n Journal of African Elections - The tension between militarisation and democratisation in West Africa : a comparative analysis of Niger and Guinea

Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



While there has been some progress in West Africa towards shedding the dark history of militarism that spanned the 1960s-1980s and embracing democratisation, militarism still lingers, remaining a ghost that has haunted the democracy project that began in the region in the 1990s. Thus, West Africa has faced enormous challenges in its quest for democratisation. One of the biggest of these has been the militarisation of politics and of society at large. This problem persists even today, after encouraging progress towards democratisation in the past two decades. Two countries in the region that epitomise this recurring tension between militarisation and democratisation are undoubtedly Niger and Guinea. Both of them manifest the consequences of a governance deficit and the problems of democratic transition in which the military continues to play a dominant role. This chapter examines critically the tension between militarisation and democratisation in West Africa in general, with specific focus on Niger and Guinea. In an attempt to provide a comparative analysis of the two cases the chapter assesses progress made, highlights existing challenges and draws lessons that might be relevant for other African countries.

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