Historically, African political institutions such as constitutions, legislatures and judiciaries have been seen as weak and vulnerable to manipulation, leading some to claim that the continent is 'institutionless'. However, recent developments including the consolidation of presidential term limits in a number of countries demonstrate that this depiction is no longer tenable. By drawing attention to how institutions can shape the practice of politics, this book demonstrates that electoral commissions, economic regulations and systems of land tenure are vital to our understanding of contemporary Africa. A series of cutting-edge contributions from leading scholars explain how the rules of the game shape political developments across the continent, from Kenya to Nigeria and from Benin to South Africa. In chapters that cover bureaucracies, constitutions, elections, political parties, the police and more, the authors argue that a new research agenda is required if we are to better understand the process of democratisation.
Nic Cheeseman is Professor of Democracy at the University of Birmingham and was formerly the Director of the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He is the recipient of the GIGA award for the best article in Comparative Area Studies (2013) and the Frank Cass Award for the best article in Democratisation (2015). He is also the author of Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failures and the Struggle for Political Reform (Cambridge, 2015), the founding editor of the Oxford Encyclopaedia of African Politics, a former editor of the journal African Affairs and an advisor to, and writer for, Kofi Annan's African Progress Panel.
1. Introduction. Understanding African politics: bringing the state back in Nic Cheeseman; Part I. Institutional Foundations: 2. Institutional legacies: understanding multiparty politics in historical perspective Rachel Riedl; 3. Property and land institutions: origins, variations and political effects Catherine Boone; 4. Financial institutions: economic liberalisation, credit and opposition party success Leonardo Arriola; Part II. Law and Order: 5. Constitutions: the politics of constitutional reform Muna Ndulo; 6. The Police: laws, prosecutions and women's rights in Liberia Peace Medie; 7. The bureaucracy: policy implementation and reform M. Anne Pitcher and Manuel P. Teodoro; Part III. Elections, Parties and Political Competition: 8. Political parties: presidential succession crises and internal party democracy Ian Cooper; 9. Elections: the power of elections in multiparty Africa Carolien van Ham and Staffan Lindberg; 10. Electoral rules: the relationship between political exclusion and conflict Brian Klaas; 11. Term limits: leadership, political competition and the transfer of power Daniel Young and Daniel Posner; Part IV. Countervailing Institutions: 12. The legislature: institutional strengthening in dominant-party states Michaela Collord; 13. The judiciary: courts, judges and the rule of law Peter VonDoepp; 14. Decentralisation: accountability in local government Alexander Dyzenhaus; 15. Conclusion. Political institutions and democracy in Africa: a research agenda Nic Cheeseman.