Our guest on this episode is USIP Peace Scholar, Meshack Simati, a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Georgia State University. His dissertation is titled, “The False Promise of the Judiciary in Reducing Election Violence among African Countries.” Together we explore the history of election violence in Kenya and other countries around the world. What is election violence? How does it impact the voting process and the outcome? What are the implication for the future? How do we prevent it?

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To Help Stabilize West Africa, Bolster a Key Partner: Nigeria

To Help Stabilize West Africa, Bolster a Key Partner: Nigeria

Monday, April 15, 2024

By: Rachel Yeboah Boakye;  Chris Kwaja;  Matthew Reitman

Continued violence in West Africa is sharpening America’s critical challenge to reduce extremism and violence, particularly in the Sahel. Violent deaths in three western Sahel nations surged by 38% last year and Niger’s coup has complicated the U.S. military role in the region. The violence is likely to spread further this year into coastal West Africa, a region five times more populous, with commensurately greater security implications for Africa, the United States and the world. A vital partner in stabilizing both regions is Nigeria, and U.S. institutions should consider several priorities for helping it do so.

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Sometimes the Good Guys Win: Guatemala’s Shocking 2023 Election

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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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Guatemala’s 2023 elections were a turning point for the country. Despite a playing field tilted to favor the governing elite, voters elected Bernardo Arévalo, whose Semilla (“Seed”) Movement promised to break the country’s cycles of corruption, restoring democracy and the rule of law. Success was — and remains — far from inevitable. The kleptocracy pushed back hard, using their control of the public prosecutors’ office to open spurious investigations and pursue unsupported claims of electoral fraud.

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Senegal just saved its democracy. That helps all West Africa.

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Thursday, April 4, 2024

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Senegal’s dramatic transfer of presidential power this week highlights that West Africa, routinely seen as a zone of democratic erosion and failure, includes an arc of resilient coastal democracies — from Senegal to Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria. The Senegalese people’s resolute reversal of last month’s constitutional crisis shows that U.S. and international efforts to counter violent extremism and military coups can reinforce a potent West African democratic constituency. Vital next steps include these: supporting Senegal’s democratic forces in shifting from “campaign mode” to inclusive governance; promoting economic investment to bolster youth employment and rule-of-law reforms; and energizing a West African democratic alliance against extremism and coups.

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The Latest @ USIP: Democratic Renewal in Africa

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Tuesday, March 19, 2024

By: Jide Okeke

Democracy remains quite popular throughout Africa. But many Africans see a mismatch between the promises of democratic governance and their leaders’ inability to address prolonged bouts of corruption, abuse and insecurity. This mismatch can often lead to a political culture that sees military coups as a viable alternative. Jide Okeke, regional coordinator for Africa at the U.N. Development Programme, discusses the risk factors that precipitate military coups, and the steps that regional and international actors can take to strengthen democratic governance and security.

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