Past event

Members

‘Third-term-itis’ and the Crisis of Authoritarianism Across Africa

Chatham House, London

Participants

Professor Robert I. Rotberg, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Author, On Governance

Chair: Dr Omar McDoom, Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science

Overview

As democratizing trends have swept across sub-Saharan Africa in recent decades, leaders who maintain political power beyond their mandates are increasingly conspicuous. But increasing popular access to digitised information and social media have provided civil society with new ways of reacting to rulers who attempt to try to keep control beyond constitutionally mandated term limits.

Professor Robert Rotberg has studied governance, leadership and democracy in sub-Saharan Africa for over fifty years and argues that, although societal changes are making authoritarian rule more difficult to institute, chronic ‘third-term-itis’ continues to impinge on the transition to real democracy in numerous African states. Rotberg will highlight the factors that he believes have been critical in preventing many countries from achieving the peaceful, democratic transfer of power seen elsewhere on the continent. He will also present his thoughts on how a more vocal, visceral demand for democracy from a growing African middle class offers hope for an end to authoritarian despotism.