• March 9, 2023

Former Pres. Koroma Shares his Views on the State of African Democracy

Former Pres. Koroma Shares his Views on the State of African Democracy
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PSC REPORT

PSC Report asked HE Ernest Bai Koroma, former Sierra Leone president and Head of the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission in Nigeria, what his reading of continental democracy is, given his involvement in election issues as a former president and elder statesman.

Indeed, I have undertaken seven election observation missions at the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Elders Forum; the most recent being the ECOWAS Observation Mission in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Impressions have been similar: democracy currently faces challenges globally, including in Africa with the pandemic having disrupted previous gains. Reputable regional and international organisations that monitor trends agree that, over the last decade or two, democracy has declined globally. Among the reasons are the rise in authoritarian rule evident in the rise of unconstitutional changes of government (UCGs), disinformation and misinformation through ‘new’ media (fake news, social media and propaganda) and the perception of corruption at all levels of state governance.

Manipulation of new media is causing mistrust between incumbents and main political parties and, finally, disputed election results, leading to violence. All these issues are linked in one way or another to the democratic governance deficit, as was the case in Zambia, Togo, Benin and Kenya before their recent elections. This is a worrying trend that should be of the utmost concern to anyone who professes to be a democrat.

However, while the current picture of Africa’s democracy trajectory looks somewhat gloomy, it is far better than what occurred 20 to 30 years ago. Then most African countries experienced rampant political instability, civil wars, irregular, unfree and unfair conduct of elections, and lack of political pluralism, among other issues.

 

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