By Sankara Kamara…..
There was a time when military regimes were so fashionable in Africa that coups and counter-coups were freely used to overthrow military dictatorships and threaten civilian autocracies.
When pressured to democratize, African military rulers invented a tactic known as “civilianization.” What is civilianization?
Civilianization is both a POLITICAL and MILITARY term. In the CONTEXT of the African politics practiced during the Cold War, “civilianization” referred to the metamorphization of MILITARY RULERS from gun-toting soldiers to QUESTIONABLY elected, civilian leaders.
Military rulers simply performed this trick by IGNORING the promise to return to barracks, subsequently resigning from the army, contesting presidential elections and, ultimately, declaring themselves winners of such electoral contests.
There are many examples in which military rulers civilianized themselves to indefinitely remain in power. Colonel Lansana Conte, who promoted himself to the rank of General, civilianized himself and dubiously became an “elected” civilian leader.
Five years after the 1980 seizure of power, Samuel Kayon Doe civilianized himself and boldly presented himself as winner of the 1985 election.
After years of military dictatorship, Gnassingbé Eyadéma of Togo civilianized himself by contesting and “winning” presidential elections that were patently fraudulent.
Guinea’s new military ruler, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, is the latest African soldier who COULD civilianize himself by taking off his military uniform and wearing civilian attire to contest presidential elections, possibly, with the support of gun-holding soldiers.
Whatever the case, this message was written to TEACH African politics in international relations.
Each one, teach one.
© Sankara Kamara