Niger: Triggers, Causes, and Ramifications of the Coup

Source: Sahel Blog, August 3, 2023

On July 26, Niger suffered a coup, or perhaps a show of force that escalated into a coup. On July 28, the CNSP proclaimed the head of the Presidential Guard, Abdourahmane Tchiani (or Tiani), as military head of state. The coup has all sorts of geopolitical ramifications, real and imagined, but here I want to leave geopolitics aside and focus on Niger.

The first question concerns the proximate trigger for the coup. Tchiani himself, in a major speech on July 28, evoked “the continuous degradation of the security situation in our country” as well as “bad economic and social governance” as the reasons for the coup. Meanwhile, well-informed observers believe that the real trigger was an effort by [ousted president Mohamed] Bazoum to fire Tchiani. That is the most plausible theory I’ve heard so far.

Tchiani, born in 1964, is an elite, career member of the Nigerien Armed Forces. He has been at the head of the Presidential Guard since 2011. It is probably obvious why he would not want to give up such a post, but to add a little academic heft to the discussion, this saga has made me think of Professor Richard Joseph’s work on “prebendalism” in neighboring Nigeria—the idea that corrupt officeholders treat their offices as extractive opportunities for themselves and their network of supporters. In this view, Tchiani saw his job as simply too valuable to lose.

Read the rest of this long and thorough analysis; including links.

See also an infographic on the coup in Niger (INcontext).

How will believers and ministries be affected by the presence of military dictatorships stretching across this band of Africa from coast to coast? Justin Long addresses this in a new prayer publication based on his weekly news roundup.

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