n African Renaissance - ECOWAS and democratic consolidation in West Africa : praetorian resurgence as a failure of democratic process

Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


The recent coup attempts and military takeovers in some West African countries and the effective response of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) leadership in stemming the return of preatorianism in the sub-region, calls for an understanding of the experiences across the continent between the 1960s and 1990s. The region is seen by many to be undergoing democratic consolidation and the legitimization of constitutional process. Despite this seeming optimism, there is an undercurrent of possible relapse.

In examining the resurgence of military intervention in politics within the context of democratic consolidation in the West African sub-region, one must most also appreciate the effectiveness of the sub-regional organization, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as a by-product of the increasing democratization of institutions within the states in the region. It is also a function of the decades of experience of the organization in monitoring and promoting electoral processes as well as its effective action on the crisis in Liberia and Sierra Leone - among others. The popular but negative response from other states in the region should also be seen as a product of the domestic politics within the states where these coups occurred as well as the fear of possible contagion effects across territorial borders. The firm international community response to military intervention is in contrast to the experience during the decades of the Cold war. This is because the international environment is less conducive to such aberrations today than it was before.

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