Braising transforms an inexpensive or less tender cut of meat or poultry into a dish that's fall-off-the-bone tender and delicious. A tight lid is important when braising to prevent liquid from evaporating as the mixture simmers.
Place figs in a small bowl. Add boiling water, and let stand 30 minutes.
Combine flour, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken thighs and drumsticks in flour mixture.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook 5 minutes, browning chicken on all sides. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion to pan, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add figs, water, and tomatoes. Return chicken pieces to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add sweet potato, and cook 25 minutes or until chicken is done and potato is tender. Remove from heat, and stir in olives, remaining salt and pepper, and parsley. Serve in shallow bowls.