Carrying out a coup is a very difficult task. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment because if it fails, the price is death. A person cannot be certain if a coup can succeed but can only follow some steps in order to enhance the chances of prevailing.
What is a Coup?
Politically, a coup is defined as a “sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government” [Source]. It is seen as an act of taking power through illegal means such as using guns and force, then pushing away the ruling government. Usually, a coup is carried out by militants who are able to fight national defenses and security organizations’ agents.
Difference between Coup and Revolution
The difference between a coup and a revolution is that a coup is an illegal way of taking over power from a government. A revolution involves a rebellion against a certain government for certain reasons. A coup does not really tackle problems in a country and can be exploited in replacing a dictator with another dictator. A revolution usually has caused such as removing dictatorship or foreign rulers.
After a coup, there is rarely social change. A revolution erects a new system of governance [Source] such as the introduction of socialism and democracy. A revolution is also centered on the masses who wish to overthrow a government while a coup is limited to a group of militants described as a junta. The public can help steer a revolution but cannot aid a coup. A coup is carried out because of factions whereas a revolution occurs with the popular support of the people. When it comes to duration, a coup is fairly short and a revolution can extend for long.
How to Survive a Coup
A coup is accompanied by violence and gunfight which risks innocent lives. To survive a coup, people must stay indoors. Also, it is vital to watch news programs or check online what is happening in order to understand the situation. This includes following media to keep in touch as the coup unfolds. [Source] It informs people on which ideology to support or refute when they go outside. One must follow orders given by local authorities. When walking outside, there is a need to avoid crowded places and only go to areas deemed safe by police scanner applications or platforms. More so, people must carry limited cash and arm themselves with a knife or bat if they are scared for their safety. If the situation is serious, one might consider leaving the country or contacting their embassy.
Difference between Coup and Mutiny
The difference between a coup and mutiny is that a coup is an illegal seizure of power from a government and mutiny refers to an “organized rebellion against a legally constituted authority.” [Source]. A mutiny is an act of disobedience against legal orders whereas a coup is a hostile takeover of power. Mutiny usually happens in the military or uniformed forces departments. A coup occurs against a civilian government [Source]. A mutiny is between subordinates and military authorities. A coup is between a junta group and a civilian government. A mutiny does not aim at changing the government but a coup unleashes terror in-order to change the government. A coup is against rulers of a country and mutiny is against one’s superiors.
Difference between Coup and Putsch
A coup entails a hostile takeover of power from a government through illegal means and a putsch is when a politician uses the military to take over power from a ruling government. Merriam Webster dictionary defines putsch as a “secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government” [Source]. A coup entails a military operation while a putsch is an illegal political move by a politician using the military. After a coup removes a government, one of its generals or lieutenants assumes power, but after a putsch is done, a politician behind the operation gets the throne. Other views argue that putsch only happens in German and coup happens everywhere. In terms of the meaning of the words, it is noted that they mean the same, and coup is French while putsch is German [Source], but both words point to the same thing of overthrowing a government.
Difference between Coup and Treason
Treason is defined as the “crime of betraying one’s own country” while a coup involves an illegal hostile removal of a government [Source]. A coup is a form of treason but not all treason is a coup. Treason does not always mean taking overpower but a coup entails taking power from a government. A coup is violent and involves the military while treason can happen without violence such as a person selling state secrets. Governments are changed under a coup and treason can either change a government or not. Politicians and militants carry out coups whereas anyone can commit treason against a country. Money can influence a person to commit treason for financial gains whilst coup brews because of power-hungry.
Is a Coup an Act of Treason?
The definition of treason states that it is betrayal or treachery against a nation such as a person revealing state secrets or attempting to overthrow a government, and a coup is “‘sudden decisive exercise of force into politics but particularly the ‘violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group’” [Source]. Treason is a federal crime and in most nations, it calls for capital punishment. When one participates or conducts a coup, that person would have betrayed his or her nation’s government, the constitution, other democratic laws, and parliament, and a coup is made possible after leaking schedules and security details of officials’ security teams and armory access. Thus, a coup is a treason.
