in Sudan, the different coups in Nigeria and the list is so long enough. What were/are the causes of all this coup De-tats in African continent?
Hurried independence: In some African countries, colonial masters never prepared some of these African countries for an independent, one of this country was Congo, when nationalist in Congo Leopoldville demanded for an independent from Belgian colony, the Belgian hurried up in granting it’s independent in 1960. This led to chain reaction of problems that lead to 1965 coup by Mobutu Seseseko and many others countries in Africa.
Foreign intervention: Most military coup in African countries happens due to the result of foreign intervention in to the political affairs of the African countries. Example of these countries include 1966 coup in Ghana and 1971 coup in Uganda against Obote I and others.
The influence of earlier coups: the 1952 coup in Egypt had influenced so many countries in Africa, it influence soldiers in many parts of Africa to overthrow civilian government. E.g. colonel Abdel Nasser of Egypt greatly influenced the 29 years old colonel Muamer Gadaffy to carried out the 1969 coup in Libya against king Idris where he ruled for 42 years till his death in 2011.
The desire to restore constitutional rule: in some cases, civilian African presidents openly abuse the constitutions of their countries as happened from Obote I of Uganda when he nullified the 1972 independent constitution and imposed it in 1967 which result to 1971 general Ida Amin coup plotter claimed that he had come to restore constitutional rule.
Military discontent: the poor housing facilities, low or delay of salaries, scarcity of food, and lack of medication, uniform, weapon and ammunition caused tension and discontent in the army. This in turn has led to coup De-tat as it happened in Ivory Coast in 1999 and many others. In this circumstances the coup plotter might claim to come up in order to changes all these problems facing the army.
The desire to share the national cake: in the circumstance this could happen where the scarce resources are monopolized by a given group of people or a tribe in expense of others and employment are based on tribes that undermine the right of innocent people, soldiers have always intervened and promise to make equitable distribution among the population regardless of race, sex and religion. Example of these was 1974 coup in Ethiopia and 1991 coup in Somalia were the result of the desire to redistribute the national resources.
Widespread of economic crises: have often resulted in to coups, these involve problems of inflation, unemployment where the youth are just rooming along the streets in the city and most of jobs are being occupied by foreigners, the graduates are just rooming with their documents since employment is done on technical know-who rather than technical know-how, low salaries, scarcity of commodities and the like have all made soldiers to overthrow government in power as it happened in Ghana in 1966 and Sudan in 1989 of AL-Igaz.
The need to check against tribalism: it happened when the head of state favored only his tribe, and this is where employment are based on tribal line, example of this happened during Obote I’s favoritism to his Langi tribemates and Emperor Silesia’s favors towards his Amharic tribe-mates, this annoyed the others tribes to take rebellion as happened in 1971 and 1974 coups in Uganda and Ethiopia respectively.
Dictatorial rule and abuse of human rights: this happened when democracy, freedom of expression, abuse of human right are absolutely restricted in the country. Such example happened in Sudan during the reign of General Aboud which led to 1965 coup against him as well as Mahgoup’s dictatorship coup against his government in 1969.
The need to end corruption: this happened when there is rampant corruption in the country and no accountability, in this circumstances, taxes are collected and put into the individual pocket, non equitable distribution of resources among the citizen, job insecurities or fear of being retrenched or reshuffled, too much greed for wealth or the desire to become rich quickly due to low life expectancy, sectarianism and nepotism where certain tribe or clan gangs up to plunder the nation, meager payment which do not match with standard of living, absent of strong law to punish corrupt official, lack of sense of patriotism, lack of public accountability, poor and weak administrative control i.e. there is no check and balance and tribalism that make soldiers to take over government through coups and claim to have come to liberate the citizens from the hand of corrupts leaders as it happened in 1966 during Nkrumah by General Ankrah in Ghana.
Failure by the government in power to organize democratic elections on time as stated in the constitution: This force the opposition and others who want to become the presidents of the country to overthrown the legitimate government. Such scenarios happened in most part of the African countries where the president uses absolute monarchy in running the affairs of the country even if the country is a democratic state as in the case of Zimbabwe.
Overloading the army with wars: As in the case in south Sudan and Sudan where there are too many rebellion in the country due to one reason of another and what so ever the case might be, in this circumstance the soldiers will overthrown the government and make a claim to come up and bring people together in sharing the national cakes.
Political instability: this reflects itself in form of civil wars, military coup De-tats, urban terrorism which are usually cause by dictatorial rule which is mainly manifested in lack of respect for the constitution, tribalism which breeds tribal fears, tension and suspicion, differences in political philosophy and ideology, the desire of certain tribe or religion to revenge against other as it happened in Rwanda and so on.
In contrast to the above mentioned problems and their negative effects in most of the African countries with our current situation in south Sudan as an independent new country from this continent. One could easily understand that we are all in those situations mentioned above if am not mistaken, without knowing that those are the one that always result to coup De-tats in most of the African countries.
Although there was no such coup happened in south Sudan, but these situations could also encourages coup to happen in the future if there are no clear means of delivering services to the citizen as it’s now in south Sudan where corruption, killing, and many others becomes the normal activities since there is no accountability. But as the democratic country, we would like to do things in a democratic manner.
We don’t support such ways of changing the leadership throw military coup since it could let to violent and destruction of properties in our country. Therefore, it will be will of our people and the leadership of south Sudan to respect their membership in list of the democratic countries registered in the United Nation as democratic nations in order to avoid dictatorship and to allow democracy in the country so as to abandon an illegal ways of becoming to power through military means. Otherwise, prevention will be better than cure.
The writer is a south Sudanese living in Juba and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org