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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Citizens and Foreigners: Democratization and the Politics of Exclusion in Africa
Author:Whitaker, Beth E.
Periodical:African Studies Review
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Ivory Coast - Côte d'Ivoire
Subjects:political opposition
political conflicts
Politics and Government
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/african_studies_review/v048/48.1whitaker.pdf
Abstract:In the context of political liberalization, many African leaders have adopted the rhetoric of democracy while at the same time devising ways to limit political competition. This paper focuses on one such strategy: the effort to disqualify or discredit political opponents based on challenges to their citizenship. In recent years, several African leaders have initiated court cases and produced evidence to question the right of opposition candidates and other critics to participate in the political process. By examining specific examples in Côte d'Ivoire, Zambia and elsewhere, the article explores the implications of this strategy. While citizenship rights are clearly important in any democracy, their explicit manipulation for the ruling party's political purposes is a risky approach that threatens to slow or even reverse the process of democratization. In the end, a tactic initially designed to exclude specific individuals from the political process has the potential of fueling broader xenophobic sentiments and legitimizing exclusionary nation-building strategies. At best, the resulting widening of social cleavages reduces the likelihood of democratic consolidation. At worst, it plants the seeds for future political conflict and possibly even war. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]