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The Military and the State in Africa: Problems of Political Transition

  • Claude E. WelchJr

Abstract

Even a casual newspaper reader recognizes the ubiquity of coups d’état in tropical Africa. Political change comes about far more frequently through military intervention in politics than through open, competitive elections. As shown in the Appendix to this chapter, 65 successful seizures of power — the overwhelming majority carried out by soldiers — occurred in Africa between 1958 and mid-1985. If a choice has to be made between a soldier or a civilian as the head of government, the man with arms has the upper hand.

Keywords

Armed Force American Political Science Review Military Intervention Military Regime Military Coup 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    According to Kirk-Greene, scarcely one-tenth of the successful military coups d’état in Africa have brought about handovers to civilians: A. H. M. Kirk-Greene, Stay by Your Radios’: Documentation for a Study of Military Government in Tropical Africa ( Leiden: Afrika-Studiecentrum, 1981 ) p. 18.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Adapted from Claude E. Welch, Jr, Civilian Control of the Military: Theory and Cases from Developing Countries ( Albany: State of University of New York Press, 1976 ) p. 3.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Samuel E. Finer, ‘The Morphology of Military Regimes’, in Roman Kolkowicz and Andrzej Korbonski (eds), Soldiers, Peasants, and Bureaucrats: Civil-Military Relations in Communist and Modernizing Societies ( London: George Allen and Unwin, 1982 ) p. 282.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    Eric A. Nordlinger, ‘Soldiers in Mufti: The Impact of Military Rule on Economic and Social Change in Non-Western States’, American Political Science Review 64, 4 (December 1970): 1131–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 13.
    A. R. Luckham, ‘A Comparative Typology of Civil-Military Interactions’, Government and Opposition 6, 1 (Winter 1971 ): 58–9.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    Eric A. Nordlinger, Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Governments (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall, 1976) pp. 139–47. Nordlinger estimates the average lifespan of military regimes at five years.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Reprinted in A. H. M. Kirk-Greene, Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria: A Documentary Sourcebook 1966–1969 (London: Oxford University Press, 1971 ) vol. I, pp. 206–7.Google Scholar
  8. 22.
    R. Luckham, The Nigerian Military: A Sociological Analysis of Authority and Revolt 1960–67 ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971 ) p. 122.Google Scholar
  9. 25.
    Claude E. Welch, Jr, ‘Civil-Military Relations in Commonwealth West Africa: The Transfer and Transformation of British Norms’, Journal of Developing Areas 12, 2 (January 1978): 153–70Google Scholar
  10. and Robert M. Price, ‘A Theoretical Approach to Military Rule in New States: Reference-Group Theory and the Ghanaian Case’, World Politics 23 (1971): 399–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 29.
    Valerie Plave Bennett and A. H. M. Kirk-Greene, ‘Back to the Barracks: A Decade of Marking Time’, in Keith Panter-Brick (ed.), Soldiers and Oil: The Political Transformation of Nigeria ( London: Frank Cass, 1978 ) pp. 19–20.Google Scholar
  12. 31.
    Oyediran goes on to suggest the period of military rule was marked by ‘administrative incompetence, inaction, [and] authoritarian if not reactionary values… in general, it is only in areas which are related to the normal functioning of the military as an institution that success has been much achieved’: Oyeleye Oyediran (ed.), Nigerian Government and Politics under Military Rule 1966–79 (New York: St Martins Press, 1979) pp. 278, 280.Google Scholar
  13. 32.
    Claude S. Phillips, ‘Nigeria’s New Political Institutions, 1975–9’, Journal of Modern African Studies 18, 1 (March 1980): 1–22, provides an excellent summary of steps taken.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 39.
    S. E. Finer, ‘The Man on Horseback—1974’, Armed Forces and Society 1, 1 (Fall 1974 ): 19.Google Scholar
  15. 41.
    The World Bank, World Development Report 1984 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 218–9 and 248–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Zaki Ergas 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claude E. WelchJr

There are no affiliations available

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