This inquiry was prompted by the resurgence of the phenomenon of coups in Africa in the recent past. The most recent wave of coups has brought the phenomenon under the scrutiny of continental and international bodies. Unlike in the first three decades after independence, which were characterized by inaction and indifference in the face of coups, in recent times African leaders are determined to stem the tide of coups through an unprecedented set of continental and sub-regional norms and collective action. The mini-thesis analyses traditional, and modern security paradigms, as well as comparative politics in order to understand and situate African coups. It argues that the African coup oscillates between the realist, organizational and praetorian paradigms of civil-military relations. Unlike its predecessor, the moribund Organisaton of African Unity (OAU), the African Union (AU) through normative instruments has demonstrated greater enthusiasm not only in reversing the coup tide, but more fundamentally in entrenching a culture of democracy and good governance. Its pronouncements and active engagement in coup-affected countries have been consistent, unambiguous and forthright. In conclusion, the mini-thesis identifies and assesses a myriad of factors at state and regional levels, as well the interests of foreign actors which have over the years conspired to limit the ability of continental bodies to deal effectively with unconstitutional changes of government. These factors, which are largely located at state level, at the core of which is the nature and form of the African state, need to be addressed first in order to rid the continent of the coup contagion.
Dissertation (MDiplomatic Studies)--University of Pretoria, 2010.