Electoral violence in a number of sub-Sahara countries has prompted some Africa watchers to question whether the United States and other Western countries should be prioritizing “free, fair and credible” elections when the process so often polarizes a country rather than unifying it around democratic institutions and practices. Nevertheless, I believe the United States and other westerners should continue to do what they can to support Africans working to build free, fair, and peaceful democracies, not least because Africans themselves want elections, and there are no good alternatives.
Asch Harwood and I co-authored a piece published today by the CFR Civil Society, Democracy, and Markets program in which we lay out why we should continue to support African democracy despite the electoral potential for polarization.
I also did a Youtube video (posted above), where I make the same argument, as well as a short discussion about the importance of arms control in Africa.
H/T – Asch Harwood