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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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Chapter Three: National and international factors influencing African politics

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Chapter Three National and international factors influencing African politics20 The re-introduction of democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa in the late 1980s and early 1990s came like a “system salvation” to many Africans. It appeared like a path to “political deliverance” for most of the peoples on the continent. While some viewed it as an opportunity for deliverance from oppressive rule or rulers, to some it was an opportunity to get to power (the fruitful place), and still for another group it was a (second) liberation struggle for freedom from oppression and marginalisation. Few, if any at all, perceived it as an opportunity to con- struct or reconstruct their countries and establish sustainable free and safe states for their common good. With the liberation, opportunistic and continual strug- gle for power, the take-off of the re-democratisation process in SSA was nothing but complicated and characterised by many conflicts (USIP 02/2001). A Febru- ary 2001 Report of the United State Institute of Peace (USIP) titled “Peace Keeping in Africa”, revealed that conflicts increased greatly on the continent from 1989 to 2000: up to 30 states involved in internal and interstate violence. Most of SSA countries facing the transition to democracy were indeed swept by the same “winds of democratic change”. The cultural foundations, societal structure and high ethnic diversity in most African countries, like Cameroon (over 200 different ethnic groups), have not experienced an easy transition to democratic governance. Autocracy and bad government, instability and ethnic conflicts continue and governance is unsuccessful. This...

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