Who is Responsible for Corruption? Framing strategies of social movements in West Africa mobilizing against presidential term amendments


Abstract


Since 2011 youth movements have staged large protests in African countries for presidential term limits. These have been discussed as struggles against de-democratization. Looking at the movements Y'en a marre in Senegal and Balai citoyen in Burkina Faso we argue that these protests were just as much triggered by socio-economic grievances linked to a corrupt patronage system. Indeed, corruption has been a major issue for both campaigns. We ask how the movement leaders linked the fight against corruption with their struggle against third term amendments in a way that sparked mass mobilization. We use the framing approach as our theoretical framework and show that a framing based on the concept of citizenship enabled both movements to link the issue of corruption to the issue of presidential term amendments and at the same time create a sense of agency in the constituency. This explains at least partly why both Y'en a marre and Balai Citoyen succeeded in their mobilizing efforts.

Keywords: Citizenship; corruption; presidential term limit; social movements; West Africa

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