Most military coups in West Africa are a result of corruption – says ACC Commissioner Ben Kaifala

Abdul Malik Bangura: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 February 2022:

Francis Ben Kaifala, President of the Network of Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIWA), and Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Sierra Leone, has said that seven out of ten of the military coups happening in the ECOWAS region are being justified because of corruption in civilian led governments.

Commissioner Kaifala, who leads a very vibrant Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission made this statement during an interview on News central TV’s One Slot programme, in which he dilated on the topic: “The Connection between corruption and recent coups in West Africa.”

It could be recalled that the past months in the West Africa Region have seen an increase in military coups including in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, as well as mutiny in Guinea Bissau which was later suppressed by the civilian government.

In all of these, incoming military regimes blame mismanagement of State resources, corruption and abuse of office as reasons why they decide to topple civilian led administration. This position was also shared recently by the Commander, United States of America African Command, General Stephen Townsend, who also attributed the spate of coups in some African countries to lack of good governance and corruption.

Meanwhile, whilst dilating on the topic of corruption and military coups in West Africa, Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commissioner said “we are back into coups because of difficult economic challenges,” adding that over two decades the region has seen democracy thrived but the actual changes that are envisaged in the lives of the people of the region are not realized.

However, Mr. Kaifala also said that “coups do not change the lives of the people, but instead will lead to further backwardness.”

Commissioner Kaifala furthered that in most of the countries where military coups have happened, people only come to terms with the mismanagement of the military regime after the coups have happened. He said “most of the coup leaders tend to be more corrupt than the regimes they overthrow.”

Further explaining his distrust for military coups, the NACIWA President said “we have not had a single country where coup has changed much,” bolstering that “there is no good coup.”

Commissioner Kaifala, who is a renowned Sierra Leonean lawyer opined that there are ways through which civilian regimes could be removed. He said it could be done through elections, the judiciary and the legislature, but that taking up arms against civilian regimes is itself an attack on democracy and should be frowned at.


  1. For once I found myself agreeing with the ACC Commissioner Ben Kalifah, on his grim assessment of how corruption have eroded public confidence and contributed to the recent military take overs in Sudan, Mali, Guinea, and more recently Burkina Fasso.And I don’t think anyone will accused him of being a member of the “THE BIO BASHING RED BRIGADE ” or God forbade pray for miltray intervention in our political dispensation. Anyone who harbours such unhinged thoughts should have their brains examine.The military is never a solution to Africa’s problems. Corrupt civilian governments are the problems and is up to citizens of each country to cleanse our African societies of this unpatriotic evil men.As it stands, we are back to the future. Session of coups that created so much suffering and lack of economic growth across the African continent.Mubutu, Idi Amin, Bokassa, Gaddafi, Yayah Jammeh, Doe, Alpha Conte, and many wannabe miltray saviours across the continent, only to turn out to be the worst of worst in society that don’t know how to do up their shoe lace never mind run a country .

    Quiet a feat, given the sefish activities of these African big men, the 1970s and 80s were christen by tbe IMF, World Bank and most economist as Africas lost decades both in terms of human capital development and lifting large populations out of porverty. For many African countries, those lost decades, were marked by insecurity, military dictatorship, one party state dictatorships, loss of foreign direct investments, capital inflows drying up. Thereby, undermining sustainable development goals, exacerbate porverty, inequalities, genocides, civil wars. And to top it up the public have to put up with poor quality of services, like health, education, roads, electricity, clean drinking water, and more blame games, referencing how other tribes are marginalised. In the 1980 Fulanis were blamed for all the ills that happened in Sierra Leone. At one point President Seku Turay of Guinea, have to intervene to stop the Stevens government from deporting the “KOTORS”.

    Failing which the the Sierra Leone traffic police officers took it upon themselves harassed Fulani Cow traders and asked to be bribe at Mile 38, and Pamlap outside of Makeni, or the notorious Fadugu police check point, 25miles away from Kabala, retuning with their goods and sacks of US Dollars hidden in their kaftans after doing their business in Freetown or Monrovia. Today we know the real story CORRUPTION!

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