This edition of Perspectivesseeks to explore how actors in the state, political parties, and civil society have been able to make those in government less certain about the future balance of power through and outside of the ballot box.
While Robert Mugabe’s departure after 37 years was widely welcomed, he was replaced by his former vicepresident in what was no less than a military coup. That Emmerson Mnangagwa has long been a member of the political establishment clearly raises doubts about his desire for meaningful political reform.
In South Africa, Jacob Zuma’s presidency posed the most difficult test yet to the country’s young democracy. This article offers a powerful portrait of the country’s public protector, Thuli Madonsela, who fearlessly “whispered truth to power” throughout the Zuma era.
Kenya’s Supreme Court declared the August 8 presidential elections invalid due to irregularities and ordered a new vote. Constitutional expert Yash Ghai unpacks how this episode highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of the judiciary in consolidating constitutionalism and political accountability in Kenya.
Yoweri Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986. This article outlines how individual activists like academic Stella Nyanzi and musician Bobi Wine have, despite the general repression of dissent, been able to challenge power both from within and without the ballot box.
In South Africa, Jacob Zuma’s presidency posed the most difficult test yet to the country’s young democracy but also boosted the political opposition. This article considers whether the opposition’s momentum can be maintained against a revived ANC under President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Even after the 2015 elections supposedly marked a democratic consolidation in Nigeria, a toxic mix of voter apathy, identity politics and money continues to raise questions about the necessary reforms that would instill credibility in the country’s elections. A political campaigner shares his recent experiences.
After more than two decades of authoritarian rule under President Yahya Jammeh, the people and opposition parties, with the help of the diaspora and the regional body ECOWAS, leapt into a new era in January 2017 when opposition candidate Adama Barrow was inaugurated as their new president. This interview unpacks how it all became possible and reflects on the democratic gains achieved one year later as well as the challenges ahead.
The 2015 #RhodesMustFall protests – which started at the University of Cape Town – led to nationwide calls for the “decolonisation” of universities and free higher education. Zethu Matebeni gives her perspective.