Fighting Tyranny in Africa and Around the World
Email this review


How to deal with despots in Africa and other parts of the world.

The founder of the Free Africa Foundation, Ayittey (Economics/American Univ.; Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future, 2004, etc.) has struggled for nearly 40 years to advance the idea that despotic governments are not caused by external factors—imperialism, for example—but by internal corruption and incompetence. In fact, the author argues that intervention from the United States and other Western powers often aggravates the problem. His latest work elaborates on “Ayittey's Law,” which identifies the sequence of events that accompany what have been successful movements against despotic regimes. Ayittey divides the despotic regimes into “vampire states” and “coconut republics.” The worst of the vampire states include Mexico and Nigeria, while Uganda and Tanzania are among the coconut republics. He also provides a helpful list of “the most odious and despicable” of the despotic regimes, which include Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Than Shwe of Myanmar and Isaiah Afwerki of Eritrea. The author writes that traditional societies can provide a basis for opposing despots and despotisms. In addition to providing recipes for tactics to be employed against differing kinds of despotisms, Ayittey also shows where movements against despots have failed. Freedom of expression and outreach through media access are among the tactics he recommends, and he cites the successful use of radio in Ghana and online activities in Egypt and Tunisia.

A useful step-by-step guide to “help oppressed people…bring democratic change to their countries peacefully—without violence, without firing a shot, and without Western help or intervention.


Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-230-10859-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2011


NonfictionWARS, GUNS, AND VOTES by Paul Collier
by Paul Collier
NonfictionTHE LADY AND THE PEACOCK by Peter Popham
by Peter Popham
NonfictionTHE FEAR by Peter Godwin
by Peter Godwin