APN-CDD Conference on “Crises of Democracy in West Africa” in Abuja, Nigeria
The African Peacebuilding Network (APN), in conjunction with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), held a two-day planning meeting on “The Crises of Democracy in West Africa: Preventing Unconstitutional Change of Government—the Role for State and Non-state Actors.” The meeting was accompanied by an evening symposium that focused on “The Perspectives of 2015 Elections in West Africa: Toward State Integration or Disintegration?” Both events took place in Abuja, Nigeria, December 10–11, 2013.
In light of the expected 2015 presidential elections in a number of West African countries, the meeting and symposium examined the volatility in these countries’ political landscapes, including factors such as friction between opposition parties and the government, ethnicity, civil war, weak democratic institutions and economies, election violence, abuse of incumbency powers, and endemic corruption.
At the meeting, CDD senior fellow Jibrin Ibrahim cautioned against allowing the push for reforms to become a movement for replacing democratic institutions: “How do we join . . . people in making a critique of the deficits of democracy, but in a way to correct these challenges rather than saying there needs to be a new system altogether?”
During the symposium, panelists considered the need for stronger civil societies in West African countries facing crises of democracy. As one panelist put it, “It’s not just about the institutions, but also the behavior of the citizens and their role in these institutions.”
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