Progress and Retreat in Africa: Legislatures on the Rise?

Issue Date April 2008
Volume 19
Issue 2
Page Numbers 124-137
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Although legislative performance is uneven across the African continent, the legislature is emerging as a “player” in some countries. It has begun to initiate and modify laws to a degree never seen during the era of neopatrimonial rule or even in the early years after the return of multiparty politics. And in some countries (Kenya, Malawi, and Nigeria), though not in others (Namibia and Uganda), it has blocked presidents from changing the constitution to repeal limits on presidential terms. In short, legislatures in Africa are beginning to matter. That said, there is no uniformity across Africa and we are only beginning to understand and explain the variations.

About the Author

Joel D. Barkan is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Iowa and nonresident senior associate with the Africa program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is the author of the 2011 CSIS report “Kenya: Assessing Risks to Stability.”

View all work by Joel D. Barkan