Why Mauritius is the most democratic country in Africa

Ismail Akwei February 16, 2018
Mauritian parliament -- Photo: Defi Media

Africa is home to a lot of modern-day dictators who are arguably practising democracy yet rig elections, manipulate the constitution to stay in power, stifle the media and use the security services to suppress dissent through violent reprisals.

Some of these countries include the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon, Sudan, Chad and Uganda etc.

A new wave of democracy swept through Zimbabwe, Gambia, Tunisia and Angola after the ousting of their leaders to make way for a new dispensation.

According to the latest edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual Democracy Index which provides a view of the state of democracy worldwide, there are only 19 fully democratic countries in the world and only one is from Africa.

Mauritius is the only African country that is practicing a full democracy as at 2017 and the other 18 are mainly from Europe excluding the United States which is in a democratic crisis spearheaded by Donald Trump.

The research conducted in 2017 covered 167 countries and took into account electoral procedures, civil liberties, political participation and threat to free speech. 7 African countries were classified under flawed democracies, 13 under hybrid and 23 under authoritarian regimes.

The report noted that improvements in political participation and frequency of elections were affected by crackdowns on civil liberties, media suppression and corruption perception.

Mauritius has had regular elections since it achieved its Republic status in 1992, 24 years after its independence in 1968. They observe a parliamentary democracy and the president and vice president are elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms. The Prime Minister is appointed by the president and is responsible to the National Assembly. He enjoys significant power whereas the President has a mostly ceremonial role.

The president of Mauritius is Ameenah Gurib, one of the few female presidents in Africa. The prime minister is Pravind Jugnauth.

Below are the African countries cited in the report and their regime type.

  1. Mauritius – Full democracy
  2. Cape Verde – Flawed democracy
  3. Botswana – Flawed democracy
  4. South Africa – Flawed democracy
  5. Ghana – Flawed democracy
  6. Lesotho – Flawed democracy
  7. Namibia – Flawed democracy
  8. Senegal – Flawed democracy
  9. Zambia – Hybrid regime
  10. Tanzania – Hybrid regime
  11. Mali – Hybrid regime
  12. Benin – Hybrid regime
  13. Malawi – Hybrid regime
  14. Kenya – Hybrid regime
  15. Liberia – Hybrid regime

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: June 19, 2018


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