Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 January 2021
There is a complex set of political systems in Africa. While some countries democratized, particularly in the 1990s, others are run by authoritarian leaders. Some of the former have made efforts to strengthen their democracies whereas others have started to dismantle them. To understand these dynamics, this chapter scrutinizes the nature of the state, political orders, and democratization (attempts). It discusses the introduction of term limits (and their later abolishment) and strategies of leaders to stay in power: neopatrimonialism, violence and intimidation, electoral manipulation, as well as culture. There is a variety of actors operating in these systems besides the president, including the government, the public administration, parliamentarians, the military, judges, traditional leaders, and non-governmental organizations, all being discussed in this chapter.