To succeed, coups from the bottom of the army have to have arrangements at multiple levels. Coup plotters have to convince their peers that their coup has been sanctioned by someone higher up and that they are part of a much bigger plot. They need other officers, including those in higher rank to bandwagon in their favour.
Coup plotters will need to capture the broadcasting facilities in order to project their coup is a success, it’s already over and the rest of the army should now just accept the army leadership has been overthrown.
They will need to capture symbolic sites such as the parliament, ruler’s residence in order to show their strength.
Fundamentally coups from the bottom need to manipulate expectations, the expectation that the coup is being led by higher ranking officers. The hope is the coup is over by the time army officers work out what’s really going on. Muammer Ghaddafi did exactly this in 1969. He kept it a secret for over two weeks after the
Famous coups from the bottom of the army are the free officers in the Mali coup of 2012 and Ghana 1979. Flight lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings in Ghana has become legendary for his coup from the bottom of the army in 1979.
Rawlings tried a coup d’etat on fifteen May 1979, leading a gaggle of military personnel in Associate to make a coup on General Fred Akuffo that resulted in him being arrested, unfree and facing a death sentence. However, a speech he gave throughout his trial resonated in the hearts of people and other military personnel that rose up in his defence.
On May 28, 1979, JJ Rawlings with exactly 6 soldiers were brought to court after failed coup attempt.
He defended the coup idea and cited corruption and leadership as his sole reason for the coup.
Rawlings was brought to court, in midst of the court proceedings, he told the judge that only him should be held guilty and free his colleagues because he was the man behind the failed coup.
The judge sentenced Rawlings to death by firing squad on June 7, 1979.
But a group of low ranked soldiers help J.J Rawlings made a prison break after which he successfully dethroned the ruling government.
Not long after he staged successful coup against the Supreme Military Council (SMC) Akuffo Government, he formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) that took over government.
He handed over power to civilian government led by Dr Hilla Limann.
Rawlings and the troopers around him fashioned the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and conducted what it termed “a housecleaning exercise”, whose aim was to purge Ghanian society of all the corruption and social injustices that they gave the impression to be at the muse of their coup d’état”