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Military intervention on African politices

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Military intervention on African politices by : 4:39 pm On August 6, 2018

Jean Jacque Rousseau’s assertion that ‘the strongest is never strong enough to be master unless he transforms might into right and obedience into duty’ has to an extent flunged a gateway for military presence in politics among African states.The military is one of a country’s force engaged with protecting her interest on land as the Navy does on water bodies in order to prevent boundary infringement by foreign powers and in some cases maintain civility in the society. Having its origin in precolonial times and strengthened during colonial era, in that prior to colonial advent most states and empire like Dahomey, oyo,Ashanti, Mali,Sokoto caliphate to name a few had standing army force while those who hadn’t at the sound of war organized able bodied men and women for war to defend the boundaries and also for expansionist policy which was evident durung the slave trade era of either raiding or being raided.
With the Advent of colonial powers in African states the military was strengthened,well organized and equipped to suit purposes of subjugation and oppression that colonialism clothed itself with.
Having thia foundation military forces has with time come to see itself as well equipped to take over political administration which is a misnomer as it has been asserted earlier that the military is an important agencg in governance as they play the role of defending the country’s territory against external aggression hence its place cannot be underestimated;but when it abandons its constitutional role of defense to assume formal political power,formulate and execute policies, it has intervened in the country’s politics hence a military regime which ‘is one in which the armed forces have made a coup ,established a government in which the main executive post is held by a military person'(Mckinly&Cohan 1975:1).This no doubt leaves the ordinary man ‘ having his heart in his mouth’ as military regimes are viewed from an horror personified viewpoint.
The overtaking of power by Col.Abdel Nasser in 1952,Egypt; Togo’s experience that ushered to power Gen.Eyadema in 1963 removing from power President Olympion in a bloody coup; the sacking of Nkrumah’s government in 1966 not forgetting the ‘expenditure of the five majors’ in Nigeria and the ousting of the ‘ancestorial’ administration of Robert Mugabe by Zimbabwean Soldiers in 2017 are but few instances to buttress the claim that Africa has had a fair share of military interference in political affairs like her counterpart Latin America; all and sundry the continent had witnessed 99 coup since 1963.Nigeria as a case study witnessed seven military intervention and the military ruled 29 out of 39 years of yer independence until 1999 when military returned power to civilian rule as Ojieh has shown in Delsu GST vol.3 -Nigerian people and culture p.35
The military moderation to power is via what Smith(2003:176) calls ‘Supplantment’- taking political control by force and replacing civilian institutions with military leadership forming ‘a self appointed junta’. Huntington(1964) highlights quite a number of categories of coup viz;Guardian coup,Veto coup,Anticipatory coup,and Reforming coup.
With the primary role of the military made bare it would be needful to ask why then do they abandon protection for position?
Quite a number of reasons accounts for this as only a few are listed below
1.Failure of civilian rule ; the cases of Sudan(1958),Congo(1965) and Malagasy (1972)
2. Corruption – which remains a bane in African political stage
3. Political instability
4. Fragile and weak political institutions
5. Regional differences anf tribal loyalties – Nigeria’s case of the first republic
6. Personal and corporate interest of the military .
Hook,line and sinker the above and many others has accounted for why African military officers continually ‘ fish in the troubled waters of African politics’. It will be tantamount to wrong judgement to assume that the military always has a axe to grind hence their intervention but with cases of Mugabe usurpation, the five major coup in Nigeria 1966 and others must be properly be holding a judgment.

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