A Third Wave? Creeping Autocracy in Africa


  • Uchenna C. Obiagu


 Nearly all modern states are democracies premised on multiparty electoral systems for leadership recruitment. Despite their aim of ensuring peaceful power transfer, however, elections in most African developing countries are riddled with electoral and political violence and result in autocratization, manifesting in the decline of democratic traits. This piece argues that violence explains the deteriorating state of democracy in Africa. It further contends that most African political actors have an orientation of politics as a do-or-die game devoid of any meaningful rules and regulations guiding how the game is played. They do not consider electoral defeat as a critical component of democratic process. Thus, these actors view violence as a lucrative political strategy to manipulate the electoral process and influence its outcomes at the detriment of peaceful transfer of power through credible elections. To reverse the autocratization trends through peaceful elections in Africa and beyond, there is a need to strengthen institutions which will adequately regulate electoral and political activities and deter political actors from using violence in the contestation for state power.