With the advent of independence in the late 50’s and early 60’s euphoria and new hopes swept through Africa as nation after nation attained self-government. There were new dreams and expectations as the colonial masters packed their bags and handed over the instruments of power to the indigenous peoples. To most Africans this was the end of a long freedom struggle in which so many had suffered. It was the end of slavery, human degradation and exploitation.
However, since emergence of the new era of self-government, the nationalists and the politicians who fought for this great victory were becoming more self-seeking, power-hungry and ambitious. Some were out seeking instant wealth for themselves, their friends and relatives. Nepotism became rampant, common-place and a norm. Others were out experimenting on new and foreign ideologies in the name of African socialism. These were ideologies that had no bearing or relevance to the improvement of the lives of the ordinary man. Some of these governments started openly courting the Eastern bloc for advice and guidance. It did not take the ordinary citizens long to realize that these so-called progressive governments were not delivering the goods fast enough. Corruption had become an accepted way of life. Mismanagement of the economy coupled with sheer incompetence had led to runaway inflation and unaffordable prices. Unemployment and crime rates were on the increase. Yet the greedy get-rich-quick politicians continued getting richer. These were the kind of situations to be found in Ghana, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and other countries when their governments fell to the military.
In the majority of the coups that have occurred, the military has deemed it a national and patriotic obligation to rescue the country from total collapse and thereby restore lost national prestige. Although these coups d’etat have been executed in the guise of national interest and patriotic duty, more often than not, the results of military
rule in the vast continent have been very disappointing indeed. Besides being unable to solve the problems they set out to solve in the first place, military regimes in some cases have created situations that did not exist with civilian governments. Military rule has not necessarily been free of incompetence; military regimes have turned out to be more corrupt, oppressive and downright inefficient than the civilian governments they deposed. Soldiers have been known to be more of wealth-seekers, property. grabbers and bribe-takers. They have openly engaged themselves in self-enrichment activities through the barrel of the gun and through intimidation. They have become better embezzlers than their forerunners.
Thus in this essay we shall discuss and examine the failures of military rule in African state adopting military rule in Uganda and Central Africa Republic as a case study. These two countries were chosen for specific reasons. Uganda and Central Africa Republic was ruled with iron fisted dictators who trampled on human rights, killed lots of citizens, diverted public funds and did all kinds of evils.
However, for conceptual clarification, we shall first examine some basic concept like what is Military and Military Coup d‟état.