B. Modern African Governments

             Flag of the Republic of South Africa.     

     South Africa’s government transitioned peacefully, allowing them to setup a good democracy.  South Africa is a parliamentary federal democracy.  Their leader is the President, and he is elected and runs office similarly to the United Kingdom’s prime minister.  The President is elected by the National Assembly.  The parliament is bicameral: it’s divided into two parts, the National Assembly and the Council of Provinces.  Their members are elected to 5 year terms.  South Africa has universal suffrage at 18 years of age.  Citizens vote for representatives in parliament.  They have freedom of speech and media. Their citizens are allowed to criticize government.

                    Flag of the Republic of Kenya.

     Kenya had a violent transition to their democracy, due in part to the Mau Mau revolt.  Kenya’s democracy is a presidential unitary democracy.  They have both a president and a prime minister.  The government is unicameral, and has a national assembly called the Bunge.  Members of the Bunge are elected for 5 yr. terms.  Kenya has universal suffrage at 18 years of age. Citizens vote for president and other representatives.  They can criticize government or its leaders in a limited amount.

                      Flag of the Republic of Sudan.

     Sudan has an autocratic dictatorship; they have one leader telling everybody what to do.  This is the result of chaos and a power vacuum. The country is unitary, and their leader masks himself as a president.  Their government is bicameral, but they are appointed, not elected, by the president.  They have universal suffrage at 17 years of age.  Sudan does not have fair elections. The last one was believed to be rigged. Citizens can’t criticize government or its leaders. No freedom of speech or press. They have limited personal freedoms.

     South Africa, Kenya, and Sudan are obviously different in relation to eachother with regards to personal freedoms. Civil rights in these countries vary: some are unrestrained, some are slightly suppressed, and still others are completely hawk-eyed by the government. The type of government has affected civil rights in each country.


      Since South Africa had a peaceful transition, they were able to set up a stable government, and get up a democracy.  People there are happy and enjoy many freedoms and rights maintained by the fair government, such as the right to vote.  Kenya had a violent transition.  When they put the current leader out of power, they had trouble setting up a democracy, as there was no leader to help set up the government.  As a result, they enjoy some of the freedoms South Africans have, but the government is suppressive of freedom of speech (particularly criticization of the government).  A peaceful transition helps because those involved can talk through the process in an organized matter instead of rushing to set up a stable government.  Finally, there’s Sudan.  Sudan had a violent transition and a power vacuum was created.  Somebody came up and told them he would lead, and they followed.  The leader is now corrupt and virtually untouchable in terms of politics.  They have an unstable government, as the leader is too busy keeping himself in power and plotting against his enemies. This leads to uber suppression of various civil rights.  People don't have freedom of speech or the right to criticize the government: you can get arrested for saying something like "The government is doing a bad job".  The government essentially controls the media.  Their voting rights are worthless, as most elections appear to be rigged anyways. 


    This difference in leadership between the three countries has determined their development and civil rights; South Africa has a good, stable government, and a good GDP with a stable economy, with severyal personal freedoms and priviledges.  Kenya is developing, but it’s slower due to the fact that they are suppressing civil rights, and when people are unhappy, some don't work.  Sudan’s economy and government are both in danger because of corrupt political officials everywhere, and people aren’t really getting civil rights at all. Alot of the population are affected by the suppression, and workers often go on strike.  This drives the GDP down, and the corrupt officials generally don't care.

Quick Summary:
  • Kenya is a unitary, presidential democracy with a president and a prime minister.
  • Kenya citizens can criticize the government in small amounts.
  • South Africa is a Parlimentary Democracy, with a president.
  • South African citizens have freedom of speech, media and you can criticize the government.
  • Sudan is a dictatorship, with a dictator that says he's a president and they do not have free elections, the last one was most likely rigged.
  • Sudan citizens have very limited personal freedoms.

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