Democracy and Despots: The state of government in Black Africa : PEACEFUL CHANGES OF GOVERNMENT:

BENIN: Riots inspired by economic collapse forced dictator Mathieu Kerekou to call elections. He was defeated in the March, 1991, ballot.

CAPE VERDE: Free legislative and presidential elections earlier this year installed a new government and ended 15 years of one-party rule in this former Portuguese island colony.

MAURITIUS: Multi-party democracy since independence from Britain in 1968.

SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE: The former Portuguese island stronghold held free elections this year that ended one-party rule.


(opposition parties legal, but have not won the presidency or legislative control):

BOTSWANA: Democratic since independence from Britain in 1966. More than eight opposition parties, but all elections have been won by the Botswana Democratic Party.

GAMBIA: Democratic since independence in 1965. Ruled since then by President Sir Dawda Jawara.

MADAGASCAR: For the past month as many as 200,000 people have protested daily demanding replacement of a socialist constitution and an end to the 16-year rule of President Didier Ratsiraka.

SENEGAL: Opposition parties legal since independence (1960), but all elections have been won by the ruling Parti Socialist (PS) and its predecessors. Last presidential election, in 1988, marred by charges of fraud, but competition among 16 opposition parties may make victory difficult.

ZIMBABWE: Two leading revolutionary political parties merged in 1989 behind leadership of President Robert Mugabe, but his plan to outlaw all opposition parties was recently blocked.


ETHIOPIA: Marxist strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam fled before a rebel advance May 21 after 14 years of rule. A national conference in July formed a provisional government to organize multi-party elections expected in two years.

GABON: President Omar Bongo was forced to hold the first multi-party elections in 22 years last October, winning a bare majority in the national assembly.

IVORY COAST: President Felix Houphouet-Boigny called the country's first multi-party elections last November. The aging Houphouet-Boigny and his party won, but opponents say voting was rigged.

MOZAMBIQUE: After 15 years of civil war against insurgents backed by Rhodesia and South Africa, the government has officially dropped ideological Marxism and established a new constitution ending one-party rule. Several new parties heading toward registration, but the war persists.

NIGERIA: The government of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida has scheduled civilian elections for 1992 between two parties whose establishment and platforms were dictated by the government. Regime seems serious about transition to civilian rule, however.

ZAMBIA: President Kenneth D. Kaunda legalized opposition parties in December, ending 17 years of one-party rule. Twelve opposition parties have registered for multi-party voting scheduled before October.


ANGOLA: After 16 years of civil war between the once-Marxist government and U.S.-backed rebels, peace accords were signed May 31 and multi-party elections are scheduled for fall 1992.

CHAD: President Idriss Deby has promised to hand over power to a democratically elected government by August, 1993. Deby led a Libya-backed invasion that in December ousted Hissen Habre, who resisted demands for democracy.

COMORO ISLANDS: European mercenaries put Ahmed Abdallah in power in 1978, then assassinated him in 1989. France later helped organize multi-party elections won in March, 1990, by Said Mohamed Djohar, but the opposition has charged fraud.

CONGO: A marathon national conference stripped corrupt President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of most powers in June, pledging legislative and presidential elections before June, 1992.

GUINEA-BISSAU: Parliament voted in May to end one-party rule that had been in place since independence in 1974. Elections scheduled before 1993.

MALI: Bloody strikes and protests provoked military officers to overthrow Gen. Moussa Traore on March 29. They are sharing power with civilians until a new constitution can be drafted.

NAMIBIA: After 23 years of war between South African rulers and black nationalist guerrillas, multi-party elections were held in 1989.

NIGER: Strikes in December forced Gen. Ali Seibou to promise Niger its first democratic government. A national conference to choose an interim government opened July 29 after much delay.

TOGO: Under tremendous pressure from public unrest, Gen. Gnassingbe Eyadema legalized political parties earlier this year.


BURKINA FASO: President Blaise Compaore's government is holding a national forum, but most opposition parties are boycotting it, charging the military-led government is trying to hijack promised democracy.

CAMEROON: Political opposition was legalized last year, ending a 19-year ban, and President Paul Biya has made vague promises to call early legislative elections. He refuses to accede to demands he resign.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Opposition parties legalized July 6 after 31 years of single-party rule. However, President Gen. Andre Kolingba refuses to hold a national conference to choose a transitional government.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA: In May, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's ruling Democratic Party voted for a multi-party constitution to end 12 years of one-party rule. But they set no timetable.

GHANA: Flight Lt. Jerry J. Rawlings, considered one of Africa's more scrupulous leaders, promised a return to constitutional rule in December, but gave no timetable.

GUINEA: Col. Lansana Conte has promised to return power to civilians, but only after a five-year rule by a council to be chosen by soldiers. Critics say he is only pretending to bow to democracy demands.

MAURITANIA: Black opposition parties boycotted a July 12 constitutional referendum. The Arab-dominated military government of Col. Sid Ahmed Ould Taya says it will bring democracy. Opponents say it is a sham.

SIERRA LEONE: Legislators voted in July to end 13 years of one-party rule. More than 30 amendments made to the draft constitution prompted charges the government is trying to ensure its supremacy in the new order.

UGANDA: Rebel leader Yoweri Museveni took power in 1986 and formed a broad-based government with four political parties. But Museveni has put off for five years elections once scheduled for January, 1990.

ZAIRE: President Mobutu Sese Seko promised last year to install a multi-party democracy by May. He has stalled since then, prompting charges he does not plan to surrender power after 26 years of inept rule.


BURUNDI: President Pierre Buyoya's Union for National Progress remains the sole political party.

DJIBOUTI: One-party state since independence from France in 1977.

KENYA: With President Daniel Arap Moi pledging to hunt down multi-party advocates "like rats," his Kenya African National Union has been the only legal party since 1982. Agitation for a broader system is growing, however.

MALAWI: President for Life Hastings Kamuzu Banda heads the only legal party, the Malawi Congress Party, and has violently cut down all opposition.

RWANDA: The sole political party remains President Juvenal Habyarimana's National Revolutionary Movement for Development.

SEYCHELLES: Albert Rene became president after a 1978 coup and rules the islands as a one-party socialist state.

SUDAN: A nominally democratic government was overthrown by Islamic fundamentalists in 1989 under Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, who then banned all opposition groups.

TANZANIA: The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Revolutionary Party) holds a legal monopoly on power; its founder and leader, Julius K. Nyerere, remains opposed to substantive liberalization.


LIBERIA: Rebels last summer tortured to death President Samuel K. Doe, ending his 10 years of buffoonish and murderous rule. Elections are scheduled in October under West African supervision, but rebel leader Charles Taylor refuses to disarm and security in the countryside is virtually nonexistent.

SOMALIA: President Mohamed Siad Barre fled this year as rebels stormed the capital of Mogadishu, but no legitimate government authority has succeeded in restoring order.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World