Briefing Paper

Military Coup and its Effect on the Democratization Process in Mali and in the Region

A military coup d’état that took place in Mali in August 2020 brought about the dissolution of the democratically elected government of President Ibrahim Keita. Military coups have a long history in West Africa and this coup is the fourth in Mali’s 60 years of post-independence governance. However, military and autocratic governments do not appear to have successfully furthered the democratization agenda in that West African country. Democracy is generally seen as the most ideal form of citizen organization as it is founded on popular control and political equality. Military governments, on the other hand, do not acquire their authority to govern through democratic means and are thus less inclined towards good governance and the development of democratic institutions. Furthermore, the military coups may act as a trigger to more coups. Policy considerations must, therefore, emphasize the development and sustainment of democratic institutions to ensure good governance and adequately manage ethnic and religious tensions within the polity.