3If We Take the Radio Station, We'll Own the Country!
Have you ever had a boss so ill-suited for leadership that you almost felt sorry for him? Kenyan Hezekiah Ochuka was one of those kinds of guys -- inept to the point where you begin wondering if his whole deal was performance art.
Let's start with his military background. Ochuka was a senior private in the Kenyan Air Force -- the second lowest rank there is. And that was after six years of service. In the Kenyan Air Force.
Can you imagine the kind of person who would picture himself as president of a country despite having only held authority over his own wiener and the cafeteria up to that point? Yes, you can, because you know at least one guy like that. We all do. Anyway, when several conspirators approached Hezekiah about a possible coup, he not only said he was in, but insisted they put him in charge. "Sure," the higher ranking, more experienced military leaders said before rolling their eyes and making the universal "loco" sign to one another. Hezekiah didn't notice.
"Oh, for the love of Christ, OK, you can be the 'leader guy.' But you're not getting a gun."
The scheme was pretty typical, as far as terrible coup schemes go: The group would hijack a radio station, announce they were in charge and just see what developed from there. Oh, and they'd kidnap some air force jet pilots and make them bomb the president's house. You know, just in case.
The first part was easy. After all, no one arms their radio DJs with automatic weapons anymore, not even in Kenya. So at midnight on August 1, 1982, the group easily overtook the Voice of Kenya radio station and whoever was running the late night request line. (We like to think her name was Linda and she enjoyed the butter-smooth easy-listening stylings of Genesis.) So then it was time to get down to the business of overtaking the government, which you'd think they would have accomplished before they announced they were in charge on the radio, but again, these weren't the brightest crayons in the rebel school box. And this was also where the story got fun. Hezekiah ordered his henchmen to abduct pilots from their homes at the air force base and force them to bomb the president's house. Just to be safe and make sure they did the deed, the henchmen would tag along in the jets.
Presumably, all this would be accompanied by snippets from Austin Powers and fart sounds.
On the ground, the pilots were all, "Yeah, sure, whatever you say, boss." In the air, it was another story. The three pilots communicated with silent signals and left their rebel passengers in the dark as they showed off their best vomit-inducing skills. And rather than bombing the president's house, they dumped an unarmed missile on a forest. Not only did the rebels not know that the trained pilots didn't bomb jack shit, but they were greeted by the Kenyan army as they staggered their puke-stained selves out of the jets.
Needless to say, Hezekiah ruled Kenya for six hours before taking off to Tanzania.
Where he blossomed into a beautiful, majestic giraffe.
2The Coup That Got in the Wrong Line
"Mad" Mike Hoare was an Irish mercenary who spent his career doing mercenary-type things in Africa. It takes a certain kind of man to pursue that sort of career, as you can imagine. He was hired to stage a coup against the tiny island country of Seychelles, which was strategically important due to its proximity to a U.S. military base. Hoare put together his mercenary army and named them "Ye Ancient Order of Froth-Blowers." (Why? Because he was crazy.)
And he really loved him some cappuccino.
They hid assault rifles in the bottom of their luggage and filled the rest up with toys, coming up with an elaborate back story that he and his men were a rugby team who were going to Seychelles to distribute the toys to poor children.
Needless to say, that back story is the highlight of what ends up being a Shakespearean farce of a revolution. The trouble started when the "rugby team" hilariously showed up at the airport of the country they were trying to take over. One of the men accidentally got into the "Something to Declare" line at customs, meaning his bag full of guns was going to get searched. And that's when this particular mercenary decided that the airport was as good a place as any to start a revolution.
"We start by liberating that gift shop. Then on to the Sbarro, and glorious victory."
Wrong-Way Froth-Blower assembled his gun and shot the customs guy before he could get away, and the other mercenaries joined the gunfight as well. Then, Mad Mike did what any other insane person in his situation would do -- he hijacked a plane to go home. Once in the air, Hoare tried to make the pilot open the doors so they could dump their guns into the ocean, but the pilot pointed out that this would make the plane depressurize and they would all die. You'd think a colonel would know that, but nope.
Once the plane landed, the conspirators were arrested, obviously. But don't feel bad for Mad Mike. He's gone on to write books, recruit honorary members to his mercenary club and rock a beret harder than any man has a right to.
"I'm going for sort of an A-Team, with just a hint of The Three Stooges."