Voices and Votes: Listen to Dan Banik interview Boniface Dulani

Boniface Dulani
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Hear Dan Banik interview the brilliant Boniface Dulani on his fantastic In Pursuit of Development podcast.

The landscape of democracy in Africa is characterized by a dynamic interplay between achievements and obstacles, particularly as the continent approaches a pivotal year with numerous elections scheduled in 2024. Countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, and Senegal are preparing for electoral contests, underscoring a persistent belief in the electoral system as a legitimate means to select leaders and representatives. Despite this faith in democracy, there is widespread disenchantment with the efficacy and fairness of the electoral process, highlighted by incidents of voter fraud and judicial rulings overturning elections.

Concerns about democracy also extend to the debate on presidential term limits and the apparent unwillingness of some incumbents to vacate office. Insights from Afrobarometer surveys reveal the African public’s priorities and concerns, emphasizing issues like unemployment, economic stewardship, and healthcare. These survey findings illustrate a clear demand for democratic governance amidst dissatisfaction with how democracy currently operates, particularly in relation to corruption. Yet, amidst these challenges, there exists a sense of optimism about the future of democracy in Africa. This optimism is fueled by the continent’s resilient civil society, the transformative potential of its young population, and examples of successful democratic transitions, suggesting a pathway towards more effective and representative governance.

Boniface Dulani (@bonidulani) is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Malawi. He is also the Director of Surveys for the Afrobarometer, a pan African network of researchers who conduct surveys on governance, economy, and livelihoods.

Dan Banik (@danbanik) is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Oslo SDG Initiative at the Center for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo.

Resources

  •  Africans want more democracy, but their leaders still aren’t listening (Afrobarometer)

  •  Amid rising corruption, most Africans say they risk retaliation if they speak up (Afrobarometer)

Key highlights

  •  Introduction – 00:24

  •  Democratic gains and reversals on the African continent – 04:30

  •  Reduction in political freedoms in exchange for development – 11:00

  •  The most important problems in 39 countries – 21:25

  •  Pervasive corruption and challenges in reporting corruption across various institutions – 40:15

  •  What we can expect from the coming round of elections in Africa – 52:10

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