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Governance Systems in Africa


Many nations are on the edge of poverty, and markers of democratic backsliding are crucial, particularly in this context. It’s tough to adapt, but this is a new world where things are always changing, and human rights are important. In terms of both goal and emphasis, democratic backsliding varies from more generic democratic degradation. A drop in what we call Effective Parliament has been one of the most noticeable developments in Africa over the past five years. This indicator has dropped dramatically due to the African Congress’s incapacity to control the executive or examine the activities of prior presidents. Countries in need, such as Africa, don’t have much and need help to establish a peaceful atmosphere and a peaceful world (Campbell). South Africa, like many other countries, is experiencing a democratic decline. However, each country’s collapse has its unique causes. This article will discuss the necessity and methods for detecting and analyzing the various causes of African countries’ democratic backsliding. The study will maintain its uniqueness by focusing on the Covid-19 epidemic and how it may damage the continent’s democratic status. According to this research, there has been a lack of beneficial progress in Africa since colonialism. Poverty, corruption, and widespread relative inequality continue to plague African civilization, and the Covid-19 epidemic has brought them to a new high.

Background information

Many African countries have been suffering from a series of matters since Coronavirus-19. In Africa, the COVID-19 epidemic is hastening a democratic downfall. More Africans now than at any other time in history live in either totally or partly autocratic regimes. Because of the increased power they now have due to the COVID-19 conference, elections in Somalia and Ethiopia have been delayed, opposition leaders have been silenced, and the media across the continent has been restricted, all of which has contributed to a decrease in democracy. Even in established democracies like South Africa, security forces have used violence to enforce pandemic restrictions, resulting in protests in Kenya and other African countries, including the United States. As demonstrated in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Nigeria, political instability may lead to violence, which has already occurred in these countries (Ozil). The continent’s fast-expanding population will suffer due to this escalating political and social turbulence, which will harm the continent’s economic and social growth. As a whole, these factors contribute to the movement of people both inside and outside of the country. Several African countries do not have the best economic growth, job opportunities, security, or democratic administration. People struggle to make a living mostly owing to democratic rule and the fact that it is unchanging. If these solutions are not met or explored, these countries may face even greater difficulties in growing economically and providing for their people, among other things.

Lack of leadership

Poor leadership has been going on for a long time, aided by weak government institutions. Bad governance is Africa’s biggest impediment to social and economic progress, and it is the result of poor political leadership. Many of these countries’ leaders abuse their executive powers and commit human rights violations. African politicians’ failure to be transparent and upfront with the public further diminishes the public’s faith in the leaders, diminishing their authority. It’s a major problem because some of these regimes rely on military backing and violence against people (Cheeseman). Countries in Africa must establish procedures to promote constitutionality, accountability, democratization, and better governance to achieve their development objectives. For example, the number of Africans residing in poverty has grown, despite a significant decrease in the fraction or proportion of Africans living in severe poverty. In the absence of strong anti-poverty and pro-poor legislation adopted in African nations, world poverty will become more African. There are several different ways in which weak governance expresses itself. Defective governance systems continue, producing conditions where political leaders behave with impunity, embezzling precious public resources.

Africa as a nation has been facing a Constitutional Coup, the incumbent president unconstitutionally extending his mandate. Many African heads of state, such as Presidents Gnassingbé, Museveni, Déby, Biya, and the late Nkurunziza, have amended their country’s constitutions to remove the 2-term constraint. Many African nations’ political systems have seen considerable changes since the early 1990s. An example of these institutional shifts include the end of apartheid in South Africa. As a result of the overthrow of several civil and military dictatorships, constitutionalism and constitutional government have become the norm, and reforms such as term limits have become commonplace (Mbaku). Despite this, many of these nations are still working to strengthen and institutionalize democracy and combat government impunity, notably for abuses of executive authority and human rights violations. Elections have a crucial role in democratization. As helpful as it might be in fostering democracy, it can also lead to a majority rule that marginalizes minorities in the long run.


Since Covid-19, governments have found it more difficult to combat the pandemic. African health systems are already under stress, and a pandemic of COVID-19 may have devastating effects, even if cases and deaths are still low compared to other parts of the globe. Three waves of the COVID-19 shock will hit African economies: first, a drop in Chinese trade and investment. Second, a demand slump caused by the lockdowns in the EU and OECD countries, and third, an African supply shock that will affect intra- and intra-African trade. The COVID-19 shock will hit in three waves. For decades, economic development has been based on commodity-driven growth patterns that have not created more and better employment or improved well-being. When it comes to Covid-19, the police are the ones to blame.

According to most Kenyans, the police are not seen as protectors but rather as abusers. Kenyans living in Kenya’s slums were a primary target of violence during the first few weeks of curfew enforcement (Reporter). On the first night of Covid-19, people ran away from the police and jumped in rivers to escape their pursuers. More than a century ago, under British colonial rule in Kenya, the roots of today’s pervasive problem of police violence were firmly entrenched. In addition, the demand for vaccines has been quite low, even though many of these individuals do not have access to them. Global eradication of the epidemic would require successful vaccine efforts in Africa, warn health experts. Since the continent’s low inoculation rates favor viral mutations like the new Omicron strain spreading across South Africa, an additional wave of foreign travel prohibitions has been issued for the country. Africa’s economy are collapsing under the weight of large foreign debt, which has been compounded by increasing governmental spending and a revenue collapse as a result of the pandemic’s onset and ramifications.

