This article identifies a spike in mutinies in West and Central Africa during the 1990s and examines this increased number of revolts in relation to the economic and political climate of the time. Using interviews with former mutineers as well as analysis of their public statements during the revolts, the research demonstrates that the soldiers were often inspired by the messages and ideas spread through the civilian democratisation movements at the time. It challenges the idea that African rank-and-file soldiers were immune to the political climate and instead argues that they borrowed a script from the civilian movement during mutinies. The article will also look beyond the 1990s and examine why mutinies in West and Central Africa may be most common in countries that display respect for civil liberties and political freedoms. The analysis contributes to a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between the junior ranks of the military and civilian society.