Why has not Africa become MORE democratic in the last three decades?
How has geopolitics changed economic and political developments on the continent in the past years?
Focussing on political developments in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda, the authors emphasize two distinct strategies that governments frequently use to reinforce their hold on power — the legal system and the international system.
Accross the continent, governments employ the law to limit the scope of action among citizens and civil society activists struggling to expand democratic liberties, including the use of constitutional provisions and the courts.
Governments also use their role in international relations to neutralize pressure from external actors, including sovereigntist claims against foreign intervention and selective implementation of donor-promoted policies.
Siri Gloppen is Professor of Political Science (Department of Government), Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Bergen and Co-Director of Centre on Law & Social Transformation (CMI-UiB).
She is a political scientist with a research agenda at the intersection of law and politics, combining a focus on empirical socio-legal studies and political theory. Her work spans legal mobilization and lawfare, judicial politics and the role of courts in social transformation, gender and judging, democratization, constitution making and institutionalization of accountability structures, election processes, human rights, transitional justice and reconciliation. She has broad experience in leading and participating in cross-regional and interdisciplinary research projects investigating legal mobilization and the role of law and courts in areas such as health, abortion and LGBTIQ+ politics, democratic backlash, climate change, land and water rights and child protection. Her main empirical focus is Southern and Eastern Africa.