The past 12 months provided further evidence of the danger of democratic backsliding in Africa. But it also saw powerful presidents suffer embarrassing setbacks in a number of countries.
President Joseph Kabila was supposed to step down at the end of his term in 2016. By clinging on to power he threw the Democratic Republic of Congo into a vicious cycle of deadly conflict.
Some African countries present a facade of democracy. The absence of substantive democracy is contributing to instability on the continent.
After the fall of autocratic ruler Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe faces a difficult choice between the stability of a transnational government or a potentially divisive election contest.
Are we witnessing the end of an era in which dictators stayed in power for decades? If so this must be good not only for Angola and Zimbabwe but for southern Africa as a whole.
The protracted political crisis in Zimbabwe has worsened since President Mugabe fired vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Now the military has entered the fray, raising fears a coup is imminent.
The seeds of discord that were planted in independent Togo have resulted in ethnic divisions, and a state that has long been ruled by family. But recent protests could mean things are about to change.
While Kenya's political leaders often adopt a populist approach to politics, it's not unimaginable that the courts could also pursue a populist path by claiming to speak for the people.
Democracy doesn't seem to work within societies governed by politics of ethnicity. Instead, elections continue to offer up the hard choice between electoral credibility and political stability.
Angola's recent election results showed the ruling MPLA losing support across the country. If opposition claims are to be taken seriously, the losses could be more severe than they appear.
Kenya's electoral commission faced many legal challenges before the general election, and yet another after the poll. But how will the Supreme Court's historic ruling impact the country's democracy?
Kenya's Supreme Court landmark ruling has opened the door to robust conversation around the country's nascent democracy, paving the way for rule of law and stronger institutions.
By failing to provide details on what invalidated Kenya's election, the country's Supreme Court has created an impossible timeline for organising re-elections within 60 days.
One way to diffuse the tension when Kenyans choose a head of state is to take that decision out of their hands. This could help achieve ethnic cohesion.
Some might see Kenya's presidential election petition as 'nuisance legislation'. But legal arbitration must be encouraged as an audit to the democratic process.
Angola's president-elect, João Lourenço, has a reputation for relative probity. But, he's unlikely to rock the boat as Eduardo dos Santos remains party chairman.
Much international media focus has been on Kenya's election being a trigger for violence, but that's only part of the story. The ongoing grievances of Kenyans must be addressed.
What South Africa's opposition parties want Parliament and the courts to do would damage the country's democracy.
President Joseph Kabila remains in office despite upheaval in the DRC. He can still save face and a change of heart could see him become the first Congolese president to relinquish power.
Zambia has gone from a country where people engaged freely in open political debate to one where most people now look over their shoulders to see who’s listening.