Reference : The Democratic and Human Rights Transition in Sub-Saharan States since the End of the...
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Law, criminology & political science : Political science, public administration & international relations
The Democratic and Human Rights Transition in Sub-Saharan States since the End of the Cold War and the European Union’s Influence
Miji, Ernest Ayeah mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
University of Luxembourg, ​Belval, ​​Luxembourg
Docteur en Sciences Politiques
Sosoe, Lukas mailto
Poirier, Philippe mailto
Högenauer, Anna-Lena mailto
Tedom, Alain Fogue mailto
Miscoiu, Sergiu mailto
[en] Democratic transition ; nfluence ; Factors of Influence ; France-Africa Relations
[en] The democratic wind that first blew across the Eastern European states after the collapse of the Berlin Wall later blew across the sub-Saharan region. Authoritarian and one-party regimes were challenged across the continent. While the democratic transitions in the Eastern European states have almost been consolidated, due largely to the huge EU’s impetus or influence, the transition in the sub-Saharan states has been slow, chaotic, sporadic, violent, and unstable and in some cases, initial democratic gains have been lost. The EU has not remained indifferent to these lapses in democracy, but has in some cases follow realpolitik and in some cases, its foreign policy has gone head-to-head with some of its powerful member states, especially France. The role of France in this sub-region has been paid careful attention and results from democracy indexes show most of the former French colonies lag behind. France indeed, now uses the EU to foster its agenda in the sub-Saharan region. EU’s sanctions on Laurent Gbagbo after the disputed presidential elections of 2010 in Ivory Coast show how France can use the EU to get rid of leaders who refuse to toe the French line. The failure of the EU to speak with one voice has been a real setback to its policy of democracy and human rights promotion. French support of rigged elections in some of its ex-colonies, condemned by the EU has only gone a long way to weaken the EU’s foreign policy on democracy and human rights.
This study focuses on the democratic and human rights transition currently going on in the sub-Saharan region of Africa beginning from the end of the Cold War in the 1990s. The study also pays attention to the EU’s influence, if any on the process. In order to get a good grasp of the present transition, a brief analysis on colonialism before independence and the period of the Cold War after independence have been done.
Cameroon in this study has been used as a case-study of the political dynamics that occur in the transition of some of these states to democracy. To further throw light on these political dynamics, some countries across the various sub-regions of the sub-Saharan region have been analysed. However, only Cameroon did receive empirical studies. The case study and analyses show the democratic transition has or witnesses influence from internal actors and international actors. Some analysts claim internal pressure accounts most for the democratic transion while others say it is international pressure, but the majorty claims it is both.
The EU’s influence has been tested in two specific cases of sanctions: Zimbabwe and Nigeria, using hypotheses for political influence. Other cases of EU’s influence are analysed from EU sanctions on Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Guinea-Bissau. Influence in these cases has not been interpreted as a transition to an ideal form of democracy, but the compliance of these states to specific EU stated preferences.
Contrary to what most political commentators erroneously refer to an African democracy, this study shows that democracy in this region is not uniform and that it varies from sub-region to sub-region with colonial heritage showing different tendencies. In addition, oil-producing and mineral-rich states lag behind in the democratic process and have long-serving leaders of whom most are corrupt.
The study has relied heavily on the Freedom House and Mo Ibrahim indexes of measuring democracy. They both provided similar results, thereby giving more credibility to the analyses. This study concludes that the EU has not been a major influencer of the democratic process in the sub-Saharan region, due mostly to its internal system and can best be termed as a democracy promoter. Various factors that favour and detract the EU foreign policy on human rights and democratization in Africa have been analysed.
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