IAD Global Africa Monthly Webinar Series
Prospects and Impediments to Peaceful Democratic Transitions in West Africa: Focus on Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Nigeria
Friday, December 11, 2020 December 11, 900am-12:00pm (EST)/2:00pm-5:00pm (GMT) Registration required https://cornell.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fv-cfvL3QP2dR-fH28gFMA
This webinar will focus on the geo-politics of the democratic process in selected members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Scholars, members of political organization, practitioners and civil society representatives will share their insights and provide forward-looking perspectives toward social progress in the West African region.
When most African countries acquired their independence in the middle of the 20th century, many of their leaders adopted the one-party system. While coming out of the struggle for decolonization was a unifying factor, dissenting voices demanded political pluralism. These claims set the stage for political instability which was exacerbated by military coups in many countries.
At the turn of the 21st Century, a wave of democratization ushered in a renewal of political pluralism with ensuing democratic elections. However, the process of democratic transitions has either slowed down and stalled or reversed. Indeed, while to date a few countries are in the process of consolidating their relative peaceful democratic transitions through regular elections, others have faced major destabilizing conditions due to many factors such as violent power struggles, political manipulations of ethnicity or religion, economic decline and/or extreme economic dependency on foreign powers and multinationals, political clientelism with the privatization of the political office, and above all, the manipulation of their state constitutions. The reversals of the democratic gains are producing failures in the systems of governance, which are reflected in the violent means used to crush unarmed populations, silence civil society, and ignore condemnation by various organizations on the global stage including the voices of the African Diaspora. Furthermore, even countries that have consolidated their democratic transitions routinely engage in practices that undermine democratic norms by ignoring the rule of law or by violating the human rights of the citizens.
- Democratic Resilience