The Heat: West & Central Africa Coups

The Heat

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The military coups in Niger and Gabon. What’s behind them and are they a rebellion against French neocolonialism?  

There have been military coups in six countries in West and Central Africa since 2020. All of them are former French colonies. The most recent happened in Niger and Gabon. 

On July 26th, Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum was detained by his presidential guard and placed under house arrest. The military has called on France to remove its ambassador and all of its troops from the country. A force of 1,500 French troops has been working with Nigerien security forces in an effort to stop jihadist terrorism. French President Emmanuel Macron has rejected the requests. 

On August 30th, Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba was removed from power by his military, after declaring himself the winner of a disputed election. The Bongo family had ruled Gabon for over 55 years and is a close ally of France. 

Military General Brice Oligui Nguema declared himself the interim president. His newly appointed prime minister says the country will need a two-year transition before holding free elections.

Joining the discussion: 

  • Nabila Ramdani is a French-Algerian journalist and author of the forthcoming book, “Fixing France: How to Repair a Broken Republic.” 
  • Abdullahi Boru Halakhe is an Africa security and policy analyst. 
  • Joseph Ochieno is a writer and commentator on African affairs. 
  • Ovigwe Eguegu is a policy analyst for Development Reimagined.