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Since the independence era of the 1960s, there have been more than 215 coup attempts in 43 of the 54 countries of Africa. Though the numbers were mostly concentrated in the early years, coups attempts are still a feature on the continent. Where early leaders tended to form militaries based on ethnicity, coups attempts were four times as likely to happen. Likewise, because of the patronage system in place in many fragile states, when elections bring in a leader that is not of the same ethnicity as the army, coup risk spikes dramatically.
Struggles over the trajectory of Burkina Faso’s transition highlight four underlying issues that have fueled the crisis and which will shape the course of democratization in the country.
While João Lourenço has made headlines for high-profile corruption indictments against the dos Santos family patronage network, Angola’s authoritarian political system remains largely unchanged.
Assistant Professor of Justice and Rule of Law
Rule of Law, Democratization and Governance, Stabilization of Fragile States, Preventing Violent Extremism, Program Design, Monitoring and Evaluation, West and Central Africa
Areas of Expertise: Civil-Military Relations, Countering Violent Extremism, Democratization, Sahel
Program materials for the Africa Center's 2019 program, “National Security Strategy Development Workshop: Central and Southern Africa.” Click here for syllabus, readings, and presentation slides.
With the resignation of President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe enters a new political era—one without the only leader the country has known since independence in 1980. Here are five strategic considerations to follow.
As mass atrocities increase in Africa, scholar Samantha Lakin reflects on lessons learned in the 23 years since Rwanda’s genocide that could help prevent future atrocities.
Ghana’s elections offer lessons on how transparency and public trust in electoral institutions contribute to a peaceful transition of power, finds the Africa Center’s Dorina Bekoe.
Part 2. The DRC’s oversight institutions have been actively undermined by the ruling party, dimming prospects for a genuine democratic transition.
Term-limit advocates are not framing their struggles within the context of Western norms. Rather, it is seen as an African normative framework that is being violated by the continent’s leaders.
Director of Research
Areas of Expertise: Democratization, Stabilization of Fragile States, Africa Security Trends, Security & Development, Countering Violent Extremism.