Are Coups Legal?
Coups are illegal ways of seizing power from governments and a form of treason, hence coups are not legal. However, coups are seen in a good light as they can overthrow an abusive government or dictatorship and free the people, but no constitution supports a violent takeover of power as a legal means.
Difference between Coup and Coup d’etat
The notable difference between coup and coup d’etat is that ‘coup’ is a shortened word of ‘coup d’etat’. In terms of meaning, coup d’etat means a “sudden attempt by a small group of people to take over the government usually through violence”, and coup can actually mean “an impressive victory or achievement that usually is difficult or unexpected” [Source], like in the following sentences: – It was a major coup when the team traded for the star pitcher.
– I found a valuable rare book at the yard sale — what a coup!
How to Stage a Coup
Conducting a coup requires an individual to follow certain steps which are pertinent in ensuring that the coup succeeds.
Planning – Every coup needs the planning phase whereby a person occupies a popular position in government or the private sector. This position needs to be very influential in both the public and government departments. There is also a need to surround yourself with loyal people [Source], especially colleagues and close friends. One may also befriend the security services and presidential bodyguards. Influential ministers such as the minister of Defence are worth having around. Befriend officials such as speaker of Parliament, and chief of Justice. Be prepared to repay or reward those who help in the coup. That way they will not turn against you, and all promises to participators should be noted down and be fulfilled after the coup.
Gain support from the military – Another important aspect is to gain support from the military. This is the department that can easily carry out a coup or fight against it. Most of the militants are disgruntled about salaries and tours in foreign countries. One can exploit these areas and promise significant changes in the military department to gain favor from them.
Get the country to side with you – A coup can only be fruitful if the nation is behind you, so a person ought to get the nation behind him or her. To do this, one can target heated issues that society needs to address. These include corruption, nepotism, patriarchy, oppression of women, stimulus checks in global crises, dictatorship tendencies, unemployment rates, politicians’ unregulated spending nature among others. By addressing these issues on public forums, a person can be loved by communities.
Getting Your Troops Ready – An effective coup needs the support of troops and this can be hired mercenaries or the national army. They should know the whole plan and government officials to go and attack. They must have enough military gear and military intelligence. This helps to avoid a breakout of too much violence that might endanger the masses.
Executing the Coup – A coup should be executed only when everything is in order, and this means that all participants should know their roles. All targets must be clearly marked and action to take against them must be known. Another important thing is that before executing, a thorough investigation should be conducted. Ensure that no one sold you out or leaked information.
Wait until the right time – The success of a coup relies on the right time to attack. The perfect time is usually when the government officials are vulnerable. It may be when they are traveling or visiting and that is when they have fewer security agents around them, and the State House will be vulnerable. Also, the time of day is vital and one can choose a time when most agents knock off duty and go to their homes.
Take over the major cities – Capture the major cities first. They have stiff resistance due to the heavy presence of police, security agents, the military, and the general populace. Taking over a major city can be a bargaining tool. It may force the leaders to step down. Seeing that major cities have been taken so their national support has decreased significantly. The attitude of the masses in a big city can show them that they are not being supported by the majority.
Overthrow the government – The primary aim of a coup is to overthrow the government. It should be done, no negotiation must be allowed when removing a government and its authority. Other coup leaders can arrest these officials to ensure that they do not form a rebellion. They might allow them to leave the country and take away all their privileges. These include a fat salary, security, cars, and businesses to stop any funding of a rebellion. An old government should be cleared out completely as a preparation for a new one.
Create a new government – After removing a government, you want to install a government. This has to be done under the promises made to all those who aided in the coup. It is treated as a stage of payback to helpers and any appointments should fulfill issues that were to be addressed by the new government before a coup. Mistakes made by the previous government must never be repeated, and that is why a new government must have new faces.