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A warning from Kenya

Kenya's democratic failure is a bad omen. Expect similarly contested elections in the rest of Africa

By David Anderson   February 2008

When Kenya lurched into political crisis on 30th December, optimism over Africa’s democratic future took a heavy dent. African states have made considerable progress along the path back to plural politics over the last two decades, but Kenya’s troubles remind us that there is still a very long way to go, and that the rockiest part of the journey may yet lie ahead.

Elections have become the acid test of Africa’s democracy. With each poll, an army of international observers sweeps in to urge the democratic wave along. When they declare elections to be “free and fair,” observers give legitimacy…

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