Democracy in Africa. Reversing Backsliding after Ten Years of the African Charter on Democracy
Between 15-21 November 2017, a day short of one week, Africa’s second longest-serving leader, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was forced out of office through a spectacular coup d’État. The collapse of Mugabe is hardly surprising, with the country having experienced close to two decades of democratic backsliding. Still, Zimbabwe sends a negative signal at a time when the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG)[i], the first legally-binding regional instrument in the promotion and protection of democracy is commemorating a decade since inception in 2007. It provides an opportunity to gaze beyond the accoutrements of independence (flags, currencies and elections) and proliferation of institutions in Africa to assess if democratic instincts have taken sustainable legs over time.
Regional protocols committing state-parties to higher forms of democratic governance are in place. Performance has been varied. Moreover, the entry into force of the African Democracy Charter delayed…
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