African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 382

Full Length Research Paper

The politics of the coronavirus and its impact on international relations

Bheki Richard Mngomezulu
  • Bheki Richard Mngomezulu
  • Department of Political Science, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 07 June 2020
  •  Accepted: 01 July 2020
  •  Published: 31 July 2020


Pandemic outbreaks are not a new phenomenon globally. There is plethora of evidence to substantiate this view. However, each epidemic has its own defining features, magnitude, and discernible impact. Societies are affected differently. The coronavirus or COVID-19 is not an incongruity. Although it is still active, thus making detailed empirical data inconclusive, it has already impacted societies in many ways - leaving indelible marks. Regarding methodology, this paper is an analytic and exploratory desktop study which draws evidence from different countries to advance certain arguments. It is mainly grounded in political science (specifically international relations) and history academic disciplines. Firstly, the paper begins by looking at how the coronavirus has affected international relations – both positively and negatively. Secondly, using examples from different countries, it argues that the virus has exposed the political leadership by bringing to bear endemic socio-economic inequalities which result in citizens responding differently to government regulations meant to flatten the curve of infection. Thirdly, in the context of Africa, the paper makes a compelling argument that some of the socio-economic situations found within the continent are remnants of colonialism and apartheid. But it also proceeds to aver that these situations have been sustained in Africa due to factors like leadership deficit, nepotism, party politics, inefficiency, corruption and ineptitude. Lastly, the paper recommends that political leaders should refrain from making reckless statements and join hands with their citizens if the war against the virus is to be won.


Key words: Coronavirus, international relations, pandemic, political leaders, socio-economic inequalities.