A critical evaluation of Nic Cheeseman’s book Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failures, and the Struggle for Political Reform. Cheeseman’s work provides inclusive historical analysis of democracy in Africa and elaborates why the continent’s democratic experiments have so often failed, and how they could succeed as well. The review gives a concise summary of the book content, provides critical assessment of the main arguments and finally suggests that Democracy in Africa is a go-read comprehensive detail for both those seeking an introduction to the subject as well as those who have prior knowledge.

Abdinor Hassan Dahir 12 December 2018

The question of why democracy in Africa failed or succeeded has long been debated in academia. Nic Cheeseman, in his book, Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failures, and the Struggle for Political Reform has written a fascinating account on the extent African states have moved toward, and away from democracy. Containing six chapters together with introduction and conclusion, the book provides a great in depth analysis of the history of democracy in Africa.

The book does not adopt a specific definition of democracy, rather it consistently refers to effective rule of law, state monopoly of violence and freedom of expression as its primary ingredients. Unless these requirements are satisfied, African leaders, worrying about the economic and political conundrum of an election defeat, will continue retaining power at any cost.

Download the Book Review