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