oa The Constitution - Democratic transitions in Africa

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1595-5753



This article examines democratic transitions in Africa. It focuses on three historic waves, namely, the pre-independence struggle, post-independence era of democratic subversion and the period of democratic restoration beginning from 1988 to the present. It argues that the failure of the post-colonial state to live up to its people s expectations is partly due to the erosion or lack of democracy. It further contends that the roots of this failure are to be found in the internal contradiction of African states and the international environment. On one hand, African leaders conceived the state-building project in anti-democratic terms, reinforcing state s capacity for resource mobilisation and social control. On the other; the external environment imposed development strategies that only integrate African states into the international relations of production which have been counter-productive to the interest of the poor people of Africa. It concludes that nation-building and state building projects in Africa can only be achieved in the contest of a comprehensive democratisation of the state. Democracy as a social project means social progress in terms of better standard of living and full participation in the process of governance by the people.

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