Military coups in Africa, the most important legacy of Western colonialism
Military coups in African countries, which have increased significantly in recent years, are the most important legacy of the Western colonial powers.
In their grab for influence and resources, colonial powers drew artificial borders across the Middle East and Africa, often arbitrarily splitting traditional tribal territories into new states.
These Western imperialists turned African countries into hotbeds of conflict and war, exposing them to violent changes of power to the point that the number of coups exceeded 200 since the late 1950s.
The latest military takeover in Africa took place last week in Guinea after the country’s president, Alpha Conde, was overthrown by the junta.
So far this year, there's been a noticeably higher than average number of coups compared with the previous two decades (Niger, Chad, Mali and Guinea).
While African countries have been striving for national unity since gaining independence from European colonists, most are still involved in political crises and military coups.
Experts say Europe's arbitrary post-colonial borders left Africans bunched into countries that don't represent their heritage, a contradiction that still troubles them today.
Western observers have blamed the continent’s political violence to rising tide of terror groups, but African scholars have long maintained that the national borders in Africa, most of which date back to the period in the late 1800s when European powers divided up most of the continent in a flurry of diplomatic agreements and colonial wars now known as the “Scramble for Africa,” are actually one of the biggest sources of its present-day strife and violence.
Studies have shown that traditional ethnic homelands that are now partitioned by national borders see more violence than ethnic areas that avoided being split during the colonial era and are still wholly contained in a single contemporary African state.