Bridging Gaps in African Democracies

Africa | Democratic Processes
In 2019, general elections will be held in many African countries, offering them an opportunity to deepen, consolidate, and institutionalize democracy and strengthen their governance systems. Nevertheless, as the 2018 presidential elections in several African countries have shown, without a governing process supported by true separation of powers, effective checks and balances, an independent judiciary, a free press, and a robust and politically active civil society, the 2019 elections will most likely have limited impact on freedom and equality across the continent.
Priorities for the declared winners of the 2018 elections
In Cameroon, President Paul Biya emerged victorious, unsurprisingly, having supposedly captured 71.28 percent of the vote. Several opposition candidates and ordinary Cameroonians pointed to massive fraud. In addition, the election was marred by high levels of insecurity and violent extremism in at least three of the country’s 10 regions—the Far North, Northwest, and Southwest regions.

The violent response by the security forces to peaceful protests by teachers and lawyers against the political and economic marginalization of the Anglophones by the Francophone-dominated central government has morphed into what is being described by the international community as genocide. The “re-election” of Biya for another seven-year term has all but killed any prospects that the 2018 election would lead to the deepening and institutionalization of democracy in the country, as well as significantly improve the security situation in the country, one of Cameroon’s top priorities.