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  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Madagascar is on the cusp of exiting a five-year political crisis compounded by economic disorder and international isolation. Presidential elections in late 2013 were endorsed as credible following the victory of Hery Rajaonarimampianina. The return to democracy paves the way for renewed international support. However, division entrenched by former President Marc Ravalomanana's exile has polarised the country. The coup regime of Andry Rajoelina was characterised by socio-economic malaise, rampant corruption, institutional decay and the breakdown in the rule of law. The political system, which is the primary obstacle to sustained recovery, needs much more than a cosmetic makeover; fundamental reform is necessary. The African Union, Southern African Development Community and International Support Group for Madagascar must support Rajaonarimampianina's efforts to balance political interests in a marked departure from the traditional winner-take-all approach; reform and strengthening of key democratic institutions; and reform and professionalisation of the security sector.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Tamil Nadu
  • Author: Lars Buur, Obede Baloi, Carlota Mondlane Tembe
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the General Peace Accord (GPA) in 1992 ending the civil war and the first democratic elections in 1994, Mozambique has experienced a peaceful transition towards democracy, underpinned by successive rounds of local and national elections, which have been, if not totally free, then at least sufficiently free to be accepted by the international community. This, combined with sustained economic growth (Sousa and Sulemane 2007), a substantial decline in people living below the poverty line, relatively high levels of foreign direct investment (FDI) and very high and continued levels of foreign donor support has made Mozambique 'a success story' for the international donor community where few such stories seem available (Renzio and Hanlon 2006: 3). This has triggered continuous and generous levels of assistance and made Mozambique the ultimate 'donor darling'. But with the opening up of the rich natural resource endowment in energy, gas, oil and minerals to exploitation after Frelimo's election victory in 2009, the country stands at a critical juncture, with the potential to become donor-independent within the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Political Economy, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: José Jaime Macuane
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Discussion of development strategies in Mozambique reveals three main perspectives on the role of elites in the policy process: donor dominance, political dominance over technocracy, and the emergence of non-state (economic and civil society) actors as players in the policy process, although still with a marginal role. These analyses tend to see the identity of these actors as monolithic and clearly identifiable. The identities condition the involvement of these actors in a set of dichotomous relations, such as politicians versus technocrats, donors versus internal actors, and state versus non-state actors. Based on this understanding, this paper analyses the role of elites in policy processes, focusing on elite formation and power relations in Mozambique in a context of an economically dependent country undergoing democratization. The paper shows that the dominant analyses of the role of the elites in the policy process in Mozambique overlook the process of elite formation, which contributes to the existence of multiple and overlapping elite identities in the policy process. In this regard, the paper concludes that, despite the emergence of new elites (economic, societal and bureaucratic) resulting from economic and political liberalization and as an aspect of pro-poor policies, the differentiation between these elitesis more apparent than real because of the strategies they have adopted to maintain their dominance in a context of the increasing importance of electoral politics. Further, the paper concludes that the political elite still dominates the process, even with donor dependence, but that nonetheless this dominance is being challenged by an erosion of legitimacy caused by the low effectiveness of the development strategies, reflected in increasing public contestation over government policies, which opens up a space for changes in the current pattern of elite relations.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Six mois après la nouvelle victoire électorale du Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie et Forces de défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD), le Burundi s'enfonce dans une impasse politique qui pourrait se transformer en une crise majeure susceptible de remettre en cause dix ans de progrès. En effet, au lieu de consolider la démocratie, les élections communale, parlementaire et présidentielle de 2010 ont abouti à la marginalisation de l'opposition, au p assage dans la clandestinité des Forces nationales de libération (FNL) et à l'émergence d'une nouvelle rébellion. Combinée à un système de gouvernance faible, cette évolution pourrait conduire à un recul démocratique. Seul s le rétablissement du dialogue politique entre le gouvernement et l'opposition, la sortie de la clandestinité pour les FNL et le renforcement des institutions démocratiques sont de nature à inverser cette dangereuse évolution.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Danielle Resnick
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Electoral coalitions are becoming increasingly popular among opposition parties in Africa because they offer many advantages with respect to reducing party fragmentation and increasing incumbent turnovers. At the same time, however, they are often comprised of parties that are defined predominantly by their leaders' personalities and exhibit little differentiation in terms of their policy orientation. Based on a dataset spanning all opposition coalitions since 2000 in Africa's electoral democracies, this paper demonstrates not only that coalitions rarely defeat incumbents but also that they are only competitive when major opposition parties are involved. More significantly, the paper highlights that in many countries, a sizeable share of total electoral volatility is due to fluctuations in voting for opposition parties that have belonged to coalitions. The paper argues that such volatility reflects the inability of coalition members to build loyal constituency bases over time, which is critical for party development and broader consolidation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Lindsay Whitfield
