Democracy on the rise in Africa - ISS

2016-12-03 07:38

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Democracy has been rising steadily in Africa because citizens are getting tired of autocrats and want to have a say in how things are done, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has found.

"They want the ability to replace their leaders and the promise that this could translate into improved human development outcomes," the ISS said in a paper titled The Future of Democracy in Africa.

One of the measures of democracy has been the number of elections, with as many as 26 expected to be held across the continent this year alone, it said.

But, researchers caution, elections are not a sure sign that all is well, and increasingly, elections are associated with conflict.

It noted studies that found that incumbent African regimes had become "adept at interfering in the electoral process", such as in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Angola and Mozambique.

Democratisation can also increase ethnic tensions during competitive elections, as has been seen in South Sudan or Kenya.

The paper drew on data provided by Freedom House, the Economist Intelligence Unit, the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) and Polity IV.

The ISS said democracy generally operated better above certain levels of income and education, where institutions and the rule of law could keep the misuse and abuse of state institutions at bay.

75% in favour of term limits

In countries where there is a lower level of income, democracy is often fragile because the institutions and norms relied on for effective functioning were either absent or insufficiently developed.

The ISS noted that, while regular elections were on the increase in Africa, there were "worrying trends" of incumbents clinging to power, or blocking executive rotation or replacement. 

According to Afrobarometer, 75% of the African citizens they surveyed favoured executive term limits, but the continent boasts some of the longest serving leaders in the world. These include Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea (36 years) and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (35 years).

The ISS noted that neopatrimonialism was still a feature in African politics, and was found particularly in countries where the leadership consisted of national liberation forces.

In South Africa, a liberal Constitution, active civil society and independent judiciary had been unable to contain the ANC's ability to dispense patronage, the report found.

But the recent intra-ANC fissures and the emergence of new parties had, however, started to whittle away the dominance of the governing party and put pressure on the solidity of governance institutions.

But democracy, in a number of forms, was rapidly becoming the dominant type of governance globally, the ISS said.

Read more on:    iss  |  politics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/South Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.