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Coup in Niger

shallow focus photo of two brown lions

On 26 July 2023, soldiers from Niger’s presidential guard deposed President Mohamed Bazoum and closed the country’s borders. The presidential guard also blocked entrances to government ministries.

The coup leaders, who have named General Abdourahamane Tiani, the former presidential guard chief, as head of state, said they overthrew Bazoum due to poor governance and discontent with how he handled the Islamist threat.

There have been several coups in Niger since its independence in 1960, and there have been five military coup d’états in Nigeria. Between 1966 and 1999, Nigeria was ruled by a military government without interruption, apart from a short-lived return to democracy under the Second Nigerian Republic of 1979 to 1983.

Coup in Niger
Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

Africa and Coups

Africa experiences many coups, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, because there are no effective and no legacies to provide legitimacy to any ruling government.

It requires centuries of adequate checks and balances to create stability.

The average life for a constitution is 17 years.

A constitution is the aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation or other type of entity and commonly determine how that entity will be governed.

The problem with this defining universal principles or the principles to run a government or society is that these nations as United entities are new and trying to build legitimacy by copying and pasting legal and economic systems imported from the global North, that is, developed countries and democracies from Western Europe and North America.

With the coup d’états in Nigeria, we may very well be witnessing a string of coup d’états throughout sub-Saharan Africa partly triggered by the war in Ukraine due to nations like Nigeria and many others will not have access to Ukrainian grain that provides enough grain to feed 400 million people with Africa and China being the leading importers.

Furthermore, without the legacies of democracy, national identity, and the shared history that makes nations like Nigeria vulnerable to coups, we cannot imagine something similar being successful in a country like England, France and Japan — strong institutions and legitimacy that make coup d’états impractical.

Coup in Niger
Photo by Aditya Joshi on Unsplash

Coup in Niger Means for France

The French have found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place, and a coup in Niger is the catalyst for this predicament. To be clear, we’re only talking about Niger because of what it means for the French.

We all know the past of the British and French colonies, and a keen history buff would know France set up shop in the Sahel and West Africa.

Well, this coup in Niger could mark the end for the French in this region.

There are a couple of options on the table.

France could make the political decision to go in and kick out Wagner (who is a major foreign backer), which would be a roundabout way of attacking Russia.

Or the French could pack up and march back to Europe, where they would also have to duke it out with the Russians, given the EU’s stance on the Ukraine War (And maybe the English if Globalisation breaks down).

The French have long had their hands in many different pots, made easier by their geographic degree of separation from any rivals. France is located in Western Europe and is the only long-term potential adversary if globalisation suddenly collapses the United Kingdom, particularly England.

Due to the declining demographics throughout Europe, if the European Union collapsed, the only serious powers would be France and England.

However, it appears that the French will be making moves against Russia regardless of how they handle the situation in Niger…and that’s what makes this coup so important.

Coup in Niger
Photo by Anthony Choren on Unsplash

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