The Bleak Picture Of African Democracies

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How are states faring amidst regular violence and constant human rights abuses?

The democratic process in Africa is not always something worth talking about: conversations of ineffective teams of guards in rags and heavy security guarding lavish estates or accompanying people with a lot of money through basic traffic is how you can really best describe Nigeria. There is corruption that trickles from the top to the bottom in security services and holding firearms is illegal, which is why you must get it nationally – private companies and security forces profit remarkably from these business opportunities, without any thought whatsoever to what is happening to democracy or security for the general public.

The conflict is not a surprising environment in Africa and it is relentless: in Guinea, the first victor of free elections in 2010, has pulled troops out from the streets and put them back into barracks, he has given his people electricity somewhat and ambiguously made mining contracts clearer. The only thing going against him has been Ebola, prices of raw materials and basic goods and records of human rights abuse during conflict. This situation can spell so many different things for an African nation: slightly far away from this lies the newly independent Somaliland, growing economically and harboring safety, for now.

Somaliland is ethnic in nature: the streets have goats, most buildings in the capital are newly built, perhaps as a result of the civil war spearheaded by Somalia’s last military dictator that ran until 1991, ravaging the city. Somaliland is not kind to its Italian colonial past but is profiting from livestock trade with Saudi Arabia. Whenever there is talk of reforms a creaking legislative system will spurn out blood-fueled battles, there is intolerable obscenity amongst teenagers, and most of Africa, from Ethiopia to Somalia do not recognize the state’s independence. It is always the same old definition of peace in Africa: all of it is spontaneous and scarce.

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