Nic Cheeseman

Nic Cheeseman is Professor of Democracy at the University of Birmingham and was formerly the Director of the African Studies Centre at Oxford University. He mainly works on democracy, elections and development and has conducted fieldwork in a range of African countries including Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The articles that he has published based on this research have won a number of prizes including the GIGA award for the best article in Comparative Area Studies (2013) and the Frank Cass Award for the best article in Democratization (2015). 

Professor Cheeseman is also the author or editor of ten books, including Democracy in Africa (2015), Institutions and Democracy in Africa (2017), How to Rig an Election (2018), and Coalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective (2018). In addition, he is the founding editor of the Oxford Encyclopaedia of African Politics, a former editor of the journal African Affairs, and an advisor to, and writer for, Kofi Annan's African Progress Panel. A frequent commentator of African and global events, Professor Cheeseman’s analysis has appeared in the Economist, Le Monde, Financial Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, Daily Nation and he writes a regular column for the Mail & Guardian. In total, his articles have been read over a million times. Many of his interviews and insights can be found on the website that he founded and co-edits, www.democracyinafrica.org.

Oxford’s position on Rhodes Must Fall is bad politics — and even worse history

It is misleading to use Nelson Mandela’s name to defend the Cecil John Rhodes statue

End the pandemic of violence against women activists

In countries such as Uganda, Zimbabwe and Egypt female champions are beaten up, sexually abused, jailed and even "disappeared"

The pandemic is being used to erode democratic freedoms. Civil society must fight back

Both authoritarian and democratic governments are responding to the coronavirus crisis by instituting frightening new powers

Why courts can’t save democracy in Africa

Recent judgments in Kenya and Malawi are encouraging. But democratic reform is impossible unless presidents and electoral commissions play their part

How opposition parties in Africa can make friends and influence people

Only by demonstrating that it would perform better in office while building trust within the wider population can the opposition force improvements in the electoral system while also growing the party

Discrediting elections: Why the opposition playbook carries risks

By pushing their usually valid complaints onto the streets and the courts, opposition leaders deny governments the popular goodwill and international credibility they need to govern effectively

How colonial rule predisposed Africa to fragile authoritarianism

The unstable pathway many post-colonial African states followed was facilitated by the way in which European empires undermined democratic elements

Dictators expand their toolbox

An update of How to Rig an Election is a guide to new strategies used by authoritarian leaders to stay in power

Lunga erodes Zambia’s democracy

A proposed amendment to its Constitution may turn Zambia into a de facto one-party state

UK visas discriminate against Africans

No continent has suffered more from Britain’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy

WhatsApp played a big role in the Nigerian election. Not all of it was bad

In the recent Nigerian election WhatsApp was used to mislead voters. But it also strengthened democracy in other areas

How to get women’s voices heard in African politics

Getting women into politics is only half of the challenge. The second half is to make sure that women are not only seen, but also heard

Press Releases

LISTEN: Episode Two of Be Accountable

If you run a business, or you need to hire an accountant, you need to know the importance of belonging to a professional body

Standard Bank Podcasts: How small businesses can survive Covid-19

Many commercial enterprises are having to change the way that they do business in order to survive the economic chaos forced upon them

SME in a Covid World: Stimulating Small Business Growth

Small businesses must re-examine their business models and endeavour to understand their customers, and know what their new needs are

GIZ has three Calls for Expression of Interest

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit seeks service providers for projects that will aid South Africa in its development

Nurturing South Africa’s future professionals

The Foundation’s focus is to improve access to tertiary education and to address the social issues of tertiary students beyond the lecture room

Debt Relief Fund a mere drop in the ocean

Most South African SMMEs have received no assistance from the Debt Relief Fund, 90% are in crisis, and many will be forced to close

Cutting salaries? Five ways to make the process less painful

Debt will only put a future strain on cash flow and could result in tremendous financial stress on the owners of the business if they're not able to recover

Request for applications for: Epidemiologist for Lesotho Covid-19 project

The epidemiologist will provide support to the Ministry of Health to build the capacity of the disease surveillance programme for the Covid-19 pandemic

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