The 5 Most Half-Assed Attempts to Take Over a Country

We've learned a lot about revolutions over the last year, haven't we? Mostly that Twitter RTs aren't necessarily guarantees of political success and that scarves are really hot right now. Oh, and that revolutions are hard. Really hard.

Especially when you've put zero point zero effort into your coup plans. As we've pointed out before, for every inspiring revolution by the oppressed, there are several low-rent slapdick operations where the insurgents trip getting off the boat.

#5. No One Can Find the Palace


The real-life Game of Thrones involves less sexy intrigue and behind the scenes machinations and more random dumbasses getting lost on their way to the palace. For instance, in 1995, the king of Qatar found out he had been deposed as king ... while he was away on vacation in Switzerland. Damn it! He knew he should have hired some kid to babysit the throne for him.

A year later he decided that, by God, he was going to take that shit back.

"How many heads do you think could fit up here?"

The ex-king, Khalifa bin Hamad al Thani, came up with a plan, and we're using the word "plan" very loosely here. Like if you accidentally started a grease fire and then said, "Sounds like a plan!" In that instance, you literally don't know what the word "plan" means. That's kind of what happened when the former emir thought he'd retake the throne.

First order of business? Build an army to storm the castle. This he did by hiring a team of French mercenaries and a group of 600 Bedouin militia members. The only problem? They couldn't find the castle. No one even knew the neighborhood. Even the Griswolds had the sense to bring a map.

"Oh, I see. Now, which side is the entrance where the guards don't check for guns?"

So, the Bedouins stormed the capital city, only to end up driving around in circles. Witnesses claimed they were screaming into their cellphones "Where's the palace?" the whole time.

At least the Bedouins made it to the capital before eventually getting arrested. The French mercenaries didn't even get that far because they lost their boats. Just ... lost them. They walked out of their five-star hotel on their way to the coup and their boats for the ride were gone. Then they presumably went back to their rooms to watch Friends reruns and have a swim.

"Goddammit, Chad! Remember your military training!"

#4. Taking Over Ghana With Eight Guys

Say you wanted to take over Ghana. It's not a huge country, but it's not just a bunch of shacks, either -- about 24 million people live there today. So if you wanted to overthrow its government, how big of an army would you need? More than eight guys, right?


Don't tell that to the low level Ghanaian pencil pusher who, in the 1980s, had a hankering for the presidency. Godfrey Osei had already been a part of one failed coup, but he had the combination of insanity and access to cash that made it hard to talk him out of stupid ideas. So, Osei worked with a Texas commodities broker to get $200,000 worth of weapons and paid an army of American mercenaries to help him. And yes, as we mentioned, this "army" was eight men. Also he lied to them and told them it was a CIA operation.

These men were to take their giant pile of weapons, sail to the Ivory Coast, meet up with 80 totally-real-and-not-made-up waiting supporters, storm the beaches in the capital city, assault a prison, attack the presidential palace and then launch a direct assault on a military base filled with Libyan soldiers allied with the government. And then they'd all live like kings! Of Ghana!

"And now we bask in the riches of an endless supply of goats."

Osei had so much confidence in this plan that when it came time to set sail, he said, "You guys go ahead, I'll wait here in South America and come over later." This was when Osei's mercenaries realized that there was a good chance that he wasn't right in the brain. It didn't help that the guy had started wearing Nazi insignia and walking with a stick.

Very shortly after that, the team abandoned the whole thing and docked in Brazil instead. This was bad news for them, as they were still hauling a huge illegal stockpile of weapons and thus immediately got arrested as gun smugglers. Really, they had only themselves to blame. Oh, and as a side note, the Americans later escaped their Brazilian prison when one of their wives sent them hacksaw blades concealed in dry milk.

They tried it in a sandwich first, but a guard ate it and died. Also, his wife was 6.

#3. If 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.

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