Democracy in West Africa

Democracy in West Africa

The World Today's Komla Dumor is travelling across West Africa to look at the challenges facing democracy in the region.

He will be asking people their views on democracy, good governance, corruption, tribalism and lack of infrastructure.

Click here to see pictures of his trip on flickr

This is his itinerary:

Ivory Coast: 28th Nov-1st Dec

Nigeria: 1st Dec-4th Dec

Ghana: 4th Dec-8th Dec

Click here to send Komla an email

Ghana:

Presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana have attracted a huge turnout, poll officials say.

Observers said that, despite long queues outside some polling stations, the election had been peaceful.

President John Kufuor is stepping down after serving the maximum two terms.

The race to succeed him is considered to be a tight one.

The main contenders are Nana Akufo-Addo from the governing New Patriotic Party, and the opposition NDC's John Atta Mills.

Komla Dumor met Mr Atta Mills and asked him how confident he was of victory?

Listen Listen to the interview with John Atta Mills (3 mins 11 secs)

Komla also spoke to Nana Akufo-Addo:

Listen Listen to Nana Akufo-Addo (3 mins 32 secs)

Komla also met one of Ghana's best-known musicians, Samini:

Listen Listen to Samini (3 mins 6 secs)

First broadcast 7~8 December 2008

Nigeria:

With 150 million citizens, Nigerians proudly state that one out of every five black people in the world is a Nigerian.

It is Africa's most populous country, and one of the world's biggest oil producers. But it also has its fair share of problems.

Presidential and gubernatorial elections held last April were marred by allegations of fraud and vote rigging.

And this week Nigeria has been counting the cost of ethnic fighting in the city of Jos, which left hundreds dead.

Komla reports from Nigeria's economic capital, Lagos:

Listen Listen to Komla in Lagos (5 mins 8 secs)

On his way to visit Sylvester Akhaine, head of the Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarisation in Lagos, Komla found himself caught up in a demonstration by student workers.

They were outside a factory protesting about working conditions as the government was about to announce its budget plans for the year ahead:

Listen Listen to Komla's second report (5 mins 9 secs)

Nigeria has produced some of the world's great literary giants, including Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka.

But the future of Nigerian literature very much belongs to one woman: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Her fictional story of the Nigerian civil war 'Half of a Yellow Sun' won the Orange Broadband prize for fiction in 2007.

Komla caught up with her in Lagos for an interview and began by asking for her reaction to the troubles in Jos?

Listen Listen to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4 mins 54 secs)

Any discussion about African music is incomplete without emphasizing the contribution of the late Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.

His unique musical style known as Afrobeat transcended the borders of the continent.

But it was his lyrics that made him a star. He excoriated Nigeria and Africa's corrupt leaders with songs like VIP, or Vagabonds in Power.

It won him fans across the globe but the reaction was swift in Nigeria: Fela was jailed by successive governments.

He died in 1997, but still remains a reference point for political music in Africa.

Komla met with his son Femi Kuti and asked him what Fela would have made of Nigeria today:

Listen Listen to Femi Kuti (3 mins 54 secs)

First broadcast 3~4 December 2008

Ivory Coast:

Ivory Coast should have been one of the most economically successful nations in Africa.

But in spite of rich natural resources, the nation has still not yet recovered from a civil war that only ended in 2007.

Elections should have been held on Sunday, but have been postponed to 2009 because of a failure to conclude the national identification process.

In the economic capital Abdijan, Komla Dumor met former Prime Minister Alassane Outtarra, who was barred from participating in earlier elections by his opponents who challenged his Ivorian nationality.

Komla asked him how he felt about the latest delay to democracy:

Listen Listen to the interview (2 mins 18 secs)

Komla also travelled to the northern city of Bouake and met students from the university there:

Listen Listen to the students (3 mins 2 secs)

Ivory Coast still lives in the shadow of its founding father Felix Houphouet-Boigny who ruled the nation from independence until his death in 1993.

When he died he left the nation a showpiece monument in his birthplace of Yamoussoukro: the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace:

Listen Listen to Komla's report from the Basilica (3 mins 9 secs)

At the Basilica, Komla got to know Blanchard Lajoie, who sells fresh coconut milk to visitors:

Listen Listen to Blanchard Lajoie (46 secs)

For more on the Ghana election, click here.