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Ghana has exhibited rather strong economic growth since the 1980s, but little transformation of the productive structure of its economy. The paper argues that ruling elites' policy choices are shaped by their political survival strategies. In turn, these strategies are shaped by (1) the characteristics of the ruling coalitions, which include a high degree of vulnerability in power, strong lower-level factions of the ruling coalition, and a substantial amount of fragmentation among the higher factions of the ruling coalition; (2) the weak capabilities and political influence of the nascent productive capitalists; and (3) easy access to financing for the state and the ruling coalition from foreign aid, mining and cocoa bean exports. As a result, ruling elites' policy actions did not prioritize the development of new productive sectors (or upgrading of old ones), but were geared towards delivering benefits to the higher and lower levels of the ruling coalition, as well as delivering a small amount of visible goods and services to as much of the population as possible in an effort to 'swing' voters their way at election time. Neither of these political survival strategies resulted in significant productive sector investments.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics, Social Stratification, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Lindsay Whitfield
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the Fourth Republic was inaugurated in 1993, politics in Ghana has been increasingly characterized by competitive clientelism. Ruling coalitions are characterized by a high degree of vulnerability in power due to a strong opposition party, by strong lower-level factions within the ruling coalition due to their importance in winning elections, and by a high degree of fragmentation among the ruling elite. These characteristics, combined with a weak domestic capitalist class and high inflows of foreign aid, have led the ruling elites across political parties to pursue and implement policies that have a short time horizon, that do not significantly shift the allocation of resources towards building productive sectors, and which are often plagued by problems of enforcement. The results have led to growth without economic transformation. In particular, the country has witnessed recurrent macroeconomic instability, a haphazard process of privatization of state-owned enterprises, and no serious attempt to build up productive sectors outside of cocoa and gold.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Politics, Social Stratification, Foreign Aid, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Nada Mustafa Ali
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: South Sudan’s independence ends decades of conflict as well as socioeconomic and political marginalization at the hands of successive governments in Khartoum, which affected women in gender-specific ways. Independence thus opens up opportunities for women’s economic and social empowerment, ensuring that the new country’s political and economic structures and institutions reflect commitments to women’s participation and human rights. In turn, empowering women will enable South Sudan to strengthen its economic and political structures and institutions. There is great potential for gender equality and respect for women’s rights in South Sudan. The government has expressed commitments to equality between women and men and to women’s participation. South Sudan is relatively egalitarian and lacking in religious extremism. International actors interested in South Sudan recognize that promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and addressing gender-based violence (GBV) are key to maintaining peace and security and helping South Sudan’s economy grow. Challenges abound, however. South Sudan is severely lacking in infrastructure and has some of the worst human development indicators worldwide. Social and cultural practices harmful to women compound the effects of conflict and marginalization. There are constant internal and external security threats, a limited understanding of gender equality, and a tendency within communities to view gender as an alien and illegitimate concern, given the acute problems that South Sudan faces. The government of South Sudan, with the support of regional partners and the international community, should ensure that gender equality and women’s rights are fully integrated into and are outcomes of state building. National planning, developing the permanent constitution, and building the country’s new institutions and structures should reflect commitments to gender equality and input from women and women’s groups across South Sudan. The government should cost and meet the full budgetary needs of the Ministry of Gender, Child, and Welfare; ratify and implement the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; strengthen efforts to prevent GBV and address the needs of GBV victims and survivors; and invest more in quality and accessible health and education.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Gender Issues, Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Anika Moroff
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Since 1990 the banning of ethnic and other identity-based parties has become the norm in sub-Saharan Africa. This article focuses on Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as three East African countries that have opted for different ways of dealing with such parties. Using case studies, it traces the origins of the party bans in Tanzania and Uganda and explores the reasons for the absence of a ban in Kenya. The analysis shows that the laws on particularistic parties have actually been implemented by the appropriate institutions. However, these laws have only marginally influenced the character of the political parties in the three countries: A comparison of regional voting patterns suggests that bans on particularistic parties have not ensured the emergence of aggregative parties with a national following in Tanzania and Uganda. In Kenya on the other hand, where such a ban was nonexistent until 2008, parties have not proven to be more regional.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Kenya, Africa, Tanzania
  • Author: Jennifer L. Hochschild
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: One possible outcome of the economic crash of 2008 was that the majority or mainstream members of a society would direct their anger and fear against the minority or marginal members of their society. Commentators on television or the radio would claim, "it's all the fault of the immigrants!" or "if we didn't hand over so much of our tax dollars to the poor, the economy would not have deteriorated so much," or "social benefits to African Americans [or German Turks] have distorted the housing market." Citizens would come to believe these assertions, politicians would echo them – and the upshot would be not only a deteriorating national and international economy but also increased hostility and fear among racial, ethnic, or nationality groups in a country. Social solidarity would decline, perhaps irrevocably.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Politics, Social Stratification, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Europe, Germany
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Already delayed six times, Côte d'Ivoire's presidential election is still some way off. Over two months after President Gbagbo dissolved the Independent Electoral Commission (Commission Électorale Indépendante, CEI) and the government, preparations are at a virtual standstill. The process of electoral identification already carries serious risks of violence. Armed groups and militias, the resurgence of xenophobic language and a challenging socio-economic situation make for an explosive environment, threatening the stability of this key West African country. Unless its politicians urgently meet the challenge of escalating tensions, accelerate electoral preparations and desist from hate speech, and unless regional, UN and other international partners establish the operational, political and security mechanisms necessary to prevent violence, the peace process could very well collapse, with dramatic consequences for the country and its neighbours. Côte d'Ivoire's civil war erupted in September 2002, when a section of the army attempted a coup d'Etat. The coup failed, but the insurgent soldiers took control of the northern part of the country. With the arrival of young intellectuals and under the leadership of former student leader Guillaume Soro, they articulated grievances that northerners were treated as second class citizens. An on-and-off war continued until the signing of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement in March 2007, which considerably calmed the situation. Since the middle of 2009, however, tensions have risen again over the electoral process and the question of Ivorian identity and nationality.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Politics, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Cameroon's apparent stability in a turbulent region cannot be taken for granted. The co-option of elites through the distribution of state largesse, and the emigration of many educated young people provide a certain safety valve for tensions, but the failure of reform and continued poor governance mean people no longer believe in the rule of law or peaceful political change. Multiple risks of conflict exist in the build-up to presidential elections in 2011 and beyond. This background report, Crisis Group's first on Cameroon, analyses the historical roots of the current impasse.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Sebastian Elischer
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Despite a growing interest in African political parties, no comparative analyses of political ideology in Africa have been undertaken to date. This study addresses this shortcoming by applying the Manifesto Research Group's (MRG) coding scheme to a complete set of African party manifestos in three African countries. The study's main aim is to determine whether a research tool that has been seminal in the study of Western politics can be used to study political parties in nonindustrialized societies. In a first step the study examines the extent to which African manifestos advance programmatic ideas. Although most parties fail to do so, results indicate drastic differences between parties. The study subsequently investigates how African parties position themselves on a right–left spectrum. Most parties show a bias towards the political Left. Finally, the study examines the stance of individual parties on specific policy issues such as democracy and human rights, education, corruption, youth and women, and intercommunal relations. The study argues that although the MRG scheme has been designed against the historical background of European politics, it can be applied to advance the study of African parties.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After 28 years of the Biya presidency, Cameroon faces potential instability in the run up to the presidential elections scheduled for late 2011. Constitutional and legal uncertainty; rivalries between the regime's leading figures; the government's attempts to control the electoral process; the rupture of the political contract between leaders and the population; widespread poverty and frustration; extensive corruption; and the frustration of a large part of the army all point to the possibility of a major crisis. To escape this Biya and his government must restore the independence of the body responsible for elections; institutionalise an impartial fight against corruption and ensure the military's political neutrality. They must also urgently establish the institutions envisaged by the 1996 constitution, so that a power vacuum and the potential for violence can be avoided in the event of a transition, including an unexpected one such as the death of the 77-year-old president in office. Cameroon's most influential partners, particularly France and the U.S., should actively support such measures to avoid unrest.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Politics, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: En mars 2009, acculé par des manifestations, ainsi que par une mutinerie de l'armée, l'ancien président Marc Ravalomanana remet le pouvoir à un directoire militaire, qui le transmet immédiatement au maire de la capitale de l'époque, Andry Rajoelina, meneur des mouvements de contestation. 1 A la tête de l'Etat depuis lors, la Haute au- torité de la transition (HAT) monopolise le pouvoir, alors qu'une opposition structurée en « mouvances » représen- tant les anciens présidents du pays réclame une gestion inclusive et consensuelle de la transition defait, ouverte par la chute de Ravalomanana et l'installation au pouvoir de la HAT. 2 Ce mode de gestion av ait fait l'objet d'accords en 2009 à Maputo et à Addis-Abeba entre les quatre chefs de mouvances, mais ceuxci ont été annulés de manière unilatérale par le président de la HAT.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Recent publications suggest that exclusively ethnoregional parties are as rare in sub-Saharan Africa as elsewhere. At the same time, the idea that ethnicity is a very special feature of African party politics persists. The paper acknowledges the general relevance of ethnicity in party competition but emphasizes the level on which it becomes important. It develops a microbehavioral approach which pays particular attention to the strategic choices of party elites in order to supplement the dominant structuralist thinking in party research on Africa. An in-depth evaluation of detailed election data from Burkina Faso shows that strategies which rely on personal proximity between the voter and the candidates influence the parties' success to a great extent. Parties maximize their chances of winning seats if they concentrate their limited resources on the home localities of leading party members. Hence, African party politics are less dependent on ethnic demography than is often implied but more open to change through elite behavior.