Refugees and Aid

The AU (African Union) is a group of 55 African countries that collaborate and, discuss and work to boost solidarity responsibility sharing in the search for solutions to forced displacement across Africa. Globally, UNHCR is tasked with ensuring that those forced from their homes may have access to necessities like food and water (United Nations). Access to protection, asylum, and life-saving aid are all safeguarded as reducing and preventing statelessness. Africa in 2018, has housed about 7.4 million refugees, with another 17.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) receiving UNHCR assistance. For Africa’s long-term solutions to the continent’s ongoing refugee and internal displacement crisis, the AU declared 2019 the “Year of Refugees, Returnees and Temporarily Displaced People.” Many Africans were forced to flee their homes when civil unrest and conflict raged over the continent in the year of 2021. Increasing levels of violence and human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Nigeria resulted in the displacement of millions of people. The UNHCR is dedicated to finding long-term alternatives for refugees, particularly those affected by COVID-19 and climate change (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). The United Nations has undoubtedly played a significant role in assisting most civilians in these countries. However, many individuals have questioned if it is truly assisting the country and its leaders in understanding the challenges their people face or if it is inflicting more harm.

Opposing view(s) and Response(s)

Opportunities for democratization in Africa have been made possible due to the worldwide drive toward democracy, which was encouraged by the conclusion of the cold war. The needs of the democratic process, both institutional and political, and unique challenges associated with the process, such as racial and ethnic strife, corruption, and the function of donors in the democratic process, are key topics (Melesse). It is important to include the distinctive viewpoints of African intellectuals, academics, authors, political activists, and observers while analyzing the dynamics and challenges of democracy in Africa. However, Africa’s new propensity toward democracy results from internal and external forces on African countries. African societies have been subjected to both internal and foreign influences. The continent’s worsening economic woes have led people to become more cynical and critical of their governments. At the same time, new African thinking has encouraged individuals to break old taboos and embrace more progressive perspectives. Even with all of the assistance, some of these countries still find it difficult to adapt their democratic methods because of their cultural traditions. I believe it will take some time for a genuine shift to occur (Makara). However, I believe that if it is more widely publicized and covered by the media, it will make a significant difference.


There are multiple answers and requirements for countries struggling economically and environmentally and require a more effective system. The world changes in many ways and the best way to let the world know about it is to get out there and tell everyone about it. In any country around the globe, there are likely to be organizations or factions whose interests are not aligned with the nations. Even in Africa, a major obstacle to democratic consolidation is a violent fight by numerous ethnically or religiously based factions to gain control of the government’s machinery. A nation may establish a system of governance where the people are sovereign to prevent majorities from abusing the rights of minorities. Still, government authority and its use are constrained by the constitution. Measures that protect individual rights, maintain the division of powers and solidify direct democracy may all be included in this constitution. Democracy thrives when it has a “virtuous” citizenry and leaders who are devoted to safeguarding the country’s constitutional foundations (Khannenje). People from all demographic groups in a nation should be able to participate in elections, particularly those who have traditionally been underrepresented or ignored. Elections in Africa must be deemed credible by both foreign observers and the people of the nations themselves. These systems, which most of these countries are confronted with, are dreadful. Every day, many civilians die, and evacuating them from their homes is not acceptable. It is time for a more tranquil environment to emerge for these folks to live better lives.

Works Cited

Campbell, John. “What’s happening to Democracy in Africa?” Council on Foreign Relations, Freedom House, 26 May 2021,

Cheeseman, Nic. “What Africa Has to Teach the World about Democracy | Democracy in Africa.” Democracy in Africa | A Resource for the Study of Democracy in Africa, 23 July 2019,

United Nations. “Africa.” United Nations, Accessed 15 May 2022.

Reporter, Guardian Staff. “‘They Have Killed Us More than Corona’: Kenyans Protest Against Police Brutality.” The Guardian, 15 Oct. 2020,

Mbaku, John Museum. “Threats to Democracy in Africa: The Rise of the Constitutional Coup.” Brookings, 9 Mar. 2022,

Melesse, Tigist Mekonnen. “International Aid to Africa Needs an Overhaul. Tips on What Needs to Change.” The Conversation, 17 May 2021, 160710#:%7E:text=Many%20African%20countries%20still%20rely,is%20clear%20from%20the%20data.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “African Union.” UNHCR, Accessed 15 May 2022.

Khannenje, Hassan. “The Future of Democracy in Africa.” CIRSD, 2018, Accessed 15 May 2022.

Makara, Sabiti. “Decentralisation and good governance in Africa: A critical review.” African Journal of Political Science and International Relations 12.2 (2018): 22-32.

Ozil, Peterson. “COVID-19 in Africa: socio-economic impact, policy response and opportunities.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy (2020).


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