Hours after election officials in Gabon declared that President Ali Bongo Ondimba had won a third term, military officers appeared on state TV and declared a takeover. The election results were invalidated. The borders would be closed. And Bongo would be placed under house arrest, while his son, along with six others, would be investigated for high treason.
It’s a scene that’s played out again and again. Gabon is the ninth nation in West/Central Africa where a coup has taken place in the last few years, along with Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Tunisia. But what has led to this rash of military takeovers?
What these countries have in common is their origins, said William Miles, a professor of political science at Northeastern University whose areas of expertise include West African politics and postcolonial identity. They’re former French colonies that modeled their new government after France, but ultimately fell victim to favoritism and corruption.