1887

oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Demokrasie en demokratisering in Afrika : deel 1
Konsepte, teoretiese benadering, historiese oorsig en huidige stand : geesteswetenskappe

 

Abstract

Die verval van Marxisme-Leninisme in die Sowjetunie en sy Oos-Europese satellietstate aan die einde van die tagtigerjare van die 20ste eeu het 'n golf van demokratisering tot gevolg gehad wat politieke ontwikkelings regoor die wêreld diepgrondig beïnvloed het. Terwyl die demokratiseringsproses in die meeste wêrelddele met aansienlike sukses geïnisieer en gekonsolideer is, was dit in Afrika nie die geval nie. Meer as 20 jaar sedert die proses begin het, word slegs die klein eilandstaat Mauritius as 'n volwaardige demokrasie beskou. Die oorblywende 53 state word geklassifiseer as gebrekkige demokrasieë, hibriede stelsels, of volslae outokrasieë. Afgesien van die Midde-Ooste word Afrika steeds as die mees ondemokratiese en swaks-geregeerde streek in die wêreld beskou. Dit is dus nie vreemd dat die demokratiese transformasieproses in Afrika deur sommige navorsers as oorgang sonder verandering beskryf word nie. In hierdie artikel word, aan die hand van 'n literatuurstudie, die belangrikste politieke-kultuur-, politieke-elite-keuse- en makrostrukturele faktore bespreek wat die problematiek verbonde aan die demokratiseringsproses ten grondslag lê. Die politieke-kultuur-faktore wat behandel word, is die bestaan van 'n onderworpe politieke kultuur gekombineer met parogiale politieke oriëntasies en die bestaan van onderontwikkelde en ongeorganiseerde burgerlike samelewings. Die politieke-elite-keuse-faktore is die voortgesette konsentrasie van mag in die hande van die uitvoerende gesag (president); die versuim van politieke partye om as demokratiseringsagente op te tree; die begrensing van mediavryheid deur die politieke elite onder die dekmantel van veiligheid, ontwikkeling of openbare belang; en die aftakeling deur die politieke elite van die skeiding tussen staat en regerende party. Die makrostrukturele faktore wat behandel word, is die lae vlakke van sosioekonomiese ontwikkeling, die voorkoms van konflik en geweld, en die verdelende effek van etnisiteit. Ten einde die bespreking van die onderskeie faktore in perspektief te stel sal die konsepte en aan 'n saaklike ontleding onderwerp word. Dit word gevolg deur 'n uiteensetting van die belangrikste demokratiseringsteorieë en die teoretiese benadering wat hier gevolg word. Daarna volg 'n historiese oorsig van Afrika se politieke ontwikkeling. Laastens word die huidige stand van demokrasie op die vasteland beskryf.


Concepts, theoretical approach, historical overview and current state
The end of the 1980s not only witnessed the demise of Marxist-Leninist authoritarianism in the former Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellite states, but also heralded the arrival of liberal democracy as the triumphant form of government. As this new wave of democracy engulfed the international system, many states threw off the authoritarian yoke and by adopting new democratic constitutions and holding free and fair elections, took up their rightful positions in the international community. This new wave of democracy also swept through Africa. After decades of suffering under dictatorial regimes of almost every imaginable type, most African societies embarked hopefully on the new promising road to democracy and freedom.
The enthusiasm generated by the process of democratisation in Africa is evidenced by the fact that between 1990 and 1994 no fewer than 38 multiparty elections were held throughout the continent. Even the National Party government in South Africa made the momentous decision to abandon its policy of apartheid in favour of a negotiated settlement and the establishment of an inclusive democracy. This radical departure from a policy on which the party had remained steadfast since 1948 and which motivated the African National Congress (ANC) during the sixties to embark on a campaign of armed resistance, is generally regarded as one of the most dramatic and significant developments in the African democratisation process.
However, in sharp contrast with the rest of the world, where the process of democratisation had been initiated and consolidated with a great measure of success, the process on the African continent met with only meagre results. In actual fact, after more than 20 years of democratisation, only the small island state of Mauritius is presently regarded as a fully-fledged democracy in Africa. The remaining 53 states, including South Africa, are classified as flawed democracies or hybrid or authoritarian systems. With the exception of the Middle East, Africa still remains the most undemocratic and poorly governed region in the world. Understandably, the process of democratic transformation in Africa has been described as transition without change (Prempeh 2007).
The purpose of this article is to identify, by means of a literature study, the political culture, the political elite choice and the macrostructural factors that were responsible for the fact that the democratisation process initiated during the early nineties in Africa did not deliver more substantial results. Where applicable the impact of these factors on the process of democratic consolidation in contemporary South Africa, will also be highlighted.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/litnet/9/2/EJC125889
2012-08-01
2016-12-03
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error