Lieutenant Colonel Alexandre Banza (10 October 1932 – 12 April 1969) was a military officer and politician in the Central African Republic. Born in Carnot, Ubangi-Shari, Banza served with the French Army during the First Indochina War before joining the Central African Republic armed forces. As commander of the Camp Kassaï military base in 1965, Banza helped Jean-Bédel Bokassa overthrow the government of President David Dacko. Bokassa rewarded Banza by appointing him as minister of state and minister of finance in the new government. Banza quickly established the new regime's reputation abroad and forged diplomatic relations with other countries. In 1967, Bokassa and his protégé had a major argument over the president's extravagances. In April 1968, Bokassa removed Banza as minister of finance. Recognizing Bokassa's attempts to undermine him, Banza made a number of remarks highly critical of the president's handling of the government. Bokassa responded by abolishing the minister of state position.
Banza soon decided to stage a coup d'état. He confided in a few military officers, who he hoped would support his attempt to gain power. One of his confidants, Jean-Claude Mandaba, contacted the president and informed him of the date of the coup, 9 April 1969. Hours before he was going to execute his bid for power, Banza was ambushed by Mandaba and taken directly to Bokassa. Bokassa nearly beat Banza to death before Mandaba suggested that Banza be put on trial for appearance's sake. On 12 April, Banza presented his case to a military tribunal, which quickly sentenced him to death by firing squad. He was reportedly taken to an open field, where he was executed and buried in an unmarked grave. Alternate circumstances of Banza's death have been reported in Time and Le Monde. In the aftermath of the failed coup, Banza's family, mistress and close associates were all arrested and either sent to jail or deported. With Banza eliminated, Bokassa spent extravagantly and surrounded himself with adulators. (Full article...)