In the quarter century since the end of the Cold War and economic “liberalisation” imposed by the World Bank and IMF, Africa has experienced many different types of governance. As the number of African polities holding regular elections has increased, so too have the intricacies of the democratic process. In some countries genuine political competition remains rigorously suppressed.
2015 witnessed the first peaceful transfer of power between civilian presidents in Nigeria following a delayed but well-managed election. Incumbents retained the presidency in Sudan, Togo, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. In Ethiopia, candidates aligned to the ruling EPRDF won all seats in the House of Peoples’ Representatives, while Lesotho experienced a hung parliament. In Tanzania, an opposition coalition failed to unseat Africa’s longest serving ruling party. Burundi remains in crisis after Pierre Nkurunziza secured his third term as president in violation of the Arusha Accords.
In 2016 we will see whether incumbents in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Republic of Congo follow Nkurunziza’s lead to secure a third successive term. Uganda’s head of state will stand for the fifth time since he came to power in 1986, unconstrained by constitutional limits. Somalia may stage its first multi-party polls. Ghana will hold its seventh, and Zambia its eighth, competitive presidential elections.
Join us on Wednesday 16 December to hear a distinguished panel from academia, politics and the media reflect on Africa’s democratic development.
- Dr Nic Cheeseman, associate professor of African politics, University of Oxford; author of “Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failures, and the Struggle for Political Reform”
- Professor Ibrahim Lipumba, former national chairman, Civic United Front (CUF); four-time presidential candidate in Tanzania
- Vera Kwakofi, current affairs editor, BBC Africa