Popular protest and accountability

Authored by: Lisa Mueller

Routledge Handbook of Democratization in Africa

Print publication date:  July  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138081246
eBook ISBN: 9781315112978
Adobe ISBN:


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Can popular protest substitute for institutional checks on executive power in sub-Saharan Africa? This chapter proposes a cautiously optimistic answer. Africa is undergoing a renaissance of popular mobilization. Many protesters are not motivated first and foremost by democracy, but their actions can still be a source of democratic accountability. Whether protests spur liberal reforms or authoritarian crackdowns may depend on the willingness of Western policymakers to reconsider their penchant for working with NGOs and state agents, as opposed to “political society.”

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