Good gov­er­nance: Africa com­ing ...

Africa Renewal - - Interview -

cat­e­go­rizes gov­ern­ments in four groups: full democ­ra­cies, flawed democ­ra­cies, hy­brid regimes and au­thor­i­tar­ian regimes.

Full democ­ra­cies score high on good gov­er­nance prac­tices, par­tic­u­larly civil lib­er­ties and free and fair elec­tions. Flawed democ­ra­cies con­sist of rel­a­tively free and fair elec­tions but are char­ac­ter­ized by low po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion and a weak po­lit­i­cal cul­ture. Hy­brid regimes may con­duct elec­tions but fall short on civil lib­er­ties, while au­thor­i­tar­ian regimes have sit-tight lead­ers with no in­ter­est in elec­tions.

Mau­ri­tius was the only African coun­try with full democ­racy, ac­cord­ing to

Democ­racy In­dex 2015. Coun­tries listed as hy­brid democ­ra­cies in­cluded Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Morocco, Nige­ria, South Africa and Uganda. The ma­jor­ity of African coun­tries were cat­e­go­rized as au­thor­i­tar­ian.

In 2015, elec­tions were held in Burk­ina Faso, Nige­ria, Tan­za­nia and Zam­bia that were seen as rel­a­tively peace­ful, free and fair. In Nige­ria, there was a smooth han­dover of power when the op­po­si­tion All Peo­ple’s Congress de­feated the rul­ing Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party, mark­ing the first time an op­po­si­tion party un­seated a rul­ing party in the coun­try’s his­tory. But a con­tro­ver­sial con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment in Bu­rundi al­lowed Pres­i­dent Pierre Nkurunziza to get a third term, plung­ing the coun­try into cri­sis.

In Ethiopia, Prime Min­is­ter Haile­mariam De­salegn’s Peo­ple’s Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Demo­cratic Front re­ported a 100% vic­tory, cap­tur­ing all the 546 par­lia­men­tary seats. Africa’s 2016 elec­toral cal­en­dar in­cludes the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, Ghana, Niger, So­ma­lia, Uganda and Zam­bia. Suc­cess­ful elec­tions could boost good gov­er­nance in these coun­tries.

Over­all, Africa’s good gov­er­nance pic­ture shows steady progress, de­spite hic­cups. Data gen­er­ally in­di­cates that good gov­er­nance is trending in the right di­rec­tion. The AU, the ECA, re­gional eco­nomic group­ings and many gov­ern­ments rec­og­nize that cit­i­zens are yearn­ing for good gov­er­nance, and are re­spond­ing with ap­pro­pri­ate poli­cies, as shown by the con­ti­nen­tal adop­tion of Agenda 2063.

As well, vo­cal civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions are hold­ing au­thor­i­ties ac­count­able. The ju­di­ciary, me­dia, elec­toral bod­ies and other in­sti­tu­tions are help­ing to strengthen good gov­er­nance in many coun­tries, even if un­der pres­sure to do bet­ter.

One can say with a de­gree of cer­tainty that Africa is on a slow but steady march for­ward.

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