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  • 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: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Elections are the hallmark of representative democracy, allowing the people's regular input in choices about leaders and policy. Yet they are also competitive processes, unleashing conflict and tensions that, if not constructively managed, could potentially destabilize the fabric of states and societies. Since the new wave of democratization in Africa in the early 1990s, elections have become a core ingredient of popular participation in the governance process. At the same time, elections have spawned conflicts and violence and scrambled ethnic and regional alliances that sometimes threaten the social order, economic development, and efforts to strengthen regional integration. With the steady decline of some of the historic causes of African conflicts, elections have emerged as one of the major recent sources of conflict across Africa. The challenges occasioned by election-related conflicts and political violence underscore the importance of building institutions that balance competition with order, participation with stability, and contestation with consensus.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Peace Studies, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Largely unnoticed outside the region, the Sudanese states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have begun the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)–mandated process of popular consultation, which permits Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to either adopt the CPA as the final settlement between the two states and the Government of Sudan (GoS) or renegotiate the CPA to remedy any shortcomings and reach a final settlement. The first phase of the popular consultation process involves civic education campaigns to inform the two states' populations of the contents of the CPA and the issues at stake. The second phase is the consultations themselves, which are to be conducted by a commission in each state. The results of the consultations will be reported to the state assemblies and inform the positions taken by the states during negotiations with the central government. A successful popular consultation could begin to transform Sudanese politics by realigning political interests from political parties to the states and could provide a test case for new governance structures between the center and the states. A neglected or mismanaged process could destabilize not just Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, but all of Sudan. The international community can contribute to a successful process through financial assistance, monitoring and reporting, promoting reconciliation within the population, and engaging directly with Khartoum and Juba to smooth negotiations. It might also anticipate possible procedural challenges and prepare to engage in creative and quiet diplomacy should the need arise.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Daniel Large, Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Sudan is at an important, historic moment. The upcoming referendum vote may very likely result in the South becoming an independent state. Since the landmark signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, China, and to a lesser extent India, have become even more important political and economic partners of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum. Generally, commentaries and studies covering China and India's relations with Sudan focus on their interactions with the central government in Khartoum. However, this paper finds that both have also followed a necessary hedging strategy by establishing quasi-diplomatic relations with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-run Government of Southern Sudan in Juba. Both have expanded economic and political relations beyond investment in Sudan's oil sector and beyond merely engaging Khartoum. Chinese and Indian engagement with the GOSS in Juba marks a major shift in policy from dealing exclusively with the central government. The adaptation of both to political developments, however, does not leave them invulnerable to present uncertainties revolving around Sudan's potential split. Due to its economic role in Sudan, China in particular is in a unique position to promote a peaceful transition.
  • Topic: Democratization, Diplomacy, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Sudan, India
  • Author: Kasper Hoffmann
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to propose an analysis which discloses the various interdependencies that may exist between modes of objectifying the nation and the legitimacy of discursive strategies of nation-building in the context of a grave social conflict. The paper advances two interrelated arguments. Firstly, it argues that the order of conflict in the Congo is contingent on the strictly symbolic efficacy of myths of identity. Secondly it argues that the "charisma" of some of the country's "Big Men" is a related to what I call the democratization of sovereignty, and neither to their supposedly exceptional individual qualities nor to a specifically African "Big Man"-syndrome. I propose that while one must be critical of the Weberian notion of "charisma" as a sociological theory of prophecy, one can nonetheless use the notion of "charisma" as a tool to analyse symbolic properties that accrue to a specific individual and his followers, to the extent that they embody a subjectivity which is held as absolute by his, or their, proper discourse.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: John Campbell
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Nigeria is a country of overlapping regional, religious, and ethnic divisions. Rifts between the North and the South of the country, ethnic groups, and Islam and Christianity often coincide and have sometimes resulted in sectarian violence. This has been the case particularly in its geographical center and in the Niger Delta region. In the Middle Belt, as the former is called, bouts of retributive bloodshed between Christian farmers and Muslim pastoralists erupt with some frequency. In the Niger Delta, an insurrection against the Abuja government has been raging for more than a decade over regional, ethnic, and environmental grievances. In all, credible observers ascribe over twelve thousand deaths since 1999 to ethnic, religious, and regional conflict in Nigeria.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: David Budde, Mathias Großklaus
