Editor’s Note: This article was first published by Arab Center Washington D.C. on July 27, 2021. It is […]
An Analysis of the Culture of Violence in the Sub-Saharan Region Background The Democratic Republic of Congo has […]
Pictured: Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza speaks to the media after casting his vote at the constitutional referendum in Buye, north of Ngozi, in northern Burundi on May 17, 2018. (Photo Credit: Berthier Mugiraneza, Associated Press).
By Kwadwo A. Boateng
The results of Burundi’s most recent referendum on constitutional amendments see the possible extension of President Nkurunziza’s term until 2034. He has been President of Burundi since August 2005. The results have made the opposition uneasy; however, this is not the first time the President has sought to bypass constitutional term limits. The vulnerability of Burundi’s national legislature has been on display before: Burundi’s Parliament allowed the President to run for re-election in 2015, at the end of his second (and last) term, prompting a crisis that culminated in government forces clashing with protestors. Parliament must become independent from governmental influence to prevent strongmen from taking advantage of constitutional law.
Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza, has secured a constitutional amendment that will enable him to remain in office until 2034. A referendum held on 17 May extended his presidential powers by approving the amendment. Questions remain about whether Burundi’s National Independent Electoral Commission can become independent of government influence, following the referendum result. It could do so by persuading Burundi’s national legislature to insist on different behavior from its executives at the national level. This could come about in several ways, which are discussed below. Opposition groups in Burundi such as the Union for Peace and Democracy and the Frodebu-Nyakuri party are also (understandably) concerned about the referendum results, because they add to a pattern of undemocratic governance that has existed since the ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), became more radicalized following post-conflict elections in 2010.
By Kwadwo A. Boateng
African states have been struggling to democratize for decades, and Zimbabwe was no exception. Only a quarter of African states in 2012 have democratized, while 43% were autocracy, and the rest were hybrid regimes. Among multiple underlying reasons for failure to democratize was the absence of free and fair election, which reflects the principle of democracy by allowing legitimate transfer of authority and regime change. However, Zimbabwe has not seen transfer of power for more than thirty years – allowing competitive authoritarianism to thrive – due to the manipulation of election that imposed great obstacles to conducting a democratic election. Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s new President, must understand this fundamental aspect of democratic society, and thereby, end his predecessor’s competitive authoritarianism and political violence.
Photo: South African President Cyril Ramophosa (L) shakes former President Jacob Zuma’s (R) hand at a farewell reception for President Zuma. Photo credit: South African Government
By Kwadwo A. Boateng
Jacob Zuma’s presidency has ended, leaving behind a devastated economy. South Africans are eager to have a transparent government, and anti-corruption reform. The country now has a new president – Cyril Ramaphosa, who took office as interim president just six hours after a National Assembly vote saw Zuma resign under 783 counts of corruption. The country’s new leadership must adopt an effective policy of anti-corruption. Furthermore, it must pursue state-led reform, which starts with restraining executive control and empowering civil society, including black South Africans who face high levels of wealth inequality.
By Jennifer Raymond Dresden, Ph.D.
Today, Sierra Leoneans headed to the polls for the fifth time since the country returned to multiparty elections in the 1990s. The incumbent, Ernest Bai Koroma, of the All People’s Congress (APC) is constitutionally barred from running for a third term, so one way or another the country is about to get a new president.
By Lexi Merrick Boiro
The current Zimbabwe political crisis has reached new heights. However, Tuesday night’s events are merely indicative of the ongoing scramble for power within the ruling ZANU-PF party rather than a sudden change in the Zimbabwean political scene. These events are the result of the power struggle for succession to President Robert Mugabe, 93, who has ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1980.
The apparent military coup occurred just over a week after Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa fled the country after repeated verbal attacks by First Lady Grace Mugabe stating that Mnangawa and his allies in the “Lacoste faction” of the ruling ZANU-PF party were seeking to breed factionalism in their efforts to succeed her husband as President. Mnangagwa first left the country in August after he was apparently poisoned. The First Lady denied any involvement. After returning to Zimbabwe, he was verbally condemned at repeated rallies by both President Mugabe and his wife before being fired on November 6th, 2018. On Tuesday, the head of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga, spoke out against Mugabe’s “purges” of “members associated with liberation history” and warned that the military “will not hesitate to step in.”