The ignorant would be forgiven for thinking China is a country between Burundi and Rwanda. China's economic success has been at the expense of democracy and leadership renewal is the latest sacrificial lamb slaughtered on the altar of economic development. This is dangerous. It is very dangerous because all of a sudden the shameless leaders who have been amending constitutions, removing term limits in Africa have a finger to hide behind: A successful country is doing it too. Xi Jinping has just shot democracy in the gut and for Africa, there is no foreseeable recovery.
Already, global politics is not skewed in favor of African democracy. The Economist aptly diagnosed the problems: "Presidents go ahead (to remove term limits) because they know the costs of doing so are low...Moreover the rising influence of China means that African presidents know the West's leverage is weaker than it once was. They also know that its priorities have shifted: combating jihadism is today more important than promoting democracy." African democracy is simply no longer central in global discussions.
China is worsening the narrative by providing an alternative form of governance that countervails democracy. Freedoms are being curtailed as leaders consolidate power under the guise of following the Chinese model. In fact, China is busy trying to convince everyone that removing term limits is so as to "ensure people live happier lives". It is a dangerous narrative Africa would do better without. China does not seem to realise the extent of its responsibility as a world power: it has become a global influence and one national decision could trigger a global domino collapse. Xi Jinping has failed democracy by playing small-country-politics when his nation is now a global force.