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Political Islam and Military Obstruct Democracy in Africa

Sudanese protesters take part in ongoing demonstrations calling for civilian rule and denouncing the military administration, in Sudan's capital Khartoum on March 14, 2022.

Autocracy is controlling sub-Saharan Africa. Tunisia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe are accused of pivoting to authoritarianism. In this analytical report, Africa observers discuss the advance and ebb of democracy across the continent.

Despite decades of promoting democracy and development in the African continent, African states continue to be vulnerable to autocratic forms of power.

Since African nations gained independence in the twentieth century, a number of states established as democratic republics have been torn, even shattered, by coups, civil wars, Islamic insurgencies, and tribalism in the struggle to hold and keep power.

The Bertlesmann Transformation Index notes the decline of democracy in Africa as a growing number embrace "strongmen."

Journalist and Blues Democracies author Francis Laloupo describes the imperative for Africa to seek and maintain democratic governance, which has declined over the past 30 years.

“It is on this foundation that all the historical aspirations and demands of African countries in terms of development, social conquest, and social progress in various sectors will be realized.

Democratic Backsliding

A lack of good governance, violent extremism, inter-ethnic conflict, and the rivalry between political Islam such as The Muslim Brotherhood and the military over gaining authority have all led to coups and attempts in the past decade. Violence has caused incredible damage and loss of life on a continent. All in the name of power.

Foreign Policy Research Institute Africa Program Charles A. Ray, a former U.S. Ambassador, says that countries such as Uganda and Mozambique have been classified as “moderate autocracies,” while countries such as Burundi and Zimbabwe are classified as “hardline autocracies.”

Of the fifty-four nations on the continent," Ray stated, "Sixteen are classified as hardline autocracies and fifteen as defective, or illiberal, democracies. In those countries considered most stable, such as Ghana, Liberia, Namibia, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, between 2015 and 2017 there was a decline in their anti-corruption rating.