New Media in Africa and the Global Public Sphere

In analyzing the relationship between a “global public sphere” and social media on the African continent, the generalizations hide a far more interesting set of observations. Debates and discussions about what passes for a global public sphere often overlook and obscure dynamics of power or take themselves too seriously.
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Urban Protests and Rural Violence in Africa: A Call for an Integrated Approach

African countries appear to be in the midst of an epic shift in the nature of their political struggles. The continent continues its long-term decline in violent conflicts with the total number this year falling to half of their post-cold war peak. How do we make sense of this decline?
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The Language of the Political Crowd in Tunisia

The 17th of December 2012 marked the second anniversary since the start of the Arab Spring in Tunisia. The actions of the Tunisian people helped inspire profound transformation across North Africa and invigorated similar discussions and protest movements throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. African Futures wishes to pay tribute to this occasion with an essay by Andrea Khalil, which analyzes the power of collective mobilization and language in Tunisia’s on-going revolution. – eds.
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A History of Resistance in the Congo

In light of the recent escalation of violence in the Kivus, the emergence of M23 rebellion and the on-going negotiations in Kampala, we thought it important to place the latest cycle of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo in its proper historical context. Emeritus Professor of Political Science Herbert F. Weiss of City University of New York and Senior Policy Scholar at the Wilson International Center offers his reflections, in a re-posting of African Futures first contribution written in February 2012. — eds.
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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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Mauritania: Dreaming about the Fall of the Military State

Mauritania has witnessed large protests this year calling for an end to the military regime of General Ould Abdel Aziz (for a useful though slightly out of date overview, see @LISSNUP’s discussion of the protests). Mauritanian activist and blogger Ahmed Ould Jedou offers an insider’s perspective on the drivers of protest and the role of the February 25 youth movement. 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 […]

Did the June 23 Movement Change Senegal?

During the Arab Spring, the key to toppling oppressive regimes was mass mobilization against leaders like Ben Ali and Mubarak, whose families controlled state resources and institutions. Mass mobilization has rarely functioned this way in sub-Saharan Africa.  Although West Africa has experienced two regime changes in the last three months—in Mali and Guinea-Bissau—both were fostered […]

The Congo: A Revolution Deferred

In the run-up to last November’s presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cassandras were easy to find on the streets of Kinshasa. “Ça va péter,” a parliamentarian told me, “It’s going to blow up.” It wasn’t hard to see why. Both the incumbent Joseph Kabila and his main opponent Etienne Tshisekedi toasted […]

In Wake of Unrest, Senegal Heads for Runoff

In a region plagued by conflict, Senegal has a history of robust democratic institutions, stability, and relative economic prosperity, attracting foreign investment and playing a key role in regional peacekeeping. However, an attempt by President Abdoulaye Wade to gain a third term in office has led to unrest and violence in the capital of Dakar […]