Inclusive Governance in Africa’s Democratizing Countries

15 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 4 Nov 2014

Date Written: 2009


Recent power sharing agreements in Kenya and Zimbabwe highlight a new set of issues relating to the broader practice of “inclusive governance” in Africa. In particular, power sharing pacts present a problematic solution to flawed elections in an environment of “forced trust.” This paper begins by arguing that inclusive governance varies in three significant ways: (1) origin distinguishes extra-constitutional pacts from coalitions produced by more stable institutions; (2) function contrasts post-war cases from scenarios where the state itself it not at risk; and (3) time horizon refers to dilemmas that require weighing long term costs versus short term advantages. The benefits of inclusive governance for conflict mitigation are well known, and a large literature debates the successes and failures. However by promoting representation at the expense of other democratic goals and values, Africa’s recent experiments with inclusive governance present other understudied risks. They undermine vertical relationships of accountability between citizens and governments, enable budgetary irresponsibility, and create the conditions for bargaining gridlock. The paper’s conclusion suggests that the drawbacks of inclusive governance can be moderated by sunset clauses linked to democratic transition plans, by paying careful attention to human rights issues, and by providing support for institutions that counterbalance executive authority, which is typically buttressed through pacts.

Keywords: Power sharing, Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Consociationalism

Suggested Citation

LeVan, Carl, Inclusive Governance in Africa’s Democratizing Countries (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Carl LeVan (Contact Author)

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics