Citizens’ Revolt in Burkina Faso

Even the long months of demonstrations and strikes that came before did not fully prepare the people of Burkina Faso for what they would accomplish during the last week of October 2014. In Ouagadougou, the capital, hundreds of thousands—organizers claimed a million—packed the central square on Tuesday, 28 October, to protest President Blaise Compaoré’s “constitutional coup,” as they called his plan to force through an amendment enabling him to run for reelection yet again, after more than a quarter century in power. Read more…

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…

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…

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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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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Puntland, Multi-Party Politics, and its Place in Somalia

While the world was rightly fixated on the new President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s election, al-Shaabab’s attempt at his assassination, and his inauguration over the last few weeks, another electoral process began in Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern state of Puntland; and it’s not off to a good start.
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Africa as a Mirror of Democratization

Africa as Subject v. Africa as Object

Too often, academic approaches to the subject of democracy in Africa confine themselves to static and quantitative approaches that emphasize ordinal rankings, national units of analysis, and institutional presence or absence, rather than grapple with inevitably messy and complex subjective and interpretive approaches to the topic. Read More…

The Return of the Opposition in Gabon

“I left Gabon in a wheelchair; I’ll come back on my two legs. People that have said I’m dead and gone had better prepare to fight against my ghost.” -Gabon’s main opposition leader Andre Mba Obame in July 2012 After 14 months of exile the leader of Gabon’s outlawed Union Nationale (UN) party Andre Mba […]

An African Lysistrata in Togo

On Saturday 25 August in Lomé Togo, a group of female civil society activists from the organization Let’s Save Togo or ‘Collectif Sauvons le Togo’ (CST) called on Togolese women to abstain from sex for one week to put pressure on men to take action against President Faure Gnassingbe. The unhappiness with the current president […]