Nic Cheeseman, The Africa Report

Nic Cheeseman

The Africa Report

United Kingdom

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  • The Africa Report
  • African Arguments
  • Washington Post
  • Foreign Policy
  • M&G Africa
  • openDemocracy

Past articles by Nic:

The failure of leadership in Britain: an update

The rollercoaster that is British politics took a new turn when it was announced that Tory MP Matt Hancock will appear on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. → Read More

Three reasons ethnicity will count for less in Kenya's upcoming vote

Elections have always been about much more than ethnicity, but this will be particularly so this 9 August. Deputy President William Ruto on the campaign trail. Credit: William Samoei Ruto. Elections → Read More

Foreign powers are intervening in Ethiopia. They may only make the conflict worse.

The civil war has become internationalized — and all the more intractable → Read More

Africa: Shadow States Are the Biggest Threat to Democracy in Africa

Analysis - The capture of democratic political systems by private power networks is arguably the greatest threat to civil liberties and inclusive development in Africa. That's the conclusion of two new reports that address the issue of threats to democracy on the continent. → Read More

We cannot defeat racism without decolonisation

The notion of white superiority is reinforced from multiple directions. Charity fundraising and British government aid to countries in Africa, while well-meaning, were shot through with images that emphasised the disparity between white wealth and black poverty. → Read More

Africans Want Consensual Democracy

Analysis - It has become common to argue that most Africans are not that committed to democracy. Commentators often suggest that Africans care more about development than democracy, and that voters - especially those in rural areas - don't really understand democracy. They would thus happily trade away their political rights for a "strong man" who can get things done. → Read More

Tanzania: The Roots of Repression and the Prospects for Democracy in Tanzania

Analysis - Nobody was surprised that President John Magufuli won a second term in Tanzania's 2020 general elections. The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi has been in power since independence in 1961, and has never come close to losing power nationally. → Read More

Africa: New Book Reveals What Drives Election Rigging

Analysis - In recent months it has felt like election rigging has run riot. → Read More

Africa: Some Legislatures Have Held Governments to Account During Covid-19. but Not All

Analysis - The coronavirus pandemic has gone hand-in-hand with considerable democratic backsliding. According to a new study, democratic freedoms were undermined in 83 countries from March to September 2020. This should concern all of us. Oversight and accountability during the COVID-19 pandemic are essential for both the public and democratic health of a nation. → Read More

If Partisan TV Networks Call the 2020 U.S. Election Early, It Could Cause Violence

An early declaration of the election result from a partisan network—on the left or right—could trigger violence in the United States. → Read More

Africa: How to Hold Elections Safely and Uphold Democracy During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Analysis - Free and fair elections face a new kind of threat. In addition to scheming leaders and compromised electoral commissions, there is now the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. → Read More

Africa: State of Democracy in Africa

Analysis - For the last few years the African political landscape has been dominated by high profile changes of leaders and governments. In Angola (2017), Ethiopia (2018), South Africa (2018), Sudan (2019) and Zimbabwe (2018), leadership change promised to bring about not only a new man at the top, but also a new political and economic direction. → Read More

Nigeria: Why Some Anti-Corruption Campaigns Make People More Likely to Pay a Bribe

Analysis - Donors and civil society groups spend tens of millions of dollars every year trying to combat corruption. They do it because corruption has been shown to increase poverty and inequality while undermining trust in the government. Reducing corruption is essential to improve public services and strengthen the social contract between citizens and the state. → Read More

Why the attack on civil liberties in Africa is a matter of life and death

During the pandemic more than ever, having a free press is a matter of life and death. Today, nearly every African country holds multiparty elections of some kind, but – as in the case worldwide – relatively few fully respect political rights and civil liberties. This situation was already worrying before the pandemic. In 2019, advocacy group Freedom House touted the headline “Global Press… → Read More

The opposition playbook for discrediting elections and its risks

Opposition parties across Africa and world have been using a similar set of strategies to discredit elections. Here’s what they are. Malawi recently held its breath as the Constitutional Court took ten hours to painstakingly read out its verdict on the highly controversial 2019 presidential elections. When it finally became clear that the judgement would nullify the election of President Peter… → Read More

Malawi: Discrediting Elections

Analysis - Malawi recently held its breath as the Constitutional Court took ten hours to painstakingly read out its verdict on the highly controversial 2019 presidential elections. When it finally became clear that the judgment would nullify the election of President Peter Mutharika, jubilant opposition supporters took to the streets to celebrate. → Read More

Kenya - Why Elite Cohesion Is More Important Than Ethnicity to Political Stability

Analysis - Kenyan politics is often depicted as a battle between different ethnic "Big Men" who can mobilise their supporters with a click of their fingers. The ability of successive generations of the Kenyatta family to rally the support of the Kikuyu community, and of Odingas to command the loyalty of Luos, means that it is also seen to be dominated by a small number of dynasties - a Game of… → Read More

Africa: Democracy in Africa - Success Stories That Have Defied All the Odds

Analysis - When I first said that I was going to write a book about the history of democracy in Africa, quite a few people responded with a joke. That will be one of the world's shortest books, up there with the compendium of great English cooking, they would say. → Read More

Africa: New Dictionary Provides Nuanced Insights Into the Language of African Politics

Analysis - Every country has its own political language. These terms and phrases that have developed over time give distinctive meanings that may not be fully understood by outsiders. Unless we learn them, we may miss critical information about how politics really works. → Read More

Africa: Both Democracy and Authoritarianism Are On the Rise in Africa

Analysis - Is democracy in Africa in retreat? Or is it simply suffering "growing pains"? The last 12 months have seen a great deal of controversy and debate on these important questions. → Read More