Posted by / Wednesday 8 March 2017 / No comments

How to prevent the military from venturing into politics

Military intervention refers to the situation where the military move out of their barracks and take over political power from their civilian counterparts. Normally, this is done through a coup d’tat. 
In recent years, coup d’tats have not been popular but the risk of military adventurists still truncating the democratic fortunes of West Africa in particular and Africa in general is not to be under estimated.

There are several factors that can be used to prevent the military from usurping power from the civilians.

Education of soldiers
The military men must be educated to know the role they are expected to play in the democratic dispensation they find themselves in. The soldiers must be told that their role is to protect the country in times of any external aggression and not to interfere in the governance of the state. This can confine them to their barracks.

The constitution of the land must make any involvement in a military coup a punishable offense with very severe terms of imprisonment. Any military officer who is therefore caught attempting to overthrow the government of the day must be made to face the full rigours of the law.

Willingness to relinquish power
The political leaders of the various countries, especially, African countries must be willing to take a bow after they have exhausted their terms of office. They should not try to cling to power at all cost when it is time to go. It is the unwillingness of the civilian political leaders to leave office that creates room for military adventurists to try to usurp power.

Periodic elections
The government of the day must allow for free, fair and credible elections periodically. This would imprint in the minds of the people that no matter their conditions, there would come a time for them to attempt to change government through the ballot box. It is the absence of such opportunities that attracts people to venture into taking power by the barrel of the gun.

Fight against corruption
One of the ways of preventing the military from coming to power is to fight corruption and to eschew corruption. Many times when the military come to power, they accuse their civilian counterparts of corrupt practices. Therefore, once the civilians are able to fight corruption, the soldiers would not have any grounds to come into office by the use of force.

Condition of service for soldiers
The civilian governments must ensure that the military operate under a very good condition of service. The military must not be made to lack any of the accoutrements they need to properly function in their office. Also, their remuneration must be attractive so that it can keep them in their barracks.  

Adequate security
The government of the day must ensure that there is adequate security for the protection of the government of the day. Any loopholes in the national security must be plugged so that it is not exploited by the soldiers to overthrow civilian governments.

When the above measures are put in place, it would prevent the soldiers from taking over the political affairs of the state by the force of arms.

1. a. What is a military coup? (2 marks)
    b. Outline five ways in which military interventions can be curtailed.

2. Highlight six factors that can stop soldiers from usurping political power in a state.

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