Presented at the International Studies Association 2016 Annual Convention
Atlanta, 16-19 March 2016
In 2000 the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) adopted the Lomé Declaration, replacing its long-standing tolerance of military seizure of power with a blanket rejection of coups. Since then coups have continued to blight the continent and the African Union (AU) has strengthened the OAU position through a number of legal instruments, chiefly the AU Constitutive Act of 2000, the 2002 protocol establishing the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the 2007 African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (hereafter “African Charter”). These instruments stipulate that the AU shall suspend governments that come to power by unconstitutional means and shall institute appropriate sanctions against the
perpetrators of an unconstitutional change of government.
The African Charter also includes a ban on coup legitimation, which bars the perpetrators of unconstitutional action from
contesting elections held to restore democracy and from holding any position of
responsibility in the political institutions of their state.