Democracy and Conflict in West Africa

What role are democractic practices and institutions playing in West African development? What is the link between the failures of democracy and conflict in the region? What solutions to these failures are being proposed? Is there an 'African democracy'? What are the root causes of inter-ethnic and inter-community conflict?

These are a few of the questions I will raise and try to make sense of in this conversation. African countries have undergone many significant changes in the past twenty years, but are still struggling with the legacy of previous institutions, actors and ideas, even as they face conflicts and turbulences born of a myriad of other factors. It is then significant to examine how what we can loosely call the democratic process is progressing in and interacting with a climate of conflict. It is even more important to see what solutions are being proposed to problems of the state, and how a new definition of the state and the state's role is being conceived in the process.

This is of course a rather tall order, impossible to cover in its entirety and in depth. As such I wish to provide little snippets, scenes of a story to understand how matters are evolving in certain West African countries. I will try to establish as many linkages between ideas and countries as possible to lend a minimum of coherence to the story.

  • Moctar Aboubacar | March 21st, 2012
    When the Ivoirian electoral crisis ended and the internationally-recognized Alassane Ouattara took office at the head of the country, in April of last year, the idea that the decades-long resentment and anger that had been simmering in the country...
  • Moctar Aboubacar | March 4th, 2012
    The first round of the Senegalese elections is over, political violence is still causing worry in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a myriad of other issues are grabbing headlines in the region. One other conflict that has escalated recently is...
  • Moctar Aboubacar | March 4th, 2012
    Last time I wrote about the Senegalese presidential elections, looking sort of at the next step that opposition candidates would take faced with both the constitutional court’s ruling in favor of incumbent Wade running for office and what seemed to...
  • Moctar Aboubacar | February 8th, 2012
    Senegal’s political scene has heated up in the past few days, following a decision by that country’s Constitutional Council that allowed the incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade to present himself for a third term at the next presidential election....
  • Moctar Aboubacar | January 18th, 2012
    Hillary Clinton has pursued her visit to several African states with a stop in Côte d’Ivoire on the 17th of this past month. The American secretary of state met with President Alassane Ouattara to discuss Cote d’Ivoire’s political and economic...
  • Moctar Aboubacar | December 23rd, 2011
    Another season, another electoral crisis. The 2008 Kenyan electoral crisis, the 2010-2011 Ivoirian electoral crisis... Are we headed towards an electoral crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo? The Democratic Republic of Congo has just recently...
  • Blé Goudé (front) and his Jeunes Patriotes
    Moctar Aboubacar | December 6th, 2011
      2011 will be remembered as a milestone year in youth mobilization. From the ‘indignados’ in Spain and the occupiers on the streets of New York and California to the youth of Tahrir Square in Egypt and the revolutionaries in Libya, the voices...
  • Alassane Ouattara
    Moctar Aboubacar | October 30th, 2011
      Cote D’Ivoire is slowly getting back on its feet following several months of an electoral scandal and several years of civil war and political tension, under the direction of President Alassane Ouattara. Political stability has largely...
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    Moctar Aboubacar | October 14th, 2011
    On the 9th of October last, Cameroonians took part in presidential elections to determine the next leader of the central-West African Republic. While some two weeks are needed to be sure of the result, all signs point to Paul Biya, the incumbent,...