Across Africa, longstanding dictators are losing their grip on power. This April alone, Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir and Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika were both forced to step down. In the last four years, 26 African countries have had transfers of power — a level of political turnover unseen since the 1990s. More than half the time, an opposition candidate defeated an incumbent in an election and took power.
Yet the end of one dictator does not necessarily prevent the rise of a new one. In many African nations, democracy rests on shaky foundations. Respect for civil and political liberties in Africa has been declining for years, as has the proportion of Africans living in a democracy.… Seguir leyendo »
This month, Julius Maada Bio was sworn in as president of Sierra Leone, replacing the incumbent Ernest Bai Koroma, who had abided by the country’s two-term limit. In January, the incumbent president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, became the first president in her country’s history to adhere to term limits, also stepping aside after finishing her second term.
Are these part of a broader trend? World news regularly features headlines about African power grabs and “constitutional coups.” But according to new research, most African leaders abide by their constitutional term limits.
Surprising respect for term limits in Africa
When asked, Africans overwhelmingly say they support term limits.… Seguir leyendo »
After months of large-scale protests demanding that President Faure Gnassingbé step down, Togo’s main political parties are currently holding a regionally brokered dialogue to negotiate a way forward. Should the country adopt a power-sharing arrangement, as some are advocating?
As outlined in a forthcoming book chapter, my research on the reform dynamics and outcomes of post-election power-sharing in Africa suggests that the answer is: It’s complicated.
My research was based on more than 100 interviews and focused on Kenya, Lesotho, Togo, Zimbabwe and the semiautonomous islands of Zanzibar. My research revealed that elite power-sharing pacts have significant costs, including bloated cabinets, constrained democratic competition and dangerous incentives for incumbents to refuse to give up power.… Seguir leyendo »
In late July, 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe — the oldest serving head of state in the world — alleged that military involvement in his party’s struggle over who will succeed him amounted to “a coup.”
Referring to indications that military leaders are actively supporting Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the struggle, Mugabe said, “The military has no right … to be interfering with the political processes.”
According to two commonly cited coup databases, no credible military coup or attempt has been launched in Zimbabwe, though that hasn’t stopped Mugabe from making allegations that allow him to purge perceived rivals.… Seguir leyendo »
Political violence is on the rise in Zimbabwe. Two people were axed to death and three others were hospitalized in clashes earlier this month. More than 50 people were arrested for holding rallies in the capital, Harare, in November, prompting statements of concern last week from the United States and the European Union. The opposition has stepped up protests, promising mass weekly demonstrations nationwide against President Robert Mugabe’s nearly four decades in power.
From Our Advertisers
Zimbabwe’s beleaguered opposition is down but not out. Because of Mr. Mugabe’s grip on the security services, a public uprising such as the one seen in Burkina Faso last year is unlikely in Zimbabwe.… Seguir leyendo »
Zimbabwe is fast approaching a dangerous tipping point. Last month, its ailing octogenarian president, Robert Mugabe, angrily defied his critics, calling for early elections in 2012. If a political settlement with Zimbabwe’s security chiefs is not negotiated before the vote, Mr. Mugabe will no doubt rely on them to once again begin a campaign of intimidation and violence, leading to sham elections that could precipitate a regional crisis.
To prevent this, the international community — in concert with African regional organizations — must push for a deal that allows Mr. Mugabe’s coterie of security men to leave the political scene in a peaceful fashion.… Seguir leyendo »