This article examines the history of Somalis in Kenya. It argues that the precarious citizenship status of Kenyan Somalis is rooted in the institutionalization of state power in Kenya and the ways in which social relations have mediated that power. It focuses on a screening exercise organized by the Kenyan government in 1989 to differentiate citizens from non-citizens. Somalis deemed non-citizens were detained and deported while those declared citizens were granted pink 'certificates of verification'. The exercise was framed as a response to disorder and insecurity in northern Kenya — problems blamed on the increased presence of 'aliens' from Somalia. The 1989 screening is a useful lens for understanding how the institutions of the Kenyan state have negotiated and produced citizenship. First, the screening shows how citizenship is an arena for both inter- and intra-ethnic competition; the way specific social relations are embedded within the structures of the state affects the distribution of rights and resources among different groups of citizens. Second, the organization of the screening reveals that public debates about citizenship in Kenya have not just been about drawing lines between insiders and outsiders, but about which insiders belong to which territorial spaces.
The debate over land law reform in Africa has been framed as a referendum on the market - that is, as a debate pitting advocates of the growth-promoting individualization of property rights against those who call for protecting the livelihoods and subsistence rights of small farmers. This article argues that the prospect of land law reform also raises a complex bundle of constitutional issues. In many African countries, debates over land law reform are turning into referenda on the nature of citizenship, political authority, and the future of the liberal nation state itself. The article describes alternative land reform scenarios that are currently under debate, and identifies the constitutional implications of each. The practical salience of the issues is illustrated through reference to land reform politics in Côte d'Ivoire, Uganda, South Africa, and Tanzania.
Appointment of traditional authorities with an international migrant background has become an important trend in Ghana. Such ' return chiefs' are expected to bring development and modernization, but -as former international migrants -they are also seen as potentially estranged from local customs and realities. As presumed guardians of tradition, they are thus placed in a situation that poses a range of dilemmas of legitimacy and public authority. The article argues that return chiefs are in an ambivalent position between the domains of tradition and modernity and that they endeavour to overcome this dilemma through emphasizing their foundation in tradition as well as by using their professional and international experience to spur local development and modernize the chieftaincy institution. Return chiefs thus simultaneously practise and invoke the traditional and the modern. In this way, the transformation of chieftaincy is embedded in both local and global contexts. Return chiefs go beyond local customs to bring development and innovation to their areas, mobilizing international networks, touring European and North American countries, and collaborating with international development agencies, NGOs, and migrants. Their practices are thus at once local and global, and the article calls for inclusion of both perspectives in contemporary chieftaincy studies.
Senegal's 2012 presidential and legislative elections reaffirmed the country's longstanding reputation as one of Africa's most stable democracies. The elections also represented a critical juncture for the country's party system, demonstrated by the use of new campaign techniques as well as the gradual exit from the political scene of an older generation of elites. At the same time, this article argues, the elections revealed continuing weaknesses within the party system, including low levels of institutionalization and the limited ability of the opposition to mobilize key constituencies, such as underemployed urban youth. These trends are demonstrated through disaggregated election data that show a high degree of electoral volatility and party de-alignment as well as low levels of voter turnout. Thus, while Senegal has now achieved the two rounds of party turnover often deemed to be an important indicator of democratic consolidation, the elections also revealed that a vibrant, pluralistic party system can nonetheless fail to engage citizens over time.
This article gathers together representations of whiteness constructed by young black Cameroonians. It contributes to arguments about white identity by arguing that the meaning of whiteness is, in part, made by Africans. It assembles descriptions of white people and of the whiteman kontri (the West) that are often contradictory and that include both positive and negative judgements. In this respect these ideas reflect both Cameroonian politics and Cameroonian identity. The young Cameroonians whose ideas we were interested in were simultaneously drawn to, and exasperated by, a Western vision of modernity. They were despairing of the existing Cameroonian social and political structure and looked beyond national contexts for their dreams. But they were equally sceptical about the justice of the global economic context and articulated their doubts in terms of antagonism towards whites and defence of African identity. We contribute to debates about Occidentalism by suggesting that this is a concept that should be used with caution, since by suggesting an equivalent to 'Orientalism' it suggests equality and endorses an essentialized notion of whiteness and blackness, which can undermine attempts to understand the history of relations between Africa and the West.
Foreign donors expended over $23 million on micro-managing the December 1996 Ghanaian elections in an attempt to ensure that the process was technically 'free and fair'. Owing partly to this expenditure and partly to the efficiency and impartiality of the Electoral Commission, the conduct of the elections was in fact remarkably technically correct. The losing opposition parties still complained, however, that President Rawlings and his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), exploited the advantages of incumbency to a degree that rendered the result 'free but not really fair'. The article argues that such very limited acceptance of election results, however justified or unjustified, is almost bound to obtain in economically underdeveloped African societies where, partly for structural and partly for cultural reason, politics continues to be very much a zero-sum game characterized by high levels of distrust. This in turn suggests limits to the likely consolidation of multi-party democracy. The article also analyses the reasons for the electoral victory of Rawlings and the NDC, arguing that it hinged on the rural population's trust in Rawlings' ability to provide rural development and political stability.
Public opinion suggests that political corruption is entrenched in South Africa. Comparative experience does not indicate that the historical South African political environment was especially likely to nurture a venal bureaucracy; as a fairly industrialized and extremely coercive state the apartheid order may have been less susceptible to many of the forms of political corruption analysts have associated with other post-colonial developing countries. Democratization has made government less secret, inhibiting corruption in certain domains but through extending government's activities opening up possibilities for abuse in others. Today's authorities argue that the present extent of corruption is largely inherited and indeed certain government departments, notably those concerned with security and the homelands, as well as the autonomous homeland administrations themselves, had a history of routine official misbehaviour. After describing the distribution and nature of corruption in South African public administration this article concludes that a substantial proportion of modern corruption occurs in regional administrations and certainly embodies a legacy from the homeland civil services. A major source of financial misappropriation in the old central government, secret defence procurement, no longer exists but corruption is stimulated by new official practices and fresh demands imposed upon the bureaucracy including discriminatory tendering, political solidarity, and the expansion of citizen entitlements. Though much contemporary corruption is inherited from the past, the simultaneous democratization and restructuring of the South African state makes it very vulnerable to new forms of abuse in different locations.
South Sudan obtained independence in July 2011 as a kleptocracy — a militarized, corrupt neo-patrimonial system of governance. By the time of independence, the South Sudanese "political marketplace" was so expensive that the country's comparatively copious revenue was consumed by the military-political patronage system, with almost nothing left for public services, development or institution building. The efforts of national technocrats and foreign donors produced bubbles of institutional integrity but the system as a whole was entirely resistant to reform. The January 2012 shutdown of oil production bankrupted the system. Even an experienced and talented political business manager would have struggled, and President Salva Kiir did not display the required skills. No sooner had shots been fired than the compact holding the SPLA together fell apart and civil war ensued. Drawing upon long-term observation of elite politics in South Sudan, this article explains both the roots of kleptocratic government and its dire consequences.