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: This paper conceptualizes a framework of political steering that includes modern conceptions of power as formulated by Foucault, Habermas, Bourdieu and others and applies it to the empirical analysis of the EU neighborhood policies. Analyzing the promotion of human rights and democracy as part of a comprehensive security strategy in Morocco since 2003, the authors scrutinize the use and the resonance of hierarchic, indirect and soft steering modes in EU external governance in the Southern Mediterranean. The findings suggest that Europe employs a complex strategy that targets governing officials, civil society actors and society at large, each with a respective mix of steering modes. Whereas classic incentives failed to initiate reforms at the government level, they proved effective in empowering Moroccan civil society actors. Soft modes are shown to play a decisive role in shaping the self-image of the administration officials vis-à-vis the EU and the parameters of public discourse on human rights and democracy, thus allowing for non-governmental actors to encroach on the government and demand democratic reforms. The integrated perspective on steering mechanisms in EU neighborhood policies thereby reveals the need to further explore micro-techniques of power in external governance analysis.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Arabia, North Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Rachel Beatty Riedl
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper asks (a) how to understand the development of new institutions in nascent democracies, and (b) what explains the persistence of institutional forms that do not conform to rationalist expectations of competitive efficiency. Much scholarship focuses on the power of strategic coordination under formal rules to shape democratic institutions, such as the form of the party system. This article contends that strict rationalist explanations of party systems leave unexplored the ways in which individual politician's and voter's strategic calculations are bounded by the organizational imperatives of systemic competition. Sociological theories of institutional development better explain the organizational logic driving party system origin and endurance in new democracies. The article uses original interview data from three contrasting cases of party system development in Africa to highlight the empirical puzzle that drives this conclusion: despite seemingly analogous democratic origins, largely similar conditions of low economic development, high ethnic heterogeneity, and weak state capacity, as well as comparable formal electoral rules in pairwise combinations, the party systems across Africa demonstrate incredible cross-national variation in the ways in which political parties organize and compete for power. Additionally, party systems maintain these varied forms over time rather than converging on a “most efficient” model. A focus on the particular mechanisms of reproduction through institutional isomorphism contributes to the research agenda of explaining institutional development, change, and stability.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Theory, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ebere Onwudiwe, Chloe Berwind-Dart
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Nigeria's 2011 polls will mark the fourth multiparty election in Nigeria and, if a power transfer occurs, only the second handover of civilian administrations since the country's return to democracy in 1999. Past election cycles have featured political assassinations, voter intimidation, intra-and interparty clashes, and communal unrest. Party primary season, the days immediately surrounding elections, and the announcement of results have been among the most violent periods in previous cycles. Although the most recent elections in 2007 derived some benefit from local conflict management capacity, they were roundly criticized for being neither free nor fair. The 2011 elections could mark a turning point in the consolidation of Nigeria's democracy, but they could also provoke worsening ethnosectarian clashes and contribute to the continuing scourge of zero-sum politics. President Umaru Yar'Adua, who died in May 2010, kept his 2007 inauguration promise to create an Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) but failed to adopt key recommendations that the committee made. His successor, President Goodluck Jonathan, appointed a widely respected professor, Attahiru Jega, to head the Independent National Electoral Commission, inspiring hope that electoral processes will improve in 2011. The issue of “zoning,” the political elite's power-sharing agreement, has taken center stage in the current election cycle and will drive significant conflict if the debate around it devolves into outright hostilities. his unusual election cycle, local and international organizations and Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) must redouble their efforts both to prevent and resolve conflicts and to promote conflict sensitivity. The near term requires an increasingly important role for the judiciary in combating electoral fraud, and the longer term requires the creation of the ERC–recommended Electoral Offenses Commission, which would specialize in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. Local agencies and respected community leaders must remain proactive and creative in violence-prevention programming, irrespective of international funding. Established local organizations with preexisting networks are best situated to perform early-warning and conflict management functions. High voter turnout and citizen monitoring are vital for ensuring that the 2011 elections in Nigeria are credible and civil.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Peter Meyns (ed), Charity Musamba (ed)
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: Against the background of successful developmental experiences in East Asia this report discusses the relevance of the developmental state concept to conditions in Africa. In her contribution Charity Musamba reviews the main theoretical literature on the developmental state and identifies four key features which have informed successful implementation in East Asian countries. With regard to Africa, she challenges the “impossibility theorem” and supports African analysts who defend the need for a democratic developmental state in Africa. Peter Meyns analyzes the development path of an African country, Botswana, which – not withstanding certain weaknesses– can be seen as an example of a successful developmental state in the African context.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia