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Democrats under fire

A voter has his finger inked by an electoral official as Ugandans queue up to cast their votes on 19 February (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A voter has his finger inked by an electoral official as Ugandans queue up to cast their votes on 19 February (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Tough economic conditions are fuelling demands for change but authoritarian leaders are thwarting the popular vote

This year's combination of the international commodity price crash and the Chinese economic slowdown, alongside a bumper political season with 16 elections in just twelve months, is proving harrowing for Africa's democracy activists. Although opposition parties have made breakthroughs in Cape Verde and Nigeria, recent elections in Congo-Brazzaville, Niger, Uganda and Zanzibar, Tanzania, point to three trends that are harmful to political institutions and stability: (1) incumbents are circumventing electoral technology; (2) the rise of 'illiberal democracy' and 'authoritarian developmentalism'; and (3) more marginalised opposition parties are boycotting elections.


Morgan goes it alone

Despite mobilising thousands against the government, the opposition is failing to exploit the ruling party's weakness and division

Even with two years to go until the next general elections, the prospects for a grand opposition coalition to unseat the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front look...

All change in Praia

One more change of government through the ballot box has taken place and a liberation movement retreats

As the country took stock after the shooting of eleven people on 26 April, the new Movimento para a Democracia (MpD) government denied the assassin was politically motivated and ca...

Raiders hit Gambella

A ferocious raid by South Sudanese Murle forces into Ethiopia has raised questions about the ethnic division of the states

The massive cross-border raid for cattle and children by South Sudanese Murle people into Ethiopia's Gambella Region provoked a robust reaction from Ethiopia's armed forces, by far...

Parties to many disputes 

Although the presidential elections are a good four years off, fighting inside the governing coalition is already off to a lively start

Now that it has finally sunk in that this is President Alassane Dramane Ouattara's final term of office, the two main parties that formed the governing Rassemblement des houphouëti...

A charter for trouble

Battle is looming between the government and mining companies over plans for more black empowerment

Mining firms already struggling with low international commodity prices and rising labour costs are up in arms about the draft revised Mining Charter which the government issued fo...

ANC cries 'mayday'

Talk of a new trades union federation is closer than than ever to reality, Africa Confidential has learned. The country's largest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South...

Kidal's tense calm

An uneasy peace has returned to Kidal after two demonstrators were killed in clashes with United Nations' peacekeepers last week but the mood remains fragile in the heartland of th...

Third premier lucky

New Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana faces a key test next month when he presents his government programme to Parliament. It will be a challenge to sustain majority b...

Railroading senators

After a late-night meeting at Aso Rock, the dispute between President Muhammadu Buhari and National Assembly leaders over 2016 budget amendments ended in smiles and a deal on 26 Ap...

IMF cut-off follows secret debt shock

The Fund has stopped flows to Maputo after secret debts came to light. Even more massive obligations remain hidden, we can reveal 

Shocked by revelations that top security officials in Maputo had racked up secret state-backed loans as big as $1.5 billion, the International Monetary Fund has cancelled its emerg...

Africa probes the Panama connection

Chart © Africa Confidential 2016

The Panama Papers have prompted governments to look more seriously at the costs of trade mispricing and illicit financial flows

Following the leak of over eleven million company files from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama on 3 April, many African activists and law enforcement officers have been search...


Ponyo plays banker

The Prime Minister has come within an ace of demolishing the fragile public confidence in the banking system

Union at all costs

The CCM's determination to win the Zanzibar election has undermined stability by leaving the opposition out in the cold

Justice in question

The failure of the International Criminal Court's prosecutions against six high profile defendants raises doubts about the body's future as well as the role of the Kenyan authorities

Desperately seeking dollars

Chart © Africa Confidential 2016

The promise of $22 billion from Saudi Arabia will do little to alleviate the chronic shortage of foreign exchange

Economy thwarts Buhari

Chart © Africa Confidential 2016

Dilemmas over the exchange rate top a lengthening list of woes. The government turns to China for help