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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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The last decade in the 20th century will never be forgotten by my student gen- eration in Cameroon and many other African countries that were affected by the second wind of change. Many of us in secondary school at that time as well as those at university live with the stigmas of the struggle for a transition from au- thoritarian tyrannical rule to democratic states. Many events still haunt me to- day; two of which I would like to share in this preface. When the people in many African countries starting calling for their leaders to hear their voice, give them the chance to select their leaders by allowing mul- tiparty and introducing competitive democratic elections, these calls were re- sisted by the incumbent leaders all across Africa. In Cameroon there were countless initiatives and mobilisations by civil societies groups aimed at putting the incumbent under pressure and forcing democracy processes to prevail. Un- fortunately, this often ended up in confrontation between armed forces and the people. Obeying the orders of the commander in chief, these armed forces fell upon the people in what often ended with many casualties. In response some opposition leaders and parties took to the offensive sometimes not only resisting the armed forces and fighting back but also attacking militants or supporters of the ruling party. It was common during the unrest periods in Cameroon in the early 1990s to read in newspapers about individuals, state members who had been roasted or lynched to death by...

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