ECOWAS and the challenge of preventing a resurgence of coups d’état in West Africa: An assessment of the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy

Journal article


Babalola, D. and Onapajo, H. 2024. ECOWAS and the challenge of preventing a resurgence of coups d’état in West Africa: An assessment of the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy. South African Journal of International Affairs. 31 (1), pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/10220461.2024.2353266
AuthorsBabalola, D. and Onapajo, H.
Abstract

Since the adoption of the Abuja Declaration of Political Principles (1991) and the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001) by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the regional organisation has declared ‘zero tolerance’ for unconstitutional changes of government, particularly military coups d’état. Despite these declarations, West Africa has continued to experience coups, with a resurgence in the number of these since 2020; the region saw nine separate incidents occurring in six states between 2020 and 2023. This article examines ECOWAS' structures and strategies which are designed to work against such a resurgence of coups in the region. The article demonstrates that ECOWAS has advanced both diplomatic and non-diplomatic measures to respond to the phenomenon. However, while the regional body has appeared more proactive than in the past in responding to the coups, it has appeared to have little success thus far; a mix of domestic, regional and international geopolitical factors – which the regional body has failed to address – continues to undermine political stability in the region.

KeywordsCoups d’état; ECOWAS; West Africa; Military junta; Democracy
Year2024
JournalSouth African Journal of International Affairs
Journal citation31 (1), pp. 1-22
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1022-0461
1938-0275
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/10220461.2024.2353266
Official URLhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10220461.2024.2353266?src=exp-la
Publication dates
Online28 May 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted06 May 2024
Deposited05 Jun 2024
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusIn press
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