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Event: The State of Democracy in Africa … and Kenya 24 August, Nairobi

August 15, 2016

The State of Democracy in Africa … and Kenya

Discussion and Book Launch

Dr. Nic Cheeseman, Oxford University
Discussant – Dr. Godwin Murunga, University of Nairobi

Date:    24 August 2016
Time:    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Venue:  BIEA Seminar RoomLaikipia RoadKileleshwa Nairobi

Dr Nic Cheeseman will talk about the findings of his recent book, Democracy in Africa, and its implications for the prospects democracy in Africa and, more specifically, in Kenya. This book provides the first comprehensive overview of the history of democracy in Africa and explains why the continent’s democratic experiments have so often failed and how they could succeed. In it, Dr Cheeseman grapples with some of the most important questions facing Africa and democracy today, including whether international actors should try and promote democracy abroad, how to design political systems that manage ethnic diversity, and why democratic governments often make bad policy decisions. Beginning in the colonial period with the introduction of multi-party elections and ending in 2013 with the collapse of democracy in Mali and South Sudan, the book describes the rise of authoritarian states in the 1970s; the attempts of trade unions and some religious groups to check the abuse of power in the 1980s; the remarkable return of multiparty politics in the 1990s; and finally, the tragic tendency for elections to exacerbate corruption and violence. Copies of the book will be on sale at the event at a discounted rate.

Dr. Nic Cheeseman’s Bio
Dr. Nic Cheeseman ( is Associate Professor of African Politics at Oxford University, the Founding Editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of African Politics, and a former editor of the journal African Affairs. He is also the co-editor of the collections Our Turn to Eat: Politics in Kenya Since 1950 (2010) and The Handbook of African Politics (2013). Dr Cheeseman also runs the popular website, is a columnist for Kenya’s Sunday Nation newspaper and is an advisor to, and writer for, Kofi Annan’s African Progress Panel.

Dr. Godwin Murunga’s Bio
Dr. Godwin Murunga is the former director of the African Leadership Centre in Nairobi, a Centre launched in Nairobi in 2010 as a joint initiative of King’s College London and university of Nairobi. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi. He is a former Executive Committee Member of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) which is based in Dakar, Senegal. His recent publication is a book jointly edited with Anders Sjögren and Duncan Okello titled Kenya: The Struggle for a New Constitutional Order published by Zed Books in Association with Nordic Africa Institute (2014). He is currently co-editor of the South African based Journal of Contemporary African Studies. Dr Murunga is a recipient of several research grants from the Ford Foundation, Heinrich Böll Foundation and CODESRIA. He was a visiting research fellow at the African Studies Centre of Oxford University in 2008 and at the Nordic Africa Institutes African Guest Researchers Fellowship in 2009. Dr. Murunga sits on the Board of Directors of the Kenya Human Rights Commission and was a co-opted Member of Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) Research Training and Capacity Development Committee from 2012-2014.