  • Topic: Democratization, Demographics, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: While much has been written about the special design of Rwanda's judiciary in order to handle the aftermath of the genocide in 1994, other institutional actions resulting from the 2003 constitution have rarely been addressed in research. However, the second (partial) parliamentary elections in September 2008 revealed some of the implications which the carefully designed electoral system has for Rwanda's political development. As a starting point, the paper emphasises the need to link the debates on institutional design in divided societies with elections in authoritarian regimes. Under different regime types, “institutional engineers” may pursue different goals. The paper concludes that in the case of Rwanda proportional representation (PR) has been implemented to support undemocratic goals. PR limits the local accountability of politicians in a political environment in which the government is not controlled by a democratic opposition. Thus, Rwanda's current PR system facilitates the maintenance of authoritarian power in the country, whereas small constituencies would establish closer links between the local populations and their representatives.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), led by its chairman and prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has radically reformed Ethiopia's political system. The regime transformed the hitherto centralised state into the Federal Democratic Republic and also redefined citizenship, politics and identity on ethnic grounds. The intent was to create a more prosperous, just and representative state for all its people. Yet, despite continued economic growth and promised democratisation, there is growing discontent with the EPRDF's ethnically defined state and rigid grip on power and fears of continued inter- ethnic conflict. The international community should take Ethiopia's governance problems much more seriously and adopt a more principled position towards the government. Without genuine multi-party democracy, the tensions and pressures in Ethiopia's polities will only grow, greatly increasing the possibility of a violent eruption that would destabilise the country and region.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Political Economy, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The 29 March 2008 elections have dramatically changed Zimbabwe's political landscape. For the first time since independence in 1980, Robert Mugabe ran second in the presidential voting, and the opposition – the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) – won control of parliament. The MDC went to the polls deeply divided, but Morgan Tsvangirai and his party regained their authority by winning despite an uneven playing field. Instead of allowing democracy to run its course, Mugabe has fought back by withholding the presidential results for five weeks and launching a countrywide crackdown. Zimbabwe is in constitutional limbo: it has no elected president or legally constituted cabinet, parliament has not been convened, and ZANU-PF and the MDC are challenging half the parliamentary results in court. African leaders, with support from the wider international community, must step in to stop the violence and resolve the deepening political crisis, ideally by facilitating an agreement establishing an MDC-led transitional government that avoids the need for the run-off now scheduled for 27 June.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Rachid Tlemçani
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Algerians no longer live in fear of being killed by radical Islamists at faux barrages (makeshift roadblocks) or of being “disappeared” by “ninjas” — hooded police - men who break down front doors and take occupants away, never to return. This is a remarkable achievement in a country that during the 1990s was synonymous with horrendous violence perpetrated both by Islamist radicals and by security forces. Algeria has regained stability, with radical Islamism no longer a fundamental threat to security across the country. The virtual quarantine in which the country was confined during the mid-1990s has been lifted. It is also increasingly opening up to foreign investment. Algerians have enjoyed a period of peace and relative prosperity, despite occasional flare-ups of violence. During the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who took office in 1999, Algeria has transitioned from civil war, state failure, and moral decay to stability.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Civil War, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria