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Revolutionary Overthrow of Constitutional Orders in Africa

Carlson Anyangwe

Publication Year: 2012

The subject of revolutionary overthrow of constitutional orders in Africa is at the intersection of three disciplines: jurisprudence and legal philosophy, constitutional law and power politics, and civil-military relations, that is, military security policy which is one aspect of national security policy. The subject is of interest in at least four ways. It problematizes the inescapable question of governance in the African continent. It challenges the democratization agenda in Africa ñ how does one democratize not only political governance but also the instruments of violence in the state? It also challenges African constitutional lawyers and policy makers to seek a constitutional model that addresses the enduring menace of the power of the gun in African affairs and the changing role of the military in African politics. Finally, it underscores concerns about sovereignty and national security. This book contributes to a fuller understanding of the coup syndrome in African. To this end, it vigorously interrogates the place of coups in the governance of Africa, and explores the relevance of Kelsenís theory of revolutionary legality in the context of coup díÈtats in Africa. It is a major contribution by a leading thinker in the field.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. iii-vi


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pp. vii-viii

Political Map of Africa

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pp. ix-x

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-14

Political governance in Africa has oscillated between a measure of disciplined multiparty politics at independence to one-party authoritarian rule in the 1970s/1980s; and then, between chaotic political pluralism and life presidencies since the 1990s. Africa’s experience with constitutionalism ...

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Chapter 2. The Military, a Frankenstein Monster

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pp. 15-28

The generalized nature and frequency of coups in Africa puts into question the loyalty of the African military to the civil government. The frequency of coups also suggests that the African military is a deeply divided force since a coup is never the result of a unanimous decision by the armed forces. ...

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Chapter 3. Why Overthrow a Government

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pp. 29-42

The strategic objective of gaining political power through the barrel of the gun (whether by the armed forces of the state or an armed insurgency fighting the established government) is to assume and use political power. In this sense, all coups, whether premeditated or not, are politically inspired. ...

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Chapter 4. How to Stage a Coup

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pp. 43-52

There are available a few manuals on staging a coup d’état35 though what applies in one country may not necessarily hold true for another. Generally, however, a coup d’état in Africa is often a simple affair given the weak institutional, legal, psychological, social and economic foundation of many states. ...

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Chapter 5. Coups and the International Community

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pp. 53-62

The endless and widespread coups in Africa demonstrate and confirm the instability of African states and the apparent inability of Africans to govern themselves properly and democratically. At first coups in Africa appeared to have been welcomed by a large section of the international community. ...

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Chapter 6. Grundnorm and Revolutionary Legality

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pp. 63-80

A revolution occurs when there is an overthrow of an established government by those who were previously subject to it, or when there is a forcible substitution of a new ruler or form of government. In other words, there is a successful revolt or rebellion against the status quo. A coup d’état is thus a revolution ...

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Chapter 7. Usurper Government: its Legitimacy and the Validity of its Acts

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pp. 81-94

Coups in Africa are revolutions inside sovereign states with two possible situations. The usual situation is that in which the coup results in the complete disappearance overnight of the old regime and constitutional order. When that happens, the possibility of the courts continuing to operate in terms of ...

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Chapter 8. Facing the Coup Challenge in Africa

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pp. 95-114

Coups in Africa were at first thought to be a product of the colonial heritage or the result of military training or indoctrination by former colonial powers. This thinking was informed by the fact that early coups in Africa were carried out by soldiers trained in the military academies of Western powers: Sandhurst in Britain, ...

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Chapter 9. Countries where there has been no Military Rule (Yet)

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pp. 115-128

A number of African states have not experienced rule by the military. In some cases this is due to the fact that the soldiers respect the hallowed principle of an apolitical military and have shown no ambition for political power. In some other cases soldiers tried to seize power but failed in their attempt(s). ...

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Chapter 10. Countries where there has been one coup (so far)

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pp. 129-134

The Cape Verde Islands achieved independence from Portugal in July 1975. The PAIGC was the only political organization in both Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau. In 1980 there was a coup d’état in Guinea Bissau. The coup ended the loose federation of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. Plans for unification of the two former ...

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Chapter 11. Countries Where the Military Have Seized Power More than Once

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pp. 135-176

On 5 July 1962, Algeria gained independence from France after a long and bloody nationalist struggle. Ahmed Ben Bella became President of the new State. Three years later, in 1965, he was overthrown by a military coup that installed Colonel Houari Boumedienne as the new ruler. ...

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Chapter 12. Epilogue: Neo-patrimonial Governance and Revolutionary Overthrow of Governments in Africa

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pp. 177-186

Many African states continue to rely on centralized and highly personalized forms of government. They lack democratic institutions and have fallen into a pattern of corruption, a pattern of governance based on personal rule and ethnicity, and a pattern of gross human rights abuses. ...


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pp. 187-194

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956727575
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956727780

Page Count: 206
Publication Year: 2012