The decline of democracy and the rise of coup d’états in Sub-Saharan Africa: Reflections and lessons

Garang-Yach-JamesAuthor: Garang Yach J
South Sudanese Political and security analyst and PhD Student, University of Juba, South Sudan

 

Summary

Although coup d’états have been straddling the African continent since the 1960s, their recent resurfacing and rise is a reverse to the democratic consolidation in the Sub-Saharan African region. In this article I try to locate the trends of coups in the history of the region in order to showcase the existing susceptibility of the states in the region. I further advance the argument that militarisation of politics, the dominant military aristocracy and proclivity to change constitutions in order to extend term and age limits, delays in holding free and fair elections are among the reasons why democracy is declining, and coups are on rise in the region. I also present a compelling argument that failure to incorporate human security into governance is stifling democracy and resuscitation of coup tendencies. The article concludes that military metiers in the Sub-Saharan region have entrenched themselves and apply mock democracy to actuate militaristic propensity. Finally, the article gives four recommendations that would improve democratic governance and mitigate trends of unconstitutional change of government in the region.

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Will South Sudan be ready for its first democratic elections comes 2023?

Garang-Yach-JamesAuthor: Garang Yach James
South Sudanese Political and security analyst and PhD Student, University of Juba, South Sudan

 

Summary

This article discusses key requisite benchmarks for the success of first democratic elections towards the end of the Transitional Period in 2023. The author argues that the conduct of credible democratic elections is conditional on certain processes being successfully completed. The article posits that in lieu of faithful implementation of these processes, the conduct of first national elections in South Sudan is likely to birth mock democracy and would be a recipe for recycling of conflict. The article finally gives three recommendations as a path out of the series of transitional governments.

Requisite benchmarks for democratic elections in South Sudan

Since independence, South Sudan has never conducted general elections in its capacity as a sovereign State. Instead, the country has experienced multiple communal conflicts and civil wars which threatened prospects for democratic elections. In attempts to establish peace and security, the two agreements namely; ARCSS and R-ARCSS  expected to transition the post-conflict state to democracy have been signed but none of the said agreements has transitioned the state to secure and peaceful South Sudan. To do this, the Revitalised Transitional Government of Nation Unity( RTGoNU) stands a chance of leading a successful transition provided that the following necessary benchmarks are achieved.

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What type of federalism should South Sudan adopt and why?

Joseph-Geng-AkechAuthor: Joseph Geng Akech
South Sudanese human rights lawyer and PhD candidate, University of Pretoria, South Africa

 

Summary

This article spotlights existing debates under the on-going constitutional design process on the type of federalism South Sudan should adopt. It is a debate with varying and potentially divisive perspectives. Dominant proposals in these debates are territorial and ethnic federalism. I join this debate with an open mind, and I therefore try to refrain from taking sides. This article thus tries to bring to fore, the underlying arguments in both perspectives and makes three recommendations to break the impasse. The first option is to conduct a referendum for the public to decide while the second calls for a scientific comparative study on performances of both territorial and ethnic federalism. The third calls for open and transparent public debates on the type of federalism South Sudan should adopt.

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Did the recently concluded South Sudan’s fifth Governors’ forum address the elephants in the room?

Joseph-Geng-AkechAuthor: Joseph Geng Akech
South Sudanese human rights lawyer and PhD candidate, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Garang-Yach-JamesAuthor: Garang Yach James
South Sudanese Political and security analyst and PhD Student, University of Juba, South Sudan

 

Summary

The government of the Republic of South Sudan recently organised a week-long conference of its 10 State Governors and Chief Administrators representing the three Administrative Areas. The aim was to discuss the role of States and local governments in the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). After a week of intense deliberations, the Forum released resolutions and recommendations on various aspects of peace, governance, social services and economic reforms. This paper critiques the Forum’s outcome arguing that the Forum failed to address the ‘elephants in the room’. For instance, the resolutions and recommendations did not articulate and in some instances, failed to mention, as priorities, aspects of the transitional security arrangements, transitional justice, permanent constitution building, humanitarian assistance and the return of internally displaced people and refugees as well as institutional and law reforms.

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The transitional national legislature is to be transformed into a constituent assembly to adopt the ‘permanent’ constitution of South Sudan, but what does this mean?

Joseph-Geng-AkechAuthor: Joseph Geng Akech
South Sudanese human rights lawyer and LLD candidate, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Introduction

The Republic of South Sudan embarked on its ‘permanent’ constitution building process which is a critical part of the peace process. The Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) puts forward mechanisms and institutions for achieving such ambition. These institutions include the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC),[1] National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC), Preparatory Sub-Committee, National Constitutional Conference (NCC) and the reconstituted transitional national legislature (Council of States and Transitional National Legislative Assembly) acting as a constituent assembly. The R-ARCSS establishes the above institutions with varying powers and degree of influence on the constitution building process.

This article focuses on the role of the reconstituted national legislature – bicameral chambers composed of Council of States and Transitional National Legislative Assembly. According to the R-ARCSS, these two houses of parliament are to be transformed into a Constituent Assembly to adopt, in a joint session, the Draft Constitutional Text passed by the National Constitutional Conference.[2]

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