What Should African Christians Do About the Epidemic of Coups?
Leaders of the United Nations describe Africa as having an “epidemic” of coups these past two years. During this time, there have been successful coups in Mali, Chad, Guinea, Sudan, and Burkina Faso. Unsuccessful coups happened in Niger, Central African Republic, and Madagascar. Freedom House pointed out that global democracy has declined for 14 consecutive years. The 12 largest drops are in Africa.
Many of these are in the Sahel Desert countries, all of which are in the 10/40 Window. This past year, we have prayed for peace during and after coup attempts through the Emergency Prayer Alerts (EPAs). Now is the time to pray for the big picture.
These countries have Christian minorities who are directly affected by coups, anarchy, and violence.
We must remember that the primary issue is not the comfort and safety of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout Africa. The most important issue is how they can be salt and light in their part of this dark planet. How should followers of Christ respond to coups, which are almost always a result of greed for power and wealth?
Abel Ngarsouledé is secretary-general of the doctoral program at the Evangelical University of Chad. He says it is not the role of Christians to take part in coups or counter-coups. He reminds us that in the Bible, God used prophets, priests, and divinely ordained circumstances to remove wicked kings. The role of a common Christian is to pray for God’s will to prevail.
Samuel Korgo, director of the Institute of Theological and Artistic Education in Burkina Faso, points out that coups sometimes remove wicked leaders. In that nation, the Christian minority has been very active in government. Alas, Burkina Faso has had eight coups in its brief history as an independent nation, a record even in coup-prone Africa.
What about Islamic jihadists who force hundreds of children to lose their right to education and entire populations to live in fear? Illia Djadi, Open Doors’ senior analyst for religious freedom in Africa, commented that the actual issue is who provides for the needs of the people. Coup leaders focus on consolidating their power while allowing important issues like education, medical care, and infrastructure needs to deteriorate. Perhaps that is one of the main reasons instability is so destructive.
- Christianity Today, Amid Cascade of Coups, African Christians Debate Civic Duty. March 17, 2022.
Image courtesy: Canva.com