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Africa and the Democratic Option

A Quest for Effectiveness and Legitimacy in Governance

by Austin O. Ogunsuyi

e-Book PDF
Institution: Clark
Advisor(s): Dr. Hashim Gibrill
Degree: Master of Arts
Year: 1992
Volume: 145 pages
ISBN-10: 158112225X
ISBN-13: 9781581122251


The prospect for democracy in Africa is the central concern of this study. The factors that contribute to the existence of undemocratic or autocratic governments in most of Africa, therefore, become our major focus for evaluation.

An analysis of the pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial political history of Africa attribute autocracy in Africa to irreconcilable differences between the African traditional institutions and the imposed colonial political and economic systems. This socioeconomic and political disharmony, orchestrated by the colonial economics of exploitation, set the tone for neocolonial African states fraught with economic and political instability.

Our research strategy involved a qualitative technique of collecting and analyzing a significant body of data relating to the political history of African states. Through an Afrocentric prism, the flaws of the African political and economic systems are traced to underlying deficiencies in the nature of its states. For a second and perhaps authentic emancipation of Africa, the components of the state structure must be realigned giving priority to the values, customs, and traditions of African people. This should form the base for a democratic environment that will usher in effectiveness and legitimacy in governance in those states.

A democratization front, comprising of Africans in Africa and the Diaspora, is advocated to design and monitor the democratization movement in the continent. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) should serve as the supervisory body to the democratization front. The philosophy of the democratization front would include a pan- African mobilization against the forces of political, economic, and social exploitation of the continent.