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State Constitutions and Governments without Essence in Post-Independence Africa

Governance along a Failure-Success Continuum with Illustrations from Benin, Cameroon and the DRC

Joy Alemazung

This book in a diagnostic approach looks at the problems plaguing Africa, a continent rich in human and natural resources yet the poorest in the world. The main question is: what is the purpose of government in Africa? As illustrated by different empirical examples, the study argues that the creation of states and governments after colonialism was a «false start» and was not impacted by the social contract principle of men forming government to preserve the common good. The result is a leadership culture of government against the people with weak institutions in favour of strong autocratic rulers. The core of this study is a solution seeking approach with alternative political forms.


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As its title indicates, this study looks at the constitutions of African states: how they came into being and what went wrong during the process; the impact of the “false start” on later developments on the continent and what could be done to get things back on the right track. The study argues persuasively that state con- stitutions were not properly drawn in Africa—resulting in governments that have done serious harm. Consequently, successful transformations to good de- mocratic governance, which can serve the common good according to the teach- ing of the extent and ends of government, must begin with a re-constitution ac- cording to Huntington’s theory of successful transitions from authoritarian to democratic systems—that is, the removal of authoritarian regime, the installa- tion of a democratic system, and democratic consolidation. There are many scholarly works demonstrating the failures of governments, underdevelopments, failed international interventions, and persistent political calamities on the so-called “dark continent” of Africa. Their conclusions are that Africa is the least developed region in the world but also that government failures have greatly contributed to the shortcomings on the continent. Joy Alemazung makes a significantly new and highly valuable contribution to this literature in his State Constitutions and Governments without Essence in Post- Independence Africa: Governance along a Failure-Success Continuum with Il- lustrations from Benin, Cameroon and the DRC. He uses a diagnostic approach in his thorough examination and analysis of states and governments in Africa. In a brilliant innovative approach, the book provides some...

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