Part II: Anxieties of West African Democracy: Six Presidential Elections in 2014-2015

In the first part of this article, the author describes the political context surrounding the high-risk presidential elections that will take place in six countries in West Africa in 2014-2015. It considered in particular, the anticipated intensity of electoral competition in each country, one of the three elements of risk he’ll use, to assess the likelihood of violence. In this second part, he examines the current security context of the different countries and the institutional environments that will oversee the electoral process. This essay was originally written in French and translated by African Futures. All issues of misinterpretation or mistranslation are therefore solely the editors’ responsibility. To ensure the author’s original nuance, please read the French version.

Partie II: La Démocratie de l’Angoisse: l’Afrique de l’Ouest et ses Six Élections Présidentielles de 2014-2015

Dans la première partie de cet article, l’auteur a décrit le contexte politique dans lequel se dérouleront les élections présidentielles dans les six pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest concernés par ces scrutins souvent à haut risque cette année et en 2015. Il a examiné en particulier l’intensité anticipée de la compétition électorale dans chacun des pays, un des trois éléments d’appréciation des risques de violence. Dans cette deuxième partie, il s’interroge sur le contexte sécuritaire actuel des différents pays et sur l’environnement institutionnel qui devra encadrer les processus électoraux. Anglais…

Anxieties of West African Democracy: Six Presidential Elections in 2014-2015

This contribution is the first of a two-part essay by Dr. Gilles Olakounlé Yabi on the anxious environment in West African countries preparing for elections in 2014/2015. The second part will be posted on African Futures in mid-March. This essay was originally written in French and translated by African Futures. All issues of misinterpretation or mistranslation are therefore solely the editors’ responsibility. To ensure the author’s original nuance, please read the French version.

La Démocratie de l’Angoisse: l’Afrique de l’Ouest et ses Six Élections Présidentielles de 2014-2015

C’est l’estomac noué et la gorge serrée que les citoyens de six pays membres de la Communauté économique des Etats d’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO) s’apprêtent à entrer dans une période électorale devenue synonyme, dans une trop grande partie du continent, de risque maximal de crise violente. Anglais…

Making Sense of the Protests in Khartoum

In the ten days following September 23, Sudanese cities witnessed the largest anti-government protests in many years. Many of the protesters aimed to bring down the government; others sought a reversal of its recent decision to reduce fuel subsidies. The police and security services responded with lethal force, and according to Amnesty International, killed more than 200 protesters. The ruling party played on the fear that, if the protesters should bring down the government, they would bring down the state as well. The protests have now since subsided.
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Social Protest, an African Perennial

Early one morning in March 2013, residents of Bujagali in eastern Uganda, upset by the deplorable state of the road through their village blocked it with logs and large stones. The protesters expressed anger that President Yoweri Museveni had not kept a promise to pave the road, which becomes virtually impassable during heavy rains and throws up dust clouds in dry weather. Although the residents seemed determined to keep the road closed—some youths jokingly planted banana suckers and maize across it—riot police eventually came from nearby Jinja, arrested several demonstrators, and dispersed the remainder. Read More…

Human Rights, Development, and Democracy in Africa: What Role for the Arts?

This essay written by Mike van Graan, the Executive Director of the African Arts Institute (AFAI) based in Cape Town, is the first of a mini-series we hope to publish on the role of arts in democracy, protest, and human rights movements in Africa. It aims to explore how arts are used to advance freedom of expression and representation throughout the region, and highlight these important stories of pro-democracy arts activism – Eds.
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Popular Mobilization and the New Politics of Resource Sovereignty in Tanzania

In 1972, a resident of Tanzania’s impoverished southeastern region of Mtwara penned an angry missive to the editor of a national newspaper. “In Tanzania, there are two groups of people,” he began. “Those in northern and central regions are the ones who enjoy the country’s fruits of independence and those in southern regions are left behind without any progress.” He cited the government’s geographically lopsided investment in infrastructure and industry as evidence of this inequality, and concluded by posing a poignant question that cut to the heart of the young East African country’s aspirations of national unity: “Why are the southern people ignored?”
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Amnesty for Boko Haram: Lessons from the Past

On April 24, 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria inaugurated the “Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North.” The committee, a presidential statement said, “has been given the task of identifying and constructively engaging key leaders of Boko Haram, and developing a workable framework for amnesty and disarmament of members of the group.”
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Kenya’s Jubilee Election: What Next?

This year, Kenya celebrates fifty years of independence. In the life of nations and states, Kenya is young. Its new constitution, emerging out of and in response to struggle and bloodshed, including the postelection violence a mere five years ago, is even younger; it came into force in August 2010.
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