Five things we learnt about democracy in Africa in 2017

canada goose deals Nic Cheeseman, University of BirminghamThe last twelve months have been a confusing time for African democracy. We have seen coups that didn look canada goose outlet woodbury like coups and elections that didn look like elections. In this sense, it was a year of illusions. canada goose deals

As in 2016, the broad trend is clear: with a number of notable exceptions, the gains made in the early 1990s are under threat from governments canada goose outlet real with little commitment to plural politics. It true that 2017 provided further evidence canada goose uk of the danger of democratic backsliding. But it also saw powerful presidents suffer embarrassing setbacks in a number of countries.

Canada Goose online 1. Don mess with the militaryIn November 2016, the Zimbabwean Defence Forces placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest canada goose outlet washington dc and subsequently canada goose discount uk orchestrated his removal. The intervention was cleverly framed as a corrective action to remove elements around the president. In reality, it represented an effort by the military to protect its own political and economic interests. Canada Goose online

Once General Chiwenga had canada goose outlet spoken out against the sacking of Emmerson Mnangagwa the political leader closest to the security forces he faced being replaced, arrested canada goose premium outlet and charged with treason. In other words, Chiwenga had little to lose and everything to canada goose outlet online gain from military intervention. The ousting of Mugabe therefore serves as an important canada goose outlet london uk reminder that despite thirty years of multiparty elections in Africa, messing with the military can still be fatal.

canada goose clearance sale 2. If you polite, you can get away with murderThe military intervention in Zimbabwe was also remarkable for being the politest coup in history. To avoid domestic and international criticism, the coup plotters went to remarkable lengths to make their usurpation of power look constitutional. Instead of being canada goose outlet location executed or sent into exile, canada goose outlet uk fake Mugabe was allowed to remain in his house and posed for pictures with his captors. canada goose clearance sale

canada goose store Amazingly, the theatre worked. Delighted to see the back of Mugabe, even some committed democrats were prepared to hold their nose and welcome the willingness of many people to play along with the idea of a bloodless coup is deeply problematic, first because it may encourage security forces in other countries to try and repeat the trick, and second because it is false. canada goose store

canada goose clearance There are growing reports that a number of deaths and human rights abuses occurred as the military moved to exert political control. When the testimonies of the victims are finally heard, it will cast a very different light on the coup and its aftermath. canada goose clearance

canadian goose jacket Reuters/Baz Ratner3. Judges can promote democracy on their ownThe Kenyan Supreme Court made history when it became the first judicial body on the continent to nullify the election of a sitting president Uhuru Kenyatta on 1 September. This remarkable assertion of canada goose outlet store toronto judicial independence was celebrated throughout Africa and beyond, as democrats dared to dream of a new phase of judicial activism. canadian goose jacket

Canada Goose Parka But any hope that the need to repeat the election would lead to widespread reforms and a better quality process turned out to be overly optimistic. Instead, the second poll was just as controversial as the canada goose outlet winnipeg address first as evidence emerged of continued political interference in the canada goose outlet store montreal electoral commission and the main opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, boycotted the contest. Canada Goose Parka

canada goose black friday sale The Kenyan experience is significant because it demonstrates that while independent judiciaries can have a major impact on democracy, their effectiveness is constrained by weaknesses elsewhere in the political system. Because canada goose outlet canada Supreme Courts canada goose outlet paypal lack both legislative and enforcement powers, they are dependent on others for their decisions to be implemented, and so have a limited capacity to enforce the rule of law. canada goose black friday sale

buy canada goose jacket cheap 4. Political exclusion breeds secessionismOne of the main stories of the last 12 months is an upsurge of secessionist sentiment in Cameroon, Kenya and Nigeria. Significantly, while the demand for the creation of a separate state has complex roots, in each case it was triggered by perceptions of political and legal exclusion and the fact that canada goose outlet nyc certain ethnic and linguistic communities have canada goose outlet website legit not held the presidency for decades, if at all. buy canada goose jacket cheap

canada goose coats Although these movements have very different dynamics, they have all led to protests and met with canada goose outlet winnipeg a hostile state response. canada goose coats

Perhaps somewhat paradoxically, they are also movements full of people who don really want to secede: in each case, opposition leaders are using the threat of separation as a way to highlight and contest their political exclusion. Nonetheless, unless some of their demands are met, secessionist sentiment is likely to harden, undermining national identities and paving the way for future political crises.

canada goose 5. Western companies are part of the problemThe last year has revealed the extent to which Western companies have become involved in helping political leaders in Africa run divisive public relations campaigns to boost their electoral prospects. canada goose

Canada Goose Jackets The company was paid a month, although this proved to be little compensation when the scandal broke and it was forced into administration. Canada Goose Jackets

cheap Canada Goose While Bell Pottinger has gone, many of the multinational companies who do this kind of work continue to operate although exactly what they do remains unclear. Given the lucrative nature of these contacts, we can assume that Western companies will continue to play a questionable role in African elections in the future, unless their activities are exposed. cheap Canada Goose

buy canada goose jacket 2018 and beyondThe next 12 months are not likely to be kind to African democracy. Very rarely has the continent seen so many elections scheduled in such unpromising contexts. Early elections in Sierra Leone have the best prospects of going well, but after that a series of general elections will be held in particularly challenging contests: Cameroon, Mali, South Sudan and Zimbabwe. buy canada goose jacket

Canada Goose Outlet The great challenge facing Mali and South Sudan canada goose outlet shop is to organise a credible contest against a backdrop of political instability and weak institutions. Canada Goose Outlet

canada goose coats on sale The situation is markedly different in Cameroon and Zimbabwe, where entrenched regimes that tightly control the political landscape will hold elections that they have no intention of losing. canada goose coats on sale

But it important not to be defeatist. In the last few years the most significant democratic breakthroughs in Gambia, Nigeria, Kenya and beyond have been unanticipated. The next great democratic moment could be just around the corner.

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