The Decision Making Process – To Join, or not to Join

In the decision-making process of joining a coup, the process is most likely an effort of self-preservation, players are more likely to side with the group that they anticipate will win, not the side they align with politically. 

This means the coups dilemma in Africa is very much a coordination game as presented in Game Theory. 

In Game Theory, a coordination game is one where players benefit by choosing the same action as others. In the context of a coup, military officers, for example, benefit from joining if they believe that others will do the same. 

Conversely, if they think others won’t join, they may abstain or oppose the coup. This theoretical application means that the information provided to the public decides what appears weak or strong regarding the siting government and the rebellion. 

Since political preference is not a factor, the information provided will decide the probability of who will join the rebellion or oppose it. Additionally, the type of siting government, actors leading the coup, the perception of strong versus weak, and other common knowledge factors will affect coup recruitment.

Across Africa

The decision to join a coup is not just influenced by individual preferences but also historical precedents, political instability, and external pressures, such as regional and international actors opposing or supporting the coup. 

Most participants partake as a means to gain rewards, recognition or the assumption that it will improve their position in life.

There is a lot to addressing the “coupdemic” across Africa. The coups are of significant concern as some have recently seen a small measure of success. To get the conversation started, here is a set of short and long term initiatives to be discussed.

Short-Term Initiatives (2-5 years):

It is not Political, it’s Personal – Forget the Messaging Surrounding Coups

Security Sector Reform:
Goal: To reform and professionalize the security sector in member countries.

Benefits: Improved military and police professionalism reduces the likelihood of military intervention in politics or coups. This fosters political stability, a conducive environment for economic growth, enhanced regional security, and the people’s trust in the government to provide mitigations for protection of their livelihoods.

Early Warning Systems:
Goal: To establish a reliable intelligence process to provide credible and actionable information.

Benefits: Intelligence agents, sources, and assets could aid in validating rumors and rumblings of those who would seek to damage the government. (This must be legal, ethical, and moral. It is not for use against legitimate political opponents or to manipulate citizens)

Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency Support:
Goal: Assist member countries in countering terrorism and insurgency threats through training, intelligence sharing, and joint operations.

Benefits: Enhancing counterterrorism capabilities increases regional security, discouraging extremist groups from operating within member states. This contributes to stability and counters potential coup-related security risks.

Long-Term Initiatives (5+ years)

Political Reforms: Promote democratic governance, transparency, and the rule of law over the long term to establish lasting institutions.

Inclusive Governance: Work on inclusive governance in the long term, ensuring that diverse groups are consistently included in decision-making processes.

Military Reform: Professionalize the armed forces over the long term and ensure civilian control to prevent military involvement in politics.

International Partnerships: Establish and strengthen long-term partnerships with international organizations for conflict prevention and resolution.

Education and Awareness: Promote education and civic awareness over the long term to empower informed citizen participation.

Regional Cooperation: Collaborate with neighboring countries and regional organizations for long-term stability.

Preventive Diplomacy: Engage in preventive diplomacy as a long-term strategy for addressing tensions and conflicts.

Civil Society Engagement: Encourage civil society engagement in the long term to promote democratic values.

Respect Human Rights: Uphold human rights in the long term and avoid authoritarian measures that can lead to discontent.

Foreign Policy: Maintain diplomatic relations with neighbors and international powers for long-term stability.

Economic Diversification: Diversify the economy over the long term to reduce reliance on a single resource or industry.

National Reconciliation: Promote national reconciliation processes as a long-term initiative to heal divisions from past conflicts.


While these ideas may seem easier said than done, they are imperative. Africa presently serves as a breeding ground for rampant violence, corruption, and terrorist activities. 

The economy, governance, and its people deserve a brighter future, but proactive measures are necessary.

The core issue isn’t coups but the prevailing environment. To put a stop to the coups we must create an environment that is no longer conducive to violence and oppression.

We must strive to establish peace as more than a political tag line. It must become the social norm. Bringing security and peace to Africa is paramount to unlock its full potential and solidify its rightful place on the global stage.

  Apex stands with the African people and is ready to assist on the implementation of these challenging recommendations. Our unique advantage lies in our access to in-house geopolitical and operational experts, enabling us to effectively address complex issues across Africa, and the world. 

Jason Mayes, CEO

Jason Mayes, CEO

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