Don’t Write Off Democracy in Africa Just Yet

A supporter holds a placard in French reading “Long live the transition,” outside the swearing-in ceremony of the post-coup transitional president and vice president, both of whom were later deposed by a second military coup, Bamako, Mali, Sept. 25, 2020
A supporter holds a placard in French reading “Long live the transition,” outside the swearing-in ceremony of the post-coup transitional president and vice president, both of whom were later deposed by a second military coup, Bamako, Mali, Sept. 25, 2020

The 1980s are usually recalled as a decade of one-party rule in Africa, and beyond that, of the receding tide of civilian-led government in the face of military takeovers in one country after another.  Having covered the phenomenon while working as a freelance journalist based in West Africa for a little more than the first half of that decade, I recall my excitement when I returned as a reporter for The New York Times at the start of the 1990s, which are often remembered for quite the opposite: the rebirth of democratic politics on the continent. This time around, I